Loads of people have talked about the International Standard Cup of Tea.
And there are hundreds of clickbait articles describing it,
or ranting about how it's the wrong way to make tea,
and there are lengthy infographics videos talking about it.
But, as far as I can tell,
no-one has actually made a Standard Cup of Tea for the internet before.
And there are a couple of reasons for that:
one, you have to either buy a copy of the standard
or visit a library that subscribes to the Standards online
so you can write down the details,
and two, it requires specialist equipment.
Most people in Britain make their tea by putting a teabag in a mug
and then pouring boiling water on it.
If you want to be fancy, then you take a pre-warmed teapot,
and you put some loose-leaf tea in it, like this stuff,
and then you brew the tea in there,
and then you pour the results through a strainer into a cup.
It's... it's fancy.
But the standard, ISO 3103, doesn't ask for any of that.
Instead, it uses a bit of equipment that most people won't even have heard of:
which is a Professional Tea Tasting Set.
Now, the standard describes it in more technical terms,
diagrams, and requirements of construction and weight and size and volume,
but fortunately I could just buy a set that matched the standard.
And the instructions for it are actually pretty simple:
you measure out 2g of tea per 100ml of water, plus or minus 2%.
So for this, that means 2.8g, plus or minus .05g,
which I worked out in advance because it took it ages to get it that precise.
And then you combine that with either local or standardised water depending on what you're testing,
by filling this little mug to the bottom of those serrations.
Also, you let it steep for six minutes, which seems a bit long, but hey, that's the standard.
Once your six minutes are up, you separate the 'liquor', as it's called, from the tea leaves
by pouring it through the little serrations here into this cup.
Let's see if I can do it...
No, I can't.
But close enough.
They say that if you're adding milk, you should put it in first,
but this is green tea, so I'm not getting involved in that debate.
You drain it through there, most of the leaves stay in the cup,
and once it's drained, you can inspect the tea leaves.
And then you drink it not from the traditional cup, but from the bowl.
There is a separate standard, ISO 1839, on how you actually sample it, and what you report.
And it tastes, er...
It's just okay.
Because the standard isn't meant to make the perfect cup of tea,
or the most British cup of tea.
Every time the fact that there's a Standard for Tea does the rounds of the internet,
loads of people misunderstand it as being prescriptive,
and saying "everyone should make their tea this way",
and they really shouldn't.
ISO 3103 is meant to make an okay but reproducible cup of tea.
It sets out instructions so that, whoever and wherever you are,
you can create the same cup of tea as someone else in another time and place.
For regular tea at home? Make it however you want.
Stick a teabag in a mug, put the milk in first or last.
Use fancy china if you want.
Make your tea days in advance and then warm it up again in the microwave.
Don't... don't do that.
But it doesn't matter.
There is no perfect cup of tea: there's only the right one for you.
This here? This isn't perfect, it definitely isn't perfect,
but as far as I can tell,
this is the first International Standard Cup of Tea on the internet.
I don't actually like tea.