Manners & Misdemeanors
Hello, Adele, This Is How to Steep a Perfect Cup of Tea
Plus how many cups of tea you should be drinking in one day.
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After Adele received flak for placing a teabag in a cup after the water had been poured in a scene from her music video of Hello, we’ve decided to explore other rules of tea. We already know that the milk should come before tea and how many times a day Queen Elizabeth takes her tea, but for more tips, we consulted internationally renowned tea specialist and master blender David De Candia one morning at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Over tea, of course.

According to De Candia, the greatest mistake people make when preparing their tea is disregarding the proper steeping time, or the amount of time tea leaves are soaked in the water. The general rule is as follows in the chart below. Any longer than that and the tea becomes bitter. “People are used to leaving the average teabag in the cup and just adding more water. But you shouldn’t do that with quality tea,” he says.

De Candia talks about premium whole leaf teas, which he has blended for years. Whole leaf teas are black, green, and oolong that originate from one bush: the camellia sinensis. New shoots from this bush are plucked during harvest time, and each new crop derives its unique taste from the environment and climate of its particular region.

Twenty-five—the estimated number of cups of tea De Candia consumes in a day. A cup, after all, is 97 percent water, he says. “You can drink tea all day and all night. I prefer tea over bottled water because it has flavor.” This is likely the reasoning of avid tea-drinking countries such as Turkey, China, and the United Kingdom. But how much tea should you really be consuming? According to De Candia, an average of five cups a day lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, among other benefits.

Tea blending takes time, and if you’re a novice who’s unsure of what will suit your taste, consult a tea specialist behind the counter. When pairing tea with food, De Candia says, “The goal is never to cancel the flavor out.” If it’s a lemon-flavored pastry you’re trying to complement, for instance, go for a lemon-infused tea. 

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Hannah Lazatin
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