Recipe: British Cup of Tea

Brits and Indians are famous for their love of tea, it’s something we have in common, but the taste of a cuppa and a chai are worlds apart. I love Indian chai but one of the things I missed so much when I moved to India was a nice British cup of tea. Obviously, you can buy a kettle (because to me, the limescale that builds up in a kettle adds to the flavour) and popular brands of tea bags in India, but it a was a while before I discovered that!

In the meantime, I made another discovery. It’s not as spectacular as the discovery of the Higgs Bosen, but guess what, you can make a British style cup of tea without a kettle, with the loose tea leaves you will find in every Indian home. I know, scarily obvious, sometimes the most obvious things can escape you.

You can make a British style cuppa in an Indian kitchen!

You will need:

  • A large mug or teacup (a small chai glass is just not big enough for the job!)
  • 2 teaspoons of tea leaves
  • Sugar, to taste
  • A tea strainer
  • A splash of milk

How I go about making a British cup of tea in an Indian kitchen:

  1. Heat enough water to fill two thirds of your mug or teacup a until it boils, with lots of bubbles, and then switch off the heat
  2. Add the tea leaves to the water and wait for two minutes, no longer than five, to allow the tea to brew. This is a big difference between Indian and British tea, the tea leaves are usually boiled with the water
  3. Once the tea has brewed to your satisfaction, strain into your mug or teacup
  4. Add a splash of milk to achieve optimal strength, take note of the colour, you are looking for a brown shade of orange.
  5. Add your sugar (usually one or two teaspoons) and stir gently
  6. Enjoy immediately as it should be the perfect temperature now, preferably with biscuits or cucumber sandwiches!

british english cup of tea

Some interesting British tea rules:

  • When stirring your tea, you shouldn’t use a circular motion, but a semi-circle, back and forth. Do this very gently!
  • Always add the milk to the tea after it’s brewed. You just don’t know how strong the tea is, even if you have timed it perfectly. People will think you are strange if you add the milk first.
  • Hold your teacup with your thumb and finger.
  • If you are with guests, never look your guests in the eye whilst drinking your tea. You should look into the cup as you drink!
  • Don’t dunk your biscuit in your tea, some may consider you vulgar (this rule I break, every time!)

My husband isn’t a fan of tea made this way, he prefers a thicker, sweeter, chai style tea. I like both. We drink some small but strong chai together first thing in the morning and when he leaves for work, I get my mug and enjoy the warm hug of a soothing British style cup of tea!


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24 thoughts on “Recipe: British Cup of Tea

  1. Lauren, you are so funny!! Love your post…When I am in India I make my English tea like that, but I love Chai, especially made with ginger or cardamom. I like my chai with a few Parle G biscuits and the biccies with the cashew nuts in. I find that I only dunk my biscuit in English tea, not sure why!! Its funny because I usually last at least 2 weeks in India without English tea but my husband only a few days, you would think it would be the other way around!


    • Thank you so much, Tracy!!
      That is so interesting about your hubby hehe, English tea is so comforting!!

      I dunk my Parle G’s in my chai and they usually end up with the layer of cream on them haha! I hope you are well! Sending love xx


  2. Hail, Brittannia!
    I like making tea better with loose leaves, the paper teabags has a bit of an odd aftertaste. My Dutch mom is a dunker too.
    Personally I think the UK’s greatest culinary achievement is Lyle’s golden syrup, and Nigella Lawson. I’m going to try my hand at making Anzac biscuits as I’ve found both golden syrup & rolled oats at our local ‘departmental’ store. Keep calm & curry on!


  3. Fellow guilty biscuit dunker right here. My inlaws tease me that I’m a villager but I don’t care. If they weren’t meant for dunking it wouldn’t be so tasty! 🙂


  4. Your recent writings reflect that you are effortlessly happy in India now.Earlier they would often look sad and seem as if you were trying to find happiness in purposeful way. Hope you keep up the good spirit.


    • Hey Ranjana,
      When I moved from one side of the world to another it was a shock to my system. I soon realised you do have to choose to find happiness in a purposeful way because it won’t come looking for you. When the culture shock faded and time passed, I felt comfortable, understood my surroundings and then one day I realised that I have never been happier! The struggles that life throws at you make you stronger, and I am thankful for the various struggles I have faced whilst in India. This is the happiest period of my life to date. That’s how it’s been for me anyway! Thank you for picking up on my progress 😀
      Hoping you are well! xx


  5. I like my tea without milk.. And lesser amount of tea leaves which results in lighter red coloured tea.. With hint of giner or cardamom..
    But yes I will surely try a cuppa.
    Hope you are well


  6. You can tell you have entered into a new phase of happiness with such a simply demonstrated love of something transported from the UK and into your Indian kitchen. Let’s see, where else can these moments be found?


  7. I never got used to the taste of Indian Chai, I think it is part due to the fact I really don’t like milk in my tea, and then because I find that boiling the tea leaves along wtth the water makes the tea a bit bitter (plus I am not a fan of sugar). I have been a tea addict since I was a teenager, and I either use tea bags or brew my tea from loose leaves and enjoy it black. In central Europe there is also a huge thing for fruit infusion, we usually have that at night before bedtime. I missed it the first few years in India as it didn’t exist. Fortunately it isn’t the case anymore and I have my cup of herbal tea before bed without a fail.


  8. Haha! Lauren, you are so funny! 😀 I am a biscuit-dunker too! Just can’t do without dunking the biscuit. And I mean, is there any other way that gives you so much satisfaction? Biscuits are meant to be dunked in tea! Love how your tea looks. I tried making this kinda tea once but couldn’t finish it. I need my tea really hot and without the natural flavor of milk.. like chai tea..


  9. ohhhh tea! oddly enough i never enjoyed tea, thought it tasted like medicine. but recently i forced myself to have at least a cup a day! at first it was horrid, but slowly i began to tolerate the taste. then i had my first chai, a breakthrough! chai was the first cup of tea i could drink and enjoy! ah, and of course this bridged the gap to begin enjoying all types of tea. finally! though i’m still fairly new to the world of tea. what exactly is the difference in taste between british tea and indian tea? also, i’ve heard there is a large difference between western chai and indian chai, what difference would that be?


  10. @Lauren

    Are you aware of the Indian way of drinking tea. Pouring the tea in the saucher and drinking it with loud noise. I am not very fond of bland kind of tea either. There is a feeling that only intellectuals drink black tea/coffee, they probably experience something which ordinary people can’t. Is that Chana Bada with tea in the pic above??


  11. It is an art indeed! I get super complained at if I add anything other than cardamon only to the Chai I make for Amit (I like to add in ginger, cloves, cinnamon etc.) In UK I love early Grey served black with lemon – is this considered a british cuppa also? Then there are the variations of the classic cup of tea like builders (tea so strong it is more dark orange brown than the cup in the picture and has to be served in a mug not a cup). Lastly there is the tea my daughter serves – it is mostly invisible and served in plastic cups by a teapot that plays music – it is magic and calorie free and most definitely the best tea on the planet! 🙂


  12. Tea is one of the other things Indians fancy after cricket. It’s on par with Bollywood. Nearly everyone drinks tea. I bet India will go crazy if tea wasn’t available for even a day. Lovely and hilarious post, by the way.


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