A Proper British Tea

Being a Brit I thought—out of the goodness of my heart—I ought to share some tips on how to make a proper cup of tea.

Not only does a (proper) cup of tea do you good, but the making of a cup of tea does you good, too. Because it is a beautiful ceremony. Boiling the water. Adding the tea leaves. Warming the pot. Putting on the cozy. Waiting. Pouring. Drinking. Ceremonies are helpful. They help us slow down, linger, savour. Be right where we are.

So, without further ado (and with apologies to all my fellow Brits)…


I am sorry to have to break this to you, but I haven’t encountered many good cups of tea this side of the pond. So… we are going to have a tea party! Although that doesn’t mean we are going to throw tea in the Boston Harbor.

By the way—who thought throwing tea away was a good idea? Oh yes. Americans. Moving on quickly.

I’ve collected everything you’ll need in my Amazon Store.


Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Treat the water kindly: Boil it only once so the oxygen levels stays high (oxygen in water helps the flavor)
  • Warm the pot: Tea likes hot water, and a chilly teapot cools it. So boil water and swill it around the empty pot, then discard. (They did this in the olden days because the old country houses in the UK were freezing. China teapots were so cold that if you added boiling water, they would crack.) But it still is a good idea to warm the pot—even if you live in a hot house.
  • Add tea to the pot. For every cup, add one teaspoon of loose tea and one for the pot (or one teabag per cup plus one for the pot, if you’re using teabags, but leaf tea is best!)
  • Add the water. Ideally just below boiling is best.
  • Cover the teapot with the cozy to keep it warm
  • Wait patiently: Steep for 4-5 mins (time it—if you steep too long, it’ll stew)
  • Put strainer over the cup and pour
  • Milk first or not? Up to you. (If it’s a lighter tea—you might want to just have lemon with it. But if it’s strong, then milk. At least that’s what I think.)

PRO TIP: Keeping boiling water handy—you can add hot water to the pot once you’ve poured your first cup and put the cozy back on and you’ll get a second cup.

INSIDER TIP: What you must never do

TEA SNACKS: An afternoon tea must include exceptional snacks. Here are some suggestions.

And what goes best with a proper cup of tea and your plate of snacks? Nothing is sweeter than a book. Don’t miss my Books Fit for Royalty —because is there a better activity than reading a book while enjoying your tea? I can’t think of one.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. – C.S. Lewis

Are you feeling confident? Throw a tea party with the help of one of my favourite kings, Tiny Cedric. He has a free Coronation Party Pack for you in this month’s newsletter.

Cheers! Happy Coronation Day!

Notice: This site has milk in its tea and affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

4 Responses to “A Proper British Tea”

  1. Shanna Warner

    We are a tea loving, British accent speaking () family over here, and are really excited to know how to make a proper cup of tea. We’re a little confused about what you mean by adding one teaspoon of loose tea per cup and “one for the pot.” Can you help us better understand what you mean, please?

  2. Sarah Birchall

    Gosh – I am a Brit and just enjoying a cup of tea using Yorkshire Tea bags (but at least I use a proper teapot! Am seriously thinking of getting some loose tea though!

  3. Margaret

    I live in Australia and we do all of this but I think you should be clear on how much water you need to warm the pot.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)