How do you take your tea? Milk, two sugars? With a slice of lemon? Maybe with a dairy-free alternative like oat or soy? Well, however you brew your humble cup, it looks like we could all stand to take a tip or two from the Queen’s official tea supplier, Stephen Twining.
Speaking to Town & Country, Twining (yes, of household name Twinings – he’s the 10th generation of his family in the tea business) explained that his company has had the honour of supplying the royal household since 1837, when Queen Victoria appointed them her official tea supplier.
While you may think no further than boiling the kettle and adding a splash of milk before sipping your own cup, Twining says that there is actually a specific methodology for achieving the optimum cup of black or breakfast tea – and it’s all to do with the temperature.
‘First, warm your kettle with hot water and discard that liquid,’ T&C reports. ‘Then, draw fresh cold water, and heat it to exactly its boiling point. Immediately pour the water over your tea bag, and wait — maybe longer than seems necessary — for the cup to steep.’
Who knew that we should not only be double boiling, but also refreshing the water every single time? And although it is of course important to prepare to your own preference, Twining is quick to note that ‘in tea, colour is not flavour,’ recommending that you let it sit for a full four minutes even if it looks darker than you’d usually drink.
While Twining was reluctant to disclose exactly which blend our current queen is particularly fond of, two former employees have given us an insight into Her Majesty’s choice in the past.
Royal chef Darren McGrady previously revealed that she’ll have Darjeeling at breakfast time, and butler Grant Harrold has said that HRH also likes either Assam and Earl Grey, always pouring the tea in first if she’s taking milk. So there you have it – now you can try making a Liz-approved cuppa in the comfort of your own kitchen.