back to article The ULTIMATE cuppa showdown: And the winner is...

Cue the traditional fanfare of trumpets and thunderous drumroll as we reveal today the winner of our ultimate cuppa showdown. Mug with our Vulture logo This cha-tastic adventure – the aim of which was "not to examine the hundreds of possible tea type/brewing permutations, but rather establish a set of basic rules which can …

COMMENTS

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  1. Code Monkey

    As long as you avoid the cheaper supermarket varieties I reckon how you make a cuppa has more bearing than the choice of tea. Though FWIW my vote's for Yorkshire Tea.

    1. Psyx

      I can only assume that the testers don't really like tea!

      That or the 4 minute brew time is making the decent stuff taste of too much tanin and is making the undrinkable dishwater into something nearly drinkable.

      1. John Bailey

        Well.. Loose leaf tea in a pot.. 4 minutes is reasonable.

        A tea bag in a mug.. Hell no. 4 minutes is way way too long.

        As long as it takes to get the sugar stirred in, and fetch the milk from the fridge. A minute tops. Any longer becomes wood stain.

      2. Andy 73

        Agreed. Teabags only need a quick swill round or the tannins overwhelm the taste.

        At the risk of loosing any tea tasting credentials, I've fond memories of tea served by a rather lovely flatmate who would add a generous slug of brandy to a mix of earl grey and assam. Most evenings would end up with us around the kitchen table setting the world to rights.

        1. HollyHopDrive

          Cripes, no wonder Yorkshire tea faired so badly. 4 minutes in a mug is far too long for that bad boy. It can make the water in the kettle go brown just by being placing the box within 6 inches of it.

          Yorkshire tea needs a quick stir plus 20 seconds and a good squeeze. Any longer and it will destroy the spoon. Splash of milk and it's the king of all teas.

          Typhoo/pg on the other hand will need the whole 4 mins.

          Now, where did I put my flat cap....

          1. Psyx

            I tend to leave Yorkshire for a minute or two, because you get that lovely clay-red colour.

            But 4 minutes is insanity. It only gets left that long if I go for a slash while it's brewing and decide to have a dump instead!

      3. Andrew Norton

        I use Tetley English blend (I'm in the US) but before I moved here I was a strong supporter of pyramid bags (and still get them on occasion when I get homesick and go to the British import store)

        Anyway, what's it say about me that I use a thermal mug, and have it brew for 6-8 hours? Of course the mug is a little larger than a normal mug (its 64fl oz (1.9l) but that and a splash of 2% (semi-skim) and its a wonderful thing.

  2. tommitytom

    This surprises me, I always keep a few different brands of tea in my cupboard and found Typhoo to be the worst (though still not unpleasant). I generally favour the Yorkshire, or Lidl's own "Knightsbridge Gold" - cheap and surprisingly good!

  3. Oliver Humpage

    After realising just how expensive Twinings had become, I recently tried a variety of other teas and settled on Clipper as being an excellent replacement. So good to see it scoring nearly top marks.

    I'm confused as to how Typhoo took the top spot though - never got on with it myself.

    1. Pete 2

      > I'm confused as to how Typhoo took the top spot though

      Familiarity. Most people train themselves to "know" what a decent cup of tea should taste like. That comes from comparing any new tea with what they're familiar with. Hence the most popular teas will (almost inevitably) get the highest votes.

      The surprise being the Clipper Organic. It would be interesting to know if that is basically the same as the other top choices (just with the word "organic" added) or if it was actually different from the most popular tastes.

      1. returnmyjedi

        I always presumed that all tea was organic, based on the presence of carbon in its various molecular structures. Are non organic teas silicon based?

    2. BigAndos

      Yeah never been a Typhoo fan myself. I do like Clipper, and they get bonus points for being fair trade (I live in north London shockingly enough).

  4. Ragarath

    Typhoo! WTF?

    How the hell did that win? Are their taste buds broken?

