A tea expert has revealed how to avoid ending up with a soggy disaster when dunking your favourite biscuit in a cuppa.
Yorkshire Tea’s leading tea taster, Suzy Garraghan, told FEMAIL it is important to think about the angle, type of tea and temperature when dunking your biscuit and says it should never be submerged for more than five seconds.
She said that TimTams, Ginger Nut and digestive biscuits keep their shape best while also soaking up the perfect amount of tea.
Yorkshire tea’s leading tea taster, Suzy Garraghan, has revealed the best biscuits for dunking in tea
Digestive biscuits and TimTams are some of the best for dunking, according to Suzy
‘I love a good biscuit dunk – nothing goes better with a proper cup of tea than the perfect biscuit accompaniment,’ Suzy said.
‘But like most people, I’ve had my share of soggy disasters, fishing around in the bottom of a mug for the remains of a biscuit after letting it steep for that little bit too long.’
Suzy believes everyone has the right to enjoy tea on their own terms – but is happy to share tips for those who want them.
WHAT ARE SUZY’S FIVE TIPS FOR DUNKING BISCUITS IN TEA?
It’s all about the angle
The trick to the perfect dunk starts even before the tea is poured. Whether you opt for a teacup or a mug, make sure it’s wide-brimmed. This will allow you to dunk your biscuit at the right angle. If you’re a ‘down-dunker’, you might be surprised to hear you’ve been dunking your biscuit wrong all these years. Ideally you want to dunk at an almost horizontal angle, so only one side of the biscuit gets soaked. The biscuit will stay stronger, allowing for repetitive dunks.
Choose your tea wisely
When you dunk a biscuit, it absorbs the quality and strength of the tea’s flavour, making it taste better. So, choose wisely! It ultimately comes down to personal preference, but for me, proper dunking teas are top class, peak season Assam-rich teas like Yorkshire Gold which is full-bodied and rich in ‘gutty’ strength and malty notes.
Check the temperature
Monitoring the temperature of your tea is a gamechanger for perfecting your dunking technique.
The warmth of the tea dissolves the biscuit’s sugar, fat and starch, so the biscuit will eventually collapse under its own weight. Temperature, therefore, is often responsible for our drowned dunking pursuits.
The hotter the tea, the quicker the biscuit will dissolve.
While I can recommend 85 degrees as the optimum temperature for drinking your proper brew, a perfect temperature for dunking will depend on your bikkie of choice. Tea temperature will affect each biscuit differently depending on its ingredients.
Watch the clock
The optimum dunking time shares a similar predicament to the ideal dunking temperature – it depends heavily on the biscuit variety. As a general rule, I’d say never dunk for less than two seconds or more than five seconds – and don’t forget to monitor for signs of the biscuit collapse.
For a Ginger Nut, I recommend around 3 to 5 seconds. This is one of my favourites as it can be dipped multiple times. For a Tim Tam or a Digestive, no more than 2 to 3 seconds as these varieties are less solid and will dissolve and make a mess faster.
Pick your partner
Now the moment we have all been waiting for… which biscuits reign supreme? While it comes down to personal preference, I do have some favourites:
Ginger Nut: The gingernut is a funny one as I feel like it is entirely reserved for dunking in tea. Who eats a dry gingernut? Without tea, they are dry and hard, but with tea, they become beautifully chewy. The flavour means they’re not universally liked, but they are excellent value for the keen dunker due to being solid enough to be dipped, bitten and dipped again.
Digestives: A classic digestive makes the perfect tea partner with its semi-sweet flavour and crumbly texture that lets you appreciate the taste of the tea in all its glory. For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate digestives are perfectly dunkable as well.
Tim Tam: The chocolate covered Tim Tam will leave the dunker with the delicious mix of tea, chocolate and biscuit all at once. There are two ways to dunk the Tim Tam – the original dunking method or the rather more fun, Tim Tam slam.
‘When it comes to dunking, everyone has their own way of doing it. A successful dunk usually comes down to the type of biscuit or liquid you choose. You might also want to consider angling your biscuit horizontally into the cup or adjusting the temperature of your tea,’ she said.
The tea expert usually goes for a ‘classic’ digestive biscuit because they hold up well in the tea and she likes the sweet and savoury combination.
Suzy who lives and works out of Yorkshire in the UK previously told FEMAIL how to make the perfect brew.
The veteran tea drinker has been tasting brews professionally for over 12 years spoke about the do’s and don’ts of a proper brew.
The veteran tea taster likes hers served the colour of a Werther’s original
Yorkshire Tea’s experts say you should always use freshly boiled water when making a cuppa
The biggest no, no is using pre-boiled water, according to Suzy who admits she is ‘quite liberal when it comes to tea making’.
She likes to boil fresh water each time and says if you boil the same water more than once the oxygen becomes depleted which can leave the tea tasting flat.
The next thing most people do wrong is rush the brew.
‘I hope you’re not just brewing it for 30 seconds at home,’ she said.
Before revealing the optimum amount of time needed to brew a good cup of tea is four minutes, if you drink it with milk and two minutes if you enjoy it black.
‘Milk really compliments Yorkshire tea,’ she said, whether it be cow’s milk or a plant-based alternative.
She said the longer it is left the more likely the malty flavours developed on the bush in East Africa will come through.
The expert says dunking a biscuit into a cup of tea is perfectly acceptable
Suzy, pictured in the tea tasting room, tastes one thousand brews every day
Suzy also doesn’t believe in ‘bashing around the teabag’ when the tea is brewing, preferring to give it a light twirl with her spoon before removing the bag from the cup.
This is when you should add the milk to the tea.
Milk is added last because water needs to be 100C for the tea to brew properly and adding