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  • Loads of people have talked about the International Standard Cup of Tea.

  • And there are hundreds of clickbait articles describing it,

  • or ranting about how it's the wrong way to make tea,

  • and there are lengthy infographics videos talking about it.

  • But, as far as I can tell,

  • no-one has actually made a Standard Cup of Tea for the internet before.

  • And there are a couple of reasons for that:

  • one, you have to either buy a copy of the standard

  • or visit a library that subscribes to the Standards online

  • so you can write down the details,

  • and two, it requires specialist equipment.

  • Most people in Britain make their tea by putting a teabag in a mug

  • and then pouring boiling water on it.

  • If you want to be fancy, then you take a pre-warmed teapot,

  • and you put some loose-leaf tea in it, like this stuff,

  • and then you brew the tea in there,

  • and then you pour the results through a strainer into a cup.

  • It's... it's fancy.

  • But the standard, ISO 3103, doesn't ask for any of that.

  • Instead, it uses a bit of equipment that most people won't even have heard of:

  • which is a Professional Tea Tasting Set.

  • Now, the standard describes it in more technical terms,

  • diagrams, and requirements of construction and weight and size and volume,

  • but fortunately I could just buy a set that matched the standard.

  • And the instructions for it are actually pretty simple:

  • you measure out 2g of tea per 100ml of water, plus or minus 2%.

  • So for this, that means 2.8g, plus or minus .05g,

  • which I worked out in advance because it took it ages to get it that precise.

  • And then you combine that with either local or standardised water depending on what you're testing,

  • by filling this little mug to the bottom of those serrations.

  • Also, you let it steep for six minutes, which seems a bit long, but hey, that's the standard.

  • Once your six minutes are up, you separate the 'liquor', as it's called, from the tea leaves

  • by pouring it through the little serrations here into this cup.

  • Let's see if I can do it...

  • No, I can't.

  • But close enough.

  • They say that if you're adding milk, you should put it in first,

  • but this is green tea, so I'm not getting involved in that debate.

  • You drain it through there, most of the leaves stay in the cup,

  • and once it's drained, you can inspect the tea leaves.

  • And then you drink it not from the traditional cup, but from the bowl.

  • There is a separate standard, ISO 1839, on how you actually sample it, and what you report.

  • And it tastes, er...

  • (slurps)

  • Tastes okay.

  • It's just okay.

  • Because the standard isn't meant to make the perfect cup of tea,

  • or the most British cup of tea.

  • Every time the fact that there's a Standard for Tea does the rounds of the internet,

  • loads of people misunderstand it as being prescriptive,

  • and saying "everyone should make their tea this way",

  • and they really shouldn't.

  • ISO 3103 is meant to make an okay but reproducible cup of tea.

  • It sets out instructions so that, whoever and wherever you are,

  • you can create the same cup of tea as someone else in another time and place.

  • For regular tea at home? Make it however you want.

  • Stick a teabag in a mug, put the milk in first or last.

  • Use fancy china if you want.

  • Make your tea days in advance and then warm it up again in the microwave.

  • Don't... don't do that.

  • But it doesn't matter.

  • There is no perfect cup of tea: there's only the right one for you.

  • This here? This isn't perfect, it definitely isn't perfect,

  • but as far as I can tell,

  • this is the first International Standard Cup of Tea on the internet.

  • (slurps)

  • I don't actually like tea.

Loads of people have talked about the International Standard Cup of Tea.

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A2 UK tea cup standard iso mug fancy

Making an International Standard Cup of Tea

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    Samuel posted on 2018/04/19
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