I've always been told that there is a proper way to make a cup of tea, and it looks like this: loose leaf tea porcelain teapot, a tea strainer and some patience, but 96% of us make a brew using a tea bag.
So what are the golden rules when making a cuppa using a mug and a bag?
An expert in the science of tea making, Dr. Stuart Farrimond has three top tips.
We're starting with the takeaway tea we're all familiar with, brewed in a Styrofoam cup.
Cheri, good to see you.
Nice to see you, Dr. Stu.
First off, I want you to make a cup of tea with a teabag as you would do normally.
Boil some water.
Lah lah lah lah.
That looks good to me.
Leaves a lot to be desired, Cheri.
How could you say that?
What is wrong with this cup of tea?
You're using a Styrofoam cup, which is a particularly bad way of making tea.
Styrofoam absorbs flavor molecules reducing the tastiness of the tea.
So Stu's first tip is: choose what you drink from wisely.
There's a lot of psychology behind when we taste things, so here we have a nice red mug.
I love that color.
That's actually the same color as my mug at home.
The same drink out of a red mug will taste sweeter than one out a white mug.
So our brain is a huge factor in how we taste.
Research shows that we associate certain colors with certain tastes: red suggests ripeness and sweetness.
What else don't you like about my cup of tea?
Type of water that you using.
That is hard water.
Now what happens when you use hard water to make a cup of tea is sometimes you get that scum on the top.
Got the scum.
Lovely! So what's happening is some of the flavor compounds are reacting with the calcium and then they form this gummy layer.
So you're actually losing flavor.
What you're seeing on the top there is actually some of the flavor that's being lost in that scum.
Tip 2: if you have hard water, filter it before boiling.
This removes some of the calcium and magnesium residues, and you'll get a tastier, clearer cup.
Now I've got my cup and my water right, Stu is ready with his most important top teabag tip.
I would like you now to make yourself a cup of tea, but we're gonna leave it longer.
That's a long time.
The amount of time that we steep our tea bags for does make a difference.
Surely the tea will be ruined.
Try and see what you think.
Tea bag in.
Here we go.
I mean I would never have the patience to brew my tea this long.
It is a long time, but it's gonna be too hot to drink anyway, so you've got to leave it.
There's more of the flavor coming out, and also the more caffeine comes out, the stronger the tea will be.
There's also more of the antioxidants coming out.
Tea is a great source of antioxidants, and these are natural substances that our body uses to help fight disease.
So it is important that you leave it to brew.
Three, two, one, quick get it out!
Dr. Stu can show me the difference a five-minute brew makes to levels of caffeine and antioxidants in tea.
A UV spectrometer measures the light the caffeine absorbs revealing its concentration.
So we've analyzed that data and we found the amount of caffeine in the two cups of tea, so in your cuppa, just 30 seconds, there was 35 milligrams of caffeine in that cup, whereas in mine, we're coming up to 50 milligrams of caffeine.
If you're a bit more patient, you get more bang for your buck.
You do indeed.
And it's not only caffeine that increases with that longer brew.
Antioxidant levels more than double.
Leaving it for that extra period of time, you're getting a lot more of the health benefits that are in the tea.
But does any of this actually make any difference to taste?
You tell me if you think it was worth it.
This actually has flavor and tastes delicious, and it makes this taste like hot water.