/ The Edinburgh Guide
Edinburgh — By Andy Hayes on December 19, 2009 at 7:39 am

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea, by the Edinburgh Expert

Want to know how to make the perfect cup of tea?  Well – I have a good idea after spending some time talking with Erica Moore, owner of eteaket, one of Edinburgh’s best cafes and without a doubt the best place in Edinburgh for a cup of tea.  Erica is the expert of all-things-tea so I was listening quite attentively on her tips for brewing the ultimate cup of tea.

the perfect cup of tea

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

When I arrived at eteaket, Erica didn’t waste any time before offering me a hot cuppa.  I choose the Ceylon, an old favourite, though the menu had several intriguing choices.  A few minutes, two hot teas came and we sat down to chat.  While the grains in the timer trickled down (marking the minutes to the optimal brewing time), I didn’t waste any time by asking Erica the big question:  what are the tricks you need to know in order to make a really good cup of tea?    Here were her top tips:

  • You need to start with the freshest tea as possible.  That’s why you should buy tea from eteaket – they work directly with suppliers so you know you’re getting fresh stuff.
  • It isn’t necessary to boil filtered water, but you do need to make sure that you use fresh water from the kettle.  If you re-boil water leftover from the last cup, the water gets de-oxygenated. (I do this a lot so had to admit my mistake, though Erica was forgiving!)
  • We discussed at length on the use of bone china cups (with the little gold strip on the rim).  While Erica couldn’t say why this makes tea taste better, we both agreed it does.
  • Water temperature is important.  Some teas, like green tea, doesn’t fare so well with boiling water.
  • Brewing time is important (hence our timers).  Be sure you know what the brewing time is for your tea.

I loved Erica’s final comment about the perfect cuppa, saying that tea is a social drink.  It’s more like wine than coffee; with subtle nuances and often accompanied by nibbles and good conversation, it is one of the best hot beverages you can have.

And the proof is in the pudding, as they say:  as I walked home from eteaket, the wonderful taste and flavour of the Ceylon tea I had while there still lingered on my taste buds and the great conversation also weighed on me.  That was, in my book, the perfect cup of tea.

Why eteaket is So Special

eteaket is a pretty special place; with its turquoise and pink colours, there’s a lot of Erica’s personality that shines through.  You feel relaxed here – it’s got that old world charm, with touch of modern and trendiness.  Besides tea, they also have coffee (sourced from Artisan Roast, the best coffee in Edinburgh) and offer plenty of sandwiches and treats to go with.  I highlight suggest the afternoon tea for £9.85 which arrives on one of those cute trays just like a proper afternoon teas should.

But eteaket not just a tea cafe.  They host tea tasting evenings where you learn about the ins and outs of tea, taste several different types of tea (great if you don’t know tea that well), and at the end of the night you’re treated with a cream tea  plus 20% off any purchase that night.  For £28.99, it sounds like great value and I’ll be booking in sometime soon.

I should also mention that eteaket offers loads of great tea gifts, accessories, and of course takeaway tea – and if you aren’t in Edinburgh anytime soon, you can buy it all from the eteaket website!

The Important Stuff

eteaket is at 41 Frederick Street, just north of George Street.  They’re open early, from 8AM until 7PM Monday-Saturday (10am-7pm Sunday).   There’s free Wifi available (the code is written on the blackboard), and if the weather is suitable there is outdoor seating on the pavement out front.   If you go, be sure to tell Erica hello!  And of course, if you need any help choosing a tea, the staff are very familiar with the subject so don’t hesitate to ask.  After all – eteaket has the best cup of tea in Edinburgh.

Photo by svadilfari

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  • Marianne says:

    I like your photo, but …. this is tea made with a TEABAG, not a proper brew. When I was in Sri Lanka and visited a tea estate I was told that teabags contain DUST, what is left over when they tea has been sorted.
    Did you also discuss first milk or first tea? At the same tea estate I was told that milk comes first so that the fine porcelein cup won’ t crack when hot tea is poured in. Makes sense, I would say.

  • Andy Hayes says:

    Hi Marianne

    Erica did mention tea leaves not bags but that more about the freshness, she didn’t mention the dust issue (though not surprised).

    I didn’t include it but we did talk about the milk thing and she acknowledged there are different schools of thought on this. (Though I can’t say I’ve ever seen a porcelain cup crack from hot tea!)

    Thanks for commenting.


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