'Never!': Readers not convinced by US claims salt in tea makes perfect cuppa

The phrase ‘take it with a pinch of salt’ was never so apt when a US scientist suggested adding it to a brew makes the perfect cup of tea.
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Michelle Francl, a professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, almost stirred an international incident when she made the suggestion, claiming the salt acts as “a blocker to the receptor that makes tea bitter”.

The scientist analysed research papers and ancient texts dating back more than 1,000 years, documenting these experiments in her new book, Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea.

Concern the claim might put the special relationship between two G7 countries in peril caused the US embassy to get involved, conceding that the controversial recipe for a perfect cup of tea had “landed our special bond with the United Kingdom in hot water”.

Writing on X, the embassy posted: “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.”

However, anxious Britons were still left in a state of trepidation when the post ended with the promise: “The US embassy will continue to make tea in the proper way – by microwaving it.”

The Skegness Standard popped into Cafe Dansant in the Tower Gardens Pavilion to test out the scientist’s claims.

Cafe Dansant manager Steph Sears said the perfect brew was made in a pot and left to brew, with milk added last.

Cafe Dansant manager Steph Sears making the perfect brew.Cafe Dansant manager Steph Sears making the perfect brew.
Cafe Dansant manager Steph Sears making the perfect brew.

For the purposes of a taste test she made one with just milk added and a tiny amont of sugar and another with milk and a pinch of salt.

Deputy Town Clerk Kate Ford is never one to refuse a cuppa so she willingly volunteered to taste it.

"Actually I don’t take sugar so I prefer the one with salt – I really don’t mind it.”

Other readers were not convinced, however.

Kate’s colleagues at Skegness Town Council said: “Never!’

Julie Ann Claridge said: “I'll pass on the salt, long as you put the milk in last.”

Carl Smith comment: “American scientists telling Brits how to make tea..! We are the king of tea.”

Susan Kilmore said: “Years ago when making coffee in a percolator we put a pinch of mustard powder.”

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