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Guide to that perfect cup of tea

The scientists crafted the perfect cup of tea with the optimal temperature, infusion, imbibation and milk.

It is no secret, that tea tempers the spirit, dispels lassitude, relieves fatigue and refreshes the mind and body, but the big question is how does one prepare a perfect morning cuppa?

Many people ask for nothing more than a warm soothing beverage hence the art of making a good cup of tea has simply remained 'pot'-luck.

However, in the hunt for perfection in a tea cup, researchers at the University of Northumbria's School of Life Sciences spent hours demystifying the tea making process.

After spending 180 hours of testing and downing 285 cups of tea in the laboratory, scientists devised a new mathematical formula which will finally end the 'brewing' debate.

They crafted the perfect cup of tea with the optimal temperature, infusion, imbibation and milk.

The formula created by scientists for the perfect cup of tea is: TB + (H2O at 100C) 2mins BT + C (10ml) + 6mins BT = PC (at OT 60C).

TB = tea bag, BT = brewing time, C = milk, PC = perfect cuppa, OT = optimum temperature.

After spending 180 hours of testing and downing 285 cups of tea in the laboratory, scientists devised a new mathematical formula which will finally end the 'brewing' debate. They crafted the perfect cup with the optimal temperature, infusion, imbibation and addition of milk.

A precise approach to making tea
The scientists devised a step-by-step guide to help people get the most out of the world’s favourite drink.

According to experts, the best method was to pour the freshly boiled water onto the tea bag in the cup and brew for two minutes. The next step was to remove the bag and add 10 ml of milk.

Senior lecturer Ian Brown, a food and nutrition expert in the university’s School of Life Sciences who led the research, said, "When enjoying a cup of tea, our palette requires a balance between bitterness and sweetness.

"Milk quantities and brewing time were key factors studied throughout our investigation into the perfect brew."

"You might not expect to find toffee flavour in black tea, but by adding milk, toffee and vanilla flavours are intensified while the wood and grassy notes are reduced."

"This may explain why 98 per cent of Brits love tea with milk."

Ideal temperature
Explaining the brewing process further, the experts said after adding milk the beverage should be left for six minutes till it attains the ideal drinking temperature of 60C.This helps to efficiently extract flavour from the leaf.

However, after 17 minutes and 30 seconds, the tea will drops below 45C, temperature not warm enough to savour an "all round sensory experience".

Brown added, “The optimum temperature to drink tea at is 60 degrees centigrade. With the addition of milk, our brews were able to reach the optimum temperature after six minutes, two minutes faster than black tea.

“Waiting six minutes for tea to reach 60C avoids the risk of scalding, yet still allows us to enjoy the full flavours and aromas in our cuppa.

Flavonoids in tea counteract cardiovascular disease
Tea is a unique beverage that is by far the most popular drink worldwide. It acts as a restorative, a comforter and brings people together. More and more people are turning to tea due to its health benefits.

Tea leaves are known to contain a potpourri of potentially beneficial compounds called flavonoids. These compounds offer resistance against harmful molecules which accumulate in the body and damage cells.

Studies have established that flavonoid content prevents the oxidation of the so-called bad cholesterol in the blood that leads to the build up of plaque in artery walls. This in turn helps towards maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.