Conforming to standards is an important part of many jobs, and tea brewing is no exception.
In 1980 the British Standards Group produced a document, Method for Preparation of a Liquor of Tea, setting out, once and for all, the British Standard method for the brewing of tea. I’m sure its raison d’Ãªtre was in hope that it would stop the bitter and vicious in-fighting between the classes on whether or not the milk went in before or after the brew.
Its abstract states:
The method consists in extracting of soluble substances in dried tea leaf, containing in a porcelain or earthenware pot, by means of freshly boiling water, pouring of the liquor into a white porcelain or earthenware bowl, examination of the organoleptic properties of the infused leaf, and of the liquor with or without milk or both.
This standard method is to be used in sensory tests, but its amusing nonetheless… as countless others thought when it won the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.