Diplomatic intervention after American suggests putting salt in tea

Publish Date
Thursday, 25 January 2024, 2:12PM
An American academic has created controversy after suggesting that salt could be added to a cup of tea. Photo / 123RF

An American academic has created controversy after suggesting that salt could be added to a cup of tea. Photo / 123RF

The US Embassy in London has intervened in a controversy over a recommendation by an American academic to add salt to tea.

Michelle Francl, who made the suggestion and who is a professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, has just released a book titled Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea.

The recipe has caused an outpouring of disbelief on British social media.

In a statement, the US embassy says the recipe for what was called ‘the perfect cup’, had landed the special UK-US relationship in hot water.

“Tea is the elixir of camaraderie, a sacred bond that unites our nations. We cannot stand idly by as such an outrageous proposal threatens the very foundation of our Special Relationship,” the statement said.

The US embassy assured the people of Britain that such a proposal would never be official US policy.

“Therefore we want to ensure the good people of the UK that the unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain’s national drink is not official United States policy. And never will be,” it said.

The statement ended by joking that the US embassy would “continue to make tea in the proper way - by microwaving it”.

Zealong Tea Estate research and development manager Amy Reason told Morning Report the perfect cup of tea starts with the leaves that you put in it.

You might want to rethink your brew if you are having to mask the flavour by adding salt and milk to it, she said.

“By adding salt to a cup of tea you’re probably trying to reduce the bitterness that’s coming through, so you’ve got problems with your tea leaves and then ... by putting milk in your black tea you’re also trying to fade out some of those volatile flavours that perhaps aren’t the most satisfactory.”

Reason said with tea you get what you pay for.

“We firmly believe that what you get in your finished product is from what you put into your plants to begin with, so if you’re having to add things to it to change the flavour delivery then obviously the effort that’s been put in may not be as good as what it should be.”

Everybody should drink their tea how the way they like to drink it, she said.

“If you’re drinking your bog standard gumboot tea it probably comes from multiple estates around the world, probably not the highest quality that you can buy if you’re drinking out of a teabag.”

Even with a teabag you need to let it infuse to “give it time to let the magic come out”

“But yeah definitely give it a squeeze because that bag will hold onto some of that goodness, gotta give it a squeeze.”


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