Good quality tea will make the best cuppa. For the ultimate tea-drinking experience choose the most premium loose-leaf tea that you can afford, even if you save it for weekends or special occasions. Find a good independent deli or a tea shop where you can order a pot to ‘try before you buy’ the type that most appeals to you.

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Even if you use a teabag rather than leaves, it is worth brewing it in a teapot for better flavour. For loose tea it’s handy to have a teapot with a fitted mesh insert; this allows room for the tea leaves to swell and lifts out for easy cleaning.

Fill your kettle with fresh tap water as you need. Don’t be tempted to use old kettle water – the oxygen will have been boiled out of it and this will impair the tea’s flavour. Just before the kettle boils pour a little water from it into the teapot and swill it around to warm it. Empty the pot and add your teabags (one for each person) or loose-leaf tea (one teaspoonful for each person plus one extra for the pot). Pour on the kettle water while it is still at boiling point. Pop the lid on the teapot and leave to brew for 2-3 minutes, or longer if you prefer strong tea. Pour into mugs or tea cups; thin bone china is a good choice for loose-leaf tea. Add milk and sugar as required.


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