Why you should never use boiling water to make tea

Experts say the perfect brew is made with colder water

The 'perfect cup of tea' being poured at The Royal Society of Medicine. PA Images via Reuters
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Tea should never be made with boiling water otherwise you end up with a brew tasting like “cabbage water”, experts have said.

Pouring water at a temperature of 80°C into the mug is now suggested as the best way to make the perfect cuppa.

Martin Isark, a professional food and drink taster, said people had long been led astray by the “myth” that tea was best served piping hot.

He said boiling water damages tea leaves and impairs the taste.

“In the past everyone boiled water to make sure it was safe,” he said.

“The boiling water myth has gathered momentum over the years where speed and strength based on the colour after milk is added was all that was required to make sure it was drinkable.

“But having the water too hot will kill all the desirable nuances of tea and all you are left with is a strong flavour of dry, astringent tannins.

“Over-boiling your water and dunking tea bags too long leaves tea tasting no better than cabbage water.”

Isark suggested having as much as a fifth of the mug filled with cold water before pouring from the kettle.

British tea manufacturer Twinings concurs.

The tea maker’s online guide states: “Our top tip is that you should never pour boiling water over a tea bag or loose tea.

“The reason for this is because the boiling water will burn the tea, it scalds it and therefore, the tea doesn’t release all of its maximum flavours.

“Tea is a very delicate plant and needs to be cared for in order to receive the full benefits. So once your water has rested for about two to three minutes it’s ready to be poured on to your tea.”

Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips, also British brands, both suggest people be patient and leave the tea bag to soak for up to five minutes before taking a sip.