US embassy smooths ruffled UK feathers over ‘perfect’ tea study

LONDON – The US and UK have traditionally enjoyed a so-called special relationship as close allies bound by a common language.

But that goodwill has been jeopardised by an American academic who claims that the recipe for a perfect cup of tea includes a pinch of salt. 

Professor Michelle Francl, an expert on chemistry at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, asserts in a new study that warm milk should be used in a perfect cup of tea – known as a cuppa – to reduce the chance of curdling.

She also suggests adding a pinch of salt to reduce bitterness, and notes that adding a small squeeze of lemon can remove the “scum” that sometimes appears on the surface of the drink.

Her advice drew bafflement and derision in the UK, where tea is considered the national drink.

Brits consume 100 million cups daily, which adds up to 36 billion cups a year, according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association. 

In a tongue-in-cheek post on X, the US embassy sought to reassure “the good people of the UK” that the “unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain’s national drink is not official United States policy.”

However, the embassy couldn’t help but poke fun at its British hosts by noting that it will continue to use a microwave to heat water – a practice unthinkable to Britons who use kettles. BLOOMBERG

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