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How to drink tea like the English

From builders to baronets, tea is the fuel on which the English run. Tea itself (as the name suggests) is the focal point of the most quintessentially English of rituals, afternoon tea. Served at around 4 pm, it consists of a pot of tea accompanied by light snacks. Think cucumber sandwiches, or scones with clotted cream and jam. Take a look at our tips for enjoying the perfect cup of English tea. 


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  • Use loose leaf tea, and choose a tea that complements your food: Darjeeling to go with sweet cakes, and Assam or Earl Grey for sandwiches and savoury foods.
  • Add your leaves to a teapot with a strainer and add boiling water – perfectionists believe that the optimum brewing temperature is 85C (185F). Let it brew for five to seven minutes.
  • Milk before or after? This thorny question has divided Britons for years. It was once considered ‘bad form’ to put milk in first, though nowadays scientists say adding milk first makes for a creamier-tasting brew.

Find out how to drink wine like the French, coffee like an Italian – or see our splendid London homes here.

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