Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13

Ten Rules for Making the Perfect Cup of Tea (an English Guide From 1941)


In the midst of World War II, the English reclaimed their right to drink tea in the best possible way and condensed such a desire for perfection into these recommendations.

Drinking tea is a decidedly English pursuit. Although the drink has its origins in the distant past in the Far East, 17th century English imperialism led to, among other things, the dissemination of this custom, and which for some is an example of civilization and elegance.

As a result of this, the English crown was for a long time the maximum authority on the matter, to the extent that an “Empire Tea Bureau” was created and dedicated to everything concerning the leaf and the drink. From there emerged, in 1941, the guide we share here, a series of recommendations to prepare the perfect cup of tea in adverse times, as it was written in World War II when life had become difficult.

Our era is different, but if in those days one could find the time to make a cuppa of incomparable taste, why can’t we do so now? These are the recommendations:

            1) In general, store tealeaves in an airtight container, preferably away from cheese, soap, spices and other items with strong aromas.

            2) Also keep the tea off of the ground and away from walls.

            3) Always use a good quality tea. You’ll spend a little more money, but you’ll actually get more bang for your pound.

            4) Use fresh water. Stale water makes stale tea, which no one needs, especially in wartime.

            5) Make sure you warm your teapot before adding hot water and tea leaves.

            6) Use the right ratio of tea leaves to water.

            7) Steep the tea in water that’s neither under-boiled nor over-boiled.

            8) Let the tea infuse for the right amount of time. 3-5 minutes should cover most kinds of tea. Other kinds will need more time.

            9) Use tea pots made of china, earthenware, and stainless steel. Avoid ones made of enamel or tin.

            10) Don’t add milk to the tea too soon. Wait for the last possible minute.

Related Articles