The only thing more British than a perfectly brewed cup of tea, is perhaps a perfectly brewed cup from Queen Elizabeth's official tea merchant, Twinings.
The brand's relationship with the royals dates all the way back to 1837, when they were "honored" by Queen Victoria, and appointed as her supplier of tea, explains Stephen Twinings, the brand's director of corporate relations, and the 10th generation of his family in the tea business.
"As a company," he tells T&C, "we've had the honor of supplying every successive British King and Queen from that day to the very current day."
Unfortunately, he's sworn to secrecy with regards to exactly which blends the British monarch prefers. "The first rule of doing business with the Royal households is of course confidentiality," he says, confirming that they do continue to hold multiple royal warrants. (Rumor has it that in the mornings the Queen enjoys Twinings Earl Grey tea with a little milk and no sugar, according to a former royal chef.)
But Twinings is a bit more forthcoming with their recipe for a perfectly brewed cup of black tea. Here's what to do:
First, warm your kettle with hot water and discard that liquid. Then, draw fresh cold water, and heat it to exactly its boiling point. (Note: green tea requires a slightly lower temperature.) Immediately pour the water over your tea bag, and wait—maybe longer than seems necessary—for the cup to steep.
"In tea, color is not flavor," Twinings says. So even if you think your tea looks ready, let it sit for the full four minutes. (Twinings has a handy chart of optimal brew times for different varieties of teas, here.)
Add milk and sugar to taste, and enjoy! As Twinings says, "You must enjoy it the way you like it."
Twinings is available for purchase online, or, once it's safe to travel, the brand offers tastings at their 300-year-old flagship store in London, the oldest tea shop in the city.
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