Earl Grey – The Love Affair (or how to make the perfect cuppa)

Those who know me well will testify to my love affair with Earl Grey tea. It’s easily my favourite hot drink although good coffee and hot chocolate are close runners-up.

I may well blog something about how my addiction began but for now I thought I’d share the following with you – my guide to making the perfect cup. After all, if George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Adams could all write instructional pieces for the finer points of tea-making, why can’t I?

I’m well aware that many already possess the essential life skill of making a great cup of tea.

But for anyone else? Stop drinking lukewarm tap water and learn how to make a better brew. You are in my hands, my young Jedi. Here we go.

You will need:

  1. Okay – the obvious ones first. A kettle – AND…
  2. … Earl Grey teabags (duh!) – Whatever brand you like. I use Twinnings which are a bit posh for some but considering I don’t smoke or drink I think it’s money well-spent. Plus it always seems to be on offer anyway. You can use free leaves if you wish, I just find it a bit of a faff personally.
  3. A teapot. I recommend a ceramic one rather than a metal one. One of the best I ever had cost me 50p from a cheapo store and it made a lovely brew – so don’t think you need to be spending silly money in some poncy artisan shop or something.
  4. Milk / slice of lemon (as preferred)
  5. Your favourite mug (a cup and saucer or whatever)


  1. Boil the kettle and get your mug ready.
  2. When the kettle’s nearly ready, pour some of the hot water into the teapot, whoosh it about and tip it out.  This will warm the pot. Then put a tea bag into the teapot. One or two depending on the size of the pot. You can just stick the teabag in the mug if you wish but taking the time to do it properly will result in a far superior drink. Trust me on this.
  3. As soon as the kettle clicks, pour the water into the teapot. Don’t wait until it’s stood for a few minutes – stick it on straight away.
  4. Get a teaspoon and press the bag against the side a few times before putting on the lid
  5. Wait at least five minutes to let it brew properly in the teapot. When people whinge that Earl Grey is ‘weak’ it’s usually because they are impatient and want to tip it out as soon as it’s in the pot.
  6. Put milk in your mug or cup first and then pour in the tea. Ideally you want to get the tea so it’s nice and frothy in the cup with bubbles in it after you have finished.
  7. You can drink it black with a slice of lemon if you prefer – I like it both ways but prefer it with milk.
  8. Enjoy!

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