London: How do you prepare your perfect morning cuppa? Well, scientists have developed a mathematical formula for the ideal cup of tea, which is best when drunk exactly six minutes after it`s made.
The optimum brewing time is two minutes and the ideal amount of milk is 10 ml, according to the researchers at the the University of Northumbria in the UK.
The perfect drinking temperature of 60C is achieved six minutes later -- but after 17 minutes and 30 seconds the tea will be past its best as it falls below 45C, they said.
For the research, the team spent 180 hours of testing and a panel of volunteers consumed 285 cups of tea in the lab to come up with the equation, the Daily Mail reported.
Lead researcher Ian Brown said the complex taste of tea is what has made it so popular.
In taste tests, the panel reported prevalent wood and grass "flavour notes" in black or over-brewed tea with hints of lemon, rose and geranium.
However, the addition of milk significantly reduced these and replaced them with toffee and vanilla. The more milk that was added the more these sweeter notes intensified.
Brown, a food and nutrition expert, said: "When enjoying a cup of tea, our palette requires a balance between bitterness and sweetness.
"Milk quantities and brewing time were key factors studied throughout our investigation into the perfect brew.
"Prominent sensory attributes of black tea are its bitterness and its dry, `puckery` mouth feel, also known as astringency."