The technique is used by professional tea tasters around the globe. 

Mike Pomranz
April 10, 2018

The Brits take their tea very seriously. And we’re not just talking about how Meghan Markle had to take lessons on how to properly drink tea before she met Queen Elizabeth II – though reportedly she did. Back in 1980, the British Standards Institution even created a standardized method for brewing tea which was adapted by the International Organization for Standardization as “ISO 1839” to become the global standard for sampling tea. Yes, if you plan to professionally sample and compare teas from anywhere around the world, you must do it the British way – which probably makes plenty of people in the United Kingdom very happy.

However, though a standard for sampling tea does exist, YouTuber Tom Scott, best known as the host of Things You Might Not Know, was surprised that finding out exactly how to reproduce such a cuppa on YouTube – and watching it happen – wasn’t easy. So the Brit decided to do it himself.

Interestingly enough, as Scott points out, this method is only intended to make a standard, reproducible cup of tea, not necessarily a good cup of tea. The idea is that, by having a set way to taste tea, tasters around the globe can compare notes knowing that their drinks were identical. Needless to say, producing a cup of tea has plenty of variables, so setting such a standard makes sense.

What is a bit odd, however, is that producing a standard cup of tea is surprisingly complicated, in part due to the fact that the process requires a professional tea tasting set. Buying one from Amazon in the UK will set you back about $14. Sure, that’s only a small price to pay to start your professional tea tasting career, but is probably more than you’ll want to pay for equipment that, as Scott describes it, brews a cup of tea that “tastes okay… it’s just okay.”