On the Science of Perfect Tea

I currently contribute a monthly column to this site on tea books and one on tea gadgets and offbeat news. I don’t intend to start writing about perfect tea on a regular basis, but given how many people are offering advice on achieving this lofty goal it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of material on the topic. In the time I’ve been writing about tea and perfect tea I’ve run across some interesting takes on the latter that claim to take a scientific approach to things.

Assam Loose Tea (ETS image)
Assam Loose Tea (ETS image)

A while back I wrote about Northumbria University researchers who claimed to “have revealed the formula for making the perfect cup of tea for British taste buds.” Read my article here or read the more extensive results of the study here.

More recently, in yet another article on perfect tea, I mentioned in passing that none other than the Royal Society of Chemistry had weighed in on the matter of how to apply science to gain such a result. Since I didn’t really delve into their advice at the time I’ll touch on a few of the high points. They’re delivered here, in full, in plain non-scientific English.

Much of which is pretty straightforward stuff that you’ve probably heard before. Some points that don’t come up as often are to not use previously boiled water; to use soft water; and to not use a metal teapot, which might taint the flavor of the tea. One interesting but perhaps less scientific recommendation is to use loose-leaf Assam tea (which I certainly won’t argue with). The authors also advise that you should take the pot to the kettle and weigh in rather definitively on that “milk first or not” issue, stating that milk should be added to the cup before the tea.

For a different take on the science of perfect tea, take a look at this page from the sponsors of the CREST Awards, which are designed to spur young people’s interest in the sciences. They provide materials to help aspiring scientists engage is such tea-related experiments as designing and make a quick-brew tea bag, investigating tannin, caffeine, fluoride and flavonoid content in tea, and making the perfect cup of tea.

Last up, here’s The Scientifically Perfect Cup of Tea, a YouTube video presented by a pair of decidedly upbeat hosts.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

One thought on “On the Science of Perfect Tea

  1. Pingback: A Primer on Water Types and Tea | Tea Blog

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