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From breakfast blends to Earl Grey in the afternoon, tea-taking is a pastime that is steeped in tradition.

There is a tea to suit every taste or occasion and, here at Claridge’s, we are proud to continue the quintessentially English ritual of Afternoon Tea. While debate endures about what makes the perfect cup of tea, there are a few simple steps that we always follow.

  1. In-keeping with tradition, stow your tea leaves in a decorative caddy or use an airtight container and place it somewhere dry, dark and sheltered from very high or low temperatures. That way you’ll protect the delicate flavour profile of your particular blend.
  2. Always begin your infusion by heating fresh, cold water. Freshly poured water brings the tea to life, bringing out its individual character. In contrast, cooled and re-boiled water tends to produce flat tea.
  3. Before adding the leaves, warm your teapot with a little hot water. Not only will this encourage a more intense flavour, but it protects the fine bone china of your tea service. Allow it to stand for a few moments, then pour away the water and immediately prepare your tea.
  4. Working to the classic principles of “one spoon per person and one for the pot”, we recommend adding a generous 1.5 teaspoons (2.5 grams) of tea leaves to every 200ml of hot water.
  5. Bear in mind that different teas are best brewed at different temperatures. Aim for 70°C for white and green tea leaves, and 85°C when brewing black and oolong leaves. Only herbal infusions call for a just-boiled water temperature of 100°C – with the exception of chamomile, which is best suited to 90°C.
  6. After adding your hot water, allow the leaves time to infuse. Our Claridge’s Blend, Hand-rolled Ceylon, Second Flush Muscatel Darjeeling and White Silver Tip all require just 30 seconds – but others may need to rest in the teapot for longer.
  7. The perfect cup of tea is best accompanied by sandwiches, scones and delicate cakes or, at the very least, a biscuit. At Claridge’s our preference is for shortbread; every month we serve over 7000 shortbread biscuits in a range of flavours from classic vanilla to caraway and lemon, almond or even chequerboard.
  8. Pianist accompaniment is always preferred.
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