    Sorry but I am stuck with that at work everyday and it is awful stuff perhaps the local fountain water makes all the difference?

    I have only had a couple of occasions to have Twinings English Breakfast but that would get my vote. Best I have tasted thus far (but too expensive for me to drink all the time). Though I have not tried several on your list.

    1. Hairy Spod

      Re: Typhoo! WTF?

      like the adverts from the 80s said, you only get an oo with Typhoo

      lovely stuff

      1. Cardinal

        Re: Typhoo! WTF?

        Bet Typhoo's lost a bit of market share in the Philipines recently!

  5. The Man Himself Silver badge
    FAIL

    fish & chips

    I spy salad. That's just wrong. If you want something green with your fish & chips, get some peas (preferably mushy ones) but lose the leaf-based greenery.

  6. Z-Eden
    Flame

    You're joking? Typhoo! That stuff is tea for the devil. I'd rate it alongside Tetley's (which is akin to compost).

    Glad to see Clipper getting top marks

    1. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      Clipper was my tea of choice till I overcame my "cultural" aversion to Yorkshire Tea about 18 months ago.

  7. Patrick O'Reilly

    Barrys

    Ireland's favourite tea, Barry's, wipes the floor with all of these.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Barrys

      It was recommended by several readers, but we couldn't get it in Brit supermarkets, so that classifies it as "not readily available".

      It's a good brew, to be sure.

    2. Alister Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Barrys

      If it's suitable for wiping floors, I'm not sure I want to drink it...

      :-)

    3. Caff

      Re: Barrys

      Robert Roberts beats Barrys!

    4. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Barrys

      I hate Barrys. Hardly tastes of tea.

      I like Punjana, Tetley, Typhoo, Yorkshire.

      But I drink it Black. All those Chinese can't be wrong?

      1. Irony Deficient

        all those Chinese

        Mage, perhaps the prevalence of lactose intolerance among the Chinese has something to do with it?

        (I’m not a tea drinker, but my coffee is caffeinated, black, and unsweetened.)

        1. Uffish
          Go

          Re: all those Chinese

          The French also like to claim that they are lactose intolerant but they also water their orange juice so that it is not so acid and sweet. I consider that they are just intolerant, and their idea of tea is an insult to humanity. Their coffee is strong, caffeinated, black and very good however, even if Italian is better.

          By the way, all the Chinese I have met consider that English tea is blended for drinking with milk and happily drink it like that or, if they still don't like the taste, drink Chinese tea - which is not blended for drinking with milk.

  8. MattEvansC3

    For the Welshies here Cwrw Braf is a good cuppa, nice strong tea but with next to no tanin taste. Cant really stomach PG Tips or the like, leaves that nasty bitter taste on the tongue and back of the throat.

    Also always put a bit of cold water into the cup first and pour the boiled water onto the cold water and not the tea bag, it stops the leaves from burning and gives a smoother taste.

  9. Slef

    Tea

    If 1/3 of the points come from somebody who prefers earl grey then is this going to be a fair tasting as that tea is definitely on the wishy washy scale lol (no disrespect to our artist intended) that would include ty poo, and the more meaty teas such as yorkshire would be at a disadvantage.

    Given that this is the most important event on the net at present some fairness should ensue lol

  10. FartingHippo
    Boffin

    Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

    I love the stuff; others hate it. Truly the Marmite of teas.

    Commentards are invited to express their feelings for the perfumed brew using the voting buttons. I genuinely have no idea what the result will be...

    1. VinceH

      Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

      I actually read that as "...using the vomiting buttons."

      Which probably says something about my opinion.

    2. stucs201

      Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

      Acceptable only if you're a starship captain.

    3. Beamerboy
      Coat

      Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

      ready to be downvoted and flamed - but I'd go even further as I prefer Lady Grey, that's what I drink at home in the mornings with Lapsang in the afternoon - unless I'm having coffee but that's another discussion completely!

      Mine's the one with the girly teabags in the pocket!

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

        Lady Grey is good as a special occasion tea, but my regular brew (guess what, I have the kettle on...) is Tetley. I'll use Typhoo as a temporary substitute, but never got the liking of the taste of PG (it's too "red" for me). My favourite special occasion tea, however, is one called "Sweet Sakura Tea" (black). But, alas, I can't track down a supplier that doesn't expect an arm and a leg for shipping...

        I'm with those who think 4 mins for brewing is insanely long. About a minute does it with a teabag if you want to enjoy the tea at its best and not be clobbered by the resultant tannins, which IIRC are released exponentially so the longer the brewing time, the far worse the result will be.

    4. JimmyPage
      Thumb Up

      Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

      Ah, Earl Grey with a spoonful of set honey ... I'm in heaven

    5. chivo243 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

      Good enough for J-L Picard, good enough for me.... but I must say, a change of pace every now and again is always welcome.

      And what is this 275ml crap, bring on a real sized mug.

      Hobo as he drinks big ones!

      1. Code Monkey

        Re: Earl Grey - VOTE NOW

        A qualified +1 there - for mug size only.

  11. John 110

    Surely (...don't call me...)

    4 minutes in a mug is truly excessive (and the tea would be cold by then). Brew tea in a teapot (properly seasoned, of course) for 4 minutes, (retains it's heat and still burns yer tongue when you drink) and adjust the number of bags/1.7 litre to fine tune the strength. That gives enough water to dilute out the taste of the bag... (paper, yeeuch...tiggers don't like paper) and enough tea to store some for later.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Surely (...don't call me...)

      "4 minutes in a mug is truly excessive (and the tea would be cold by then). Brew tea in a teapot (properly seasoned, of course) for 4 minutes..."

      The point of the exercise was to evaluate the 'work brew', which is why the idea of using a pot was previously discussed and discarded during lengthy debate (Rightly too: Although a few have such things at work, most of us don't!). I don't remember signing off on a 4 minute brew time, though!

  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    Twinings Assam is no better than Tescos or Morrisons Assam - but double the price.

    Have tried the Clipper organic recently after being given a box as part of a "new house" hamper from my mortgage company, and have been mildly surprised at how nice it is.

    Just to re-iterate my previous warning - stay away from the Morrisons "value" box unless you are a masochist - 27p for 80 bags in a box = eughhh!!!!!

  13. Spindreams

    Pg-tips for me

    As an Ex-pat from London living in Sardinia there is very little good tea available locally, Tea here consists of expensive weak twinings or equally weak but cheaper Lipton stuff. So instead I get a bi-annual delivery from one of the many expat delivery websites for a pack of 1000+ pg-tips tea bags in a um bag,as well as all my oriental herbs and spices that I miss. British Corner Shop being my current fav (google it / no affiliation BTW). Now all we need here is a good local Curry and Chinese takeaway and all would be well again in the world. :)

  14. Pete 2

    Taking the tea,

    12 mugs is an awful lot of tea. Assuming they weren't filled to the 275ml capacity, that's still about 3 litres of tea per person. You' d hope that in the interests scientific rigour, the testers were't all given the same teas in the same order. You'd also hope that for their own well being, they weren't forced to drink all the tea, in every sample.

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Taking the tea,

      12 mugs of tea sounds reasonable to me. If I spent, say a Saturday at home I'll easily get through 7 or 8 pints mugs of tea before "caffeine lasites" (sometimes aka pub o'clock).

  15. 404

    Kittehs

    Cute ones there and not named...

    ;)

  16. PJI
    Childcatcher

    AaRGHH - how standards have been perverted

    I can scarcely credit what my eyes saw. I know that the education system if failing and rampant Americanisation is taking over all aspects of life; but:

    SKIMMED milk? What a perverted abomination in any context: all or nothing please - full fat or none.

    TEA BAGS? TEA BAGS! I feel like Lady Bracknell and handbags. In an emergency, perhaps: loose tea and not too finely cut either. Failing time to make a pot, use a tea sieve (or is it tea egg? I live abroad now and the local name translates to "tea egg"). You will never, ever get the taste of even a cheap tea to a proper level in a bag and then there is the taste of cheap paper and …. No, must stop before I suffer apoplexy. No doubt these are the same people who think Starbucks makes coffee (oops, excuse the expletives, S* and c*).

    MUG? Hmm. Now break down into thick and chunky or fine porcelain …. On some occasions, e.g. a proper afternoon tea, such as one or two Manchester hotels will still provide, it must be good porcelain cups and saucers giving a proper sense of occasion and ceremony.

    1. Psyx

      Re: AaRGHH - how standards have been perverted

      "I can scarcely credit what my eyes saw."

      The entire point of the survey was to find a decent work brew, made under work-brew conditions. Not to take high tea. Now you might drink from fine china and consume the finest loose leaf in the confines of your office, but the vast majority of us make it in bags and drink it by the half-pint.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: AaRGHH - how standards have been perverted

        Exactly. We set right from the start we weren't interested in exotic blends and brewing methods. Readers had plenty of time to express their opinions.

  17. lawndart

    says

    Too busy to make tea? Too BUSY to make tea?

    During WWII US tanks sent to Britain had to go into the workshop to get a hot water boiler fitted so that tea could be made; Brit tanks had them as standard fit.

    Crews would stop at any opportunity to brew a cuppa, even during battle. Probably affected the rate of fire somewhat though.

    None of this "too busy" malarkey. Kids today etc.

    "Ere, Jimmy, pass the milk."

    "Hang on, got a Jerry in my sights."

    "That's sergeant to you, and pass the bloody milk NOW!"

    1. Psyx

      Re: says

      "Brit tanks had them as standard fit."

      HAD? Still have, you mean.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_vessel

      (Although it appears that the idea they were present in WW2 in any numbers appears to be a complete myth)

  18. Zmodem

    tea tastes bad without making it from some dead mans piss

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      @Zmodem

      Are you saying the piss isn't optional?

      1. Swarthy

        Re: @Zmodem

        That would explain his posting history, he's constantly taking the piss - to use for his tea.

        1. Zmodem

          Re: @Zmodem

          the only time i would trust a fountain that looks like a tombstone, is if i was homeless or a dog

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For really good tea, you have to get it from a country like Kenya or Sri Lanka where they produce it. Otherwise by the time it gets to Britain it's been "blended" (cut down with cheap rubbish) several times.

    The best recipe is one teaspoon of Ketepa Safari Blend in a metal teapot, boiling on a low heat for 5 minutes.

    1. Zmodem

      for tea to even begin to taste drinkable, there can`t be 1 speck of limescale in anything you boil the water, and it needs 3 sugars

    2. Psyx

      Likewise the milk. If you'r not pouring it in steaming from the cow's teat, you're drinking nasty peasant-brew. The china needs to have been turned sometime within the prior 72 hours: Older cups are utterly inferior. Only if you do all of these things and sup your chosen brew after washing your mouth out with fresh ice from Antarctica - while sat outside next to at least 50 acres of park - will your tea be served properly. Otherwise you're a stinking peasant who I will look down upon with my superior tea-drinking ways.

      Oh: Platinum teaspoon, too. Anything else makes the stuff vile and fit only for the tiny, pathetic minority of serfs who use teabags.

  20. jai

    WAIT!!!!

    before i read this, need to go get meself a cuppa....

  21. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Supermarket sourced ....

    ..... just so they don't have to include the perfection that is Ringtons tea.

  22. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Canuck

    Start my day with my Timmie's doubledouble. Sorry - need the 18%cream jolt of fatty goodness.

    For Tea however,

    Red Rose. Tetley always tastes like the broom that was used to sweep it off the blending room floor.

    Boiling water -- at least 45 seconds on full boil off the burner, electric kettles don't run on *boil* long enough to really get the water hot enough. POT dammit. One teabag in a cup? you're making 3 cups worth of tea in one shot.

    2% (or partly skimmed) milk is acceptable if one is on a really low calorie diet, otherwise, whole milk. Come on -- ENJOY the tea please.

    Sugar - I'm not one for weird stuff normally plain white works for me, but an occasional treat is unbleached granulated sugar. Honey goes in things like chamomile.

    I know you folks over the pond can't get Red Rose. Its sad really. I cant drink tea in the states. They just plain don't get it.

    Mind you - a nice jasmine green with my sushi is good at lunch.

    Oh -- speaking of which - off to lunch I go

  23. Dom 3

    Milk

    Lester, please tell us you managed to find some fresh milk for this, not the UHT crud that accounts for 99% of the Spanish market. If not, the whole thing stops being merely absurd and becomes farcical.

    Absurd, yes; a Yorkshire Tea bag in a pot is good for two decent sized mugs of tea, four minutes brew-in-mug... urgh.

  24. thenim

    typoo..

    Any tea which requires milk to drink it is not really tea! It's also crazy to assume that all teas have the same brewing time! Frankly, I am rather disappointed...

  25. Anonymous Cowardess
    Unhappy

    Any ideas ...

    ... why Twinings tea is getting so hard to come by here (i. e. Germany, on the border to Belgium and The Netherlands)? All the shops are switching to Lipton, which seems to only have 1 sort of black tea, a few greens and the many, many other kinds that are not proper tea :( Esp. Belgium used to be a good source for cheap Twinings tea.

    OTOH maybe it's because my fellow Germans nowadays think, that you are a tea drinker if you "enjoy" in the morning 2 cups of Turkish Apple or Strawberry Vanilla or some such crap, usually based on rooibos. Instead of going for the usual coffee like they used to and now suddenly feel guilty about. I often decline now, when someone offers me tea, because my definition is so totally different from theirs.

    Sorry for the rant. If only shipping costs from the UK weren't so expensive ...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tsk... no reference to the British Standards?!?

    Tut, tut, tut... somebody hasn't been doing their research. There are methods and procedures which should be being followed for the comparative testing of teas that have been enshrined within the library of documents produced by the British Standards Institution for well over 30 years!

    The documents in question;

    BS 5987:1980 - Methods for sampling tea

    BS 6008:1980 - Preparation of a liquor of tea for use in sensory tests

    I believe a retest is in order... and while you're at it, maybe compare with some teas / blends from an actual tea shop instead of these common supermarket products? I'd recommend checking out the selections available from Whittards of Chelsea!

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Seriouisly dischuffed

    A biassed reviewer right from the start.

    Far too long brewing time for tea bags.

    Too many tastings too quickly.

    Only one biscuit break.

    What were you thinking of El Reg?

  28. Nuffnuff

    Baggins

    It may seem somewhat unorthodox, but I would venture to suggest that leaving the bag in allows for a greater freedom of expression for the leaf, resulting in a superior, albeit brief experience.

    At some part of the process, the temperature and infusion strength will overlap to provide a sip of tea which is as good as it can possibly be. The drink prior and subsequent to that acts as a (fairly large) bookend to illuminate that glorious moment, in its full range of boiling insipidity to brackish swill at room temperature.

  29. Paul 135

    None of these compare to Ulster brands such as Punjana (Thompson's) or Nambarrie. The former is available in Tescos across the UK.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      We went to four supermarkets, including Tescos, and couldn't find Nambarrie.

  30. davemcwish

    As for the food

    I need to find a better chippie, the Spanish example puts most of my local establishments to shame.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typhoo! Typhoo! You may as well wear a big sign saying "I have no taste!" (Tho I suspect your iPhone is adequately doing this for you)

    Will I be able to trust ANYTHING El Reg spouts? Yet again people you are wrong wrong wrong.

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