WHAT can be better than a cup of tea?

It's kept many of us going over the last year, but what is the perfect cuppa?

According to new research pouring milk in first on top of the teabag is the secret to a perfect brew - especially if you have hard water.

Professor Alan Mackie, the head of Leeds University’s School Of Food Science & Nutrition, found that the minerals in hard water can stop flavour compounds from forming properly.

"Making tea the traditional way - steeping a bag in hot water before removing it and adding milk - results in the tannins turning into solids before they can develop the flavour properly.

"But, if the milk is added at the start of the steeping process then its proteins can bind to the tannins and other minerals in the water - preventing them from turning solid - which in turn gives you a far superior flavour."

Kieran Taylor-Bradshaw, Managing Director of hot tap manufacturer INTU Boiling Water Taps, which was involved in the research added:  “A decent cuppa brings joy and brightens the day, but for too many it remains a distant dream, with hard water to blame.

“But by enlisting the services of the nation’s foremost food scientist, at INTU we’re delighted to be able to bring an end to the misery that blights millions of lives.

“With more than three decades at the forefront of his field, Professor Mackie has an unrivalled understanding of the complex interplay of compounds that goes into producing flavour."

But how do those behind Yorkshire Tea make a cuppa?

Treat your water kindly

Run the tap a little so the water’s nicely aerated, and only boil it once to keep the oxygen level up. Oxygen in water helps flavour!

Add tea and water

Pop a tea bag into your mug, pour over the hot water and stir briefly.

Wait patiently

Tea needs time to unlock all its flavour, so give it 4-5 minutes to do its thing. This is a perfect time to munch a sneaky biscuit or daydream about holidays.

Give it a squeeze

Before removing the tea bag, gently squidge it against the side of the mug. Just the once, mind – if you really mash it, it'll taste bitter.

Customise your brew

We like a splash of semi-skimmed or whole milk, but your brew is unique to you – so add milk, sugar, honey, lemon or nothing at all. Most importantly, enjoy!

Miffy or Tiffy

So when should you add the milk? It’s an issue that divides tea drinkers into two camps: those who pour the milk into their mug first (Miffys) and those who pour their tea in before the milk (Tiffys). Like the Montagues and the Capulets, these warring factions may never see eye to eye – but the truth is that this great debate can be solved in less time than it takes to dunk a digestive.

It’s all a question of heat. Tea brews best in very hot water, but adding milk cools things down. So if you’re brewing tea directly in a mug, it’s better to add the milk last, after it’s brewed. And if you’re brewing in a teapot, the order doesn’t matter at all – it’s just a question of personal preference!

For more information go to https://yorkshiretea.co.uk/our-teas/how-to-make-a-proper-brew