What makes the perfect cup of tea?

We gathered four expert tea taste testers and asked them to rate 32 supermarket black tea bags to reveal which tea bag earned the top spot in our recent test. Because tea making is so subjective, we also asked average Aussies how they take their tea, whether the milk goes in first or last and their favourite brands.

What makes the perfect cup of tea for you?

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Interesting to see Twinings products in the reviews are all priced at 14c per tea bag rrp, and may rate no better than products at less than half that price. The high rrp may explain why Twinings is regularly 50% off at Woolies etc.

To note the ‘How we Test’ tab when one is looking at the latest black tea bag reviews links to how reusable coffee cups are tested.


We are principally loose leaf tea drinkers. We use teabags from time to time such as when making tea in the thermos or if only one quick cuppa is to be made.

With milk, we do both. Loose leaf milk alway the milk goes in first. Teabags the other way around. We find steeping tea in milky water doesn’t work as well - possibly due to lower temperature because of the milk rather than the milk per say.

Don’t sugar our tea.

We generally buy strong flavoured loose leaf teas such as Indian Tata or Pakistani Tapel.

Teabags we generally use are Dilmah extra strong. We also try others as well for something different.

  • Tea bag, Nerada black, ever since my favourite twining afternoon tea had a minty taste.
  • Remove tea bag, add sugar, add full cream milk.
  • Served in a white mug, for me a cup is too small for one tea bag.
  • I never order tea at a cafe because they serve a tepid, tasteless tea, at the same price of a good cup of coffee.
  • I let the kettle boil, by the time the tray is organised the boiling point will have got down enough to satisfy the ‘no boiling water’ brigade.

Many of us drink labels, and not just wine.

I agree about not buying tea when out and about; coffee is safer. An exception is my local spot where they bring my English breakfast tea in a pot with a knitted tea cosy and a strainer. With milk and honey to add, it’s as good as at home.


How lovely @maggie1, something like that would really feel like a relaxing enjoyable time, especially with good company and some tea cakes :wink:

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I haven’t had a tea cake in donkeys years. I now have the desire to taste one again.


So true. If I have the option a straight brew of Darjeeling. No tea bag, but fresh from a pot. No milk or other required.

Comparing labels. Tea from the supermarket, which ever brand, is cheap compared to 16-20gms of beans for two shots of coffee or $10-$20 for a bottle of wine. Although a first flush hand picked from the foothills of the Himalayas may set one back closer to the $1 per cup. Tea bag not required. Like company optional?


I don’t see a mention of Yorkshire tea. 99% of the time we have loose leaf tea, but Yorkshire tea bags do it for me. I have a one woman campaign going on at coffee shops - they reluctantly make you a pot of tea and just stick a weak teabag in a pot and think that does it even if you have asked for loose leaf tea strong. I have said “would you offer your customers instant coffee?? So why would you offer tea drinker a tea bag !!”
Oh I could go on.


Yorkshire Proper Strong teabags for me. Lately I have been favouring looseleaf in a pot. For me those leaves are Dilmah. I have been using Dilmah for years now, and they are consistently excellent.
I agree with you @glenidol about skipping a pot of tea in a coffee shop. Never worthwhile, even when you ask for it to be strong - it never is.


Dilmah Decaf Tea bags . Can’t have caffeine ( allergy ) Dilmah uses the CO 2 method of extracting Caffeine not the chemical method as used by Tetley which makes the Dilmah expensive . $9.50 for fifty against $6.70 for one hundred Tetleys .

IGA in my area, Wyndham Vale , stock the Dilmah Decaf .Coles and Woolworths do not . The bags can also be purchased directly from Dilmah Australia .

Tea Life online also have loose CO 2 caffeine reduced loose leaf tea . They also sell tea bags so you can add your own leaves to them .


Yorkshire Tea (Gold, Strong, Proper) for me. Mr Z likes Dilmah, although he is more a weak coffee & water drinker. Occasionally have loose leaf in tea pot - Dilmah.

Years ago I had Liptons and they tasted like dishwater. I bought some cheap ones which were terrible. Friends served up Diplomat, didn’t like it - mind you he insists you keep the tea bag for a second cup and the mug & spoons are grotty, in an ancient farm house with no running water in the kitchen.

I make it in a large mug, with boiling water, leave to brew for a few minutes, then add milk (no sugar) up to the brim and sip. I’ll have 4 to 6 a day. I know I drink it for the caffeine.


Tea leaves (Madura, regular), milk first.
Decaf tea bags (Twinings on discount or Dilmah only from IGA, when I get the chance to buy).

I’ve had a few bad experiences buying tea…

  1. In Egypt, tea is commonly available, but sweet and black.
    I asked for tea with milk and no sugar… I received a cup of boiling milk with a tea bag in it…
  2. At a MacDonalds in Brisbane, I asked for a pot of tea and some soy milk. What arrived was a tepid blend of 50/50 milk and water (in the pot), with a tea bag. I took it back and the maker said, I thought it seemed strange to put the milk in the pot, but that’s what I was told to do.
  3. I often take my own tea bags and soy milk when travelling, and ask for either a cup of hot water, or hot water in my travel mug. That is usually free. If I ask for a tea bag in it, the cost is $3-5.

Positive experiences include being served a pot of strong tea, and being offered an extra pot of boiling water to go with it. That’s how it should be, given the small cost to provide tea (compared to coffee). And milk top ups as needed, no extra cost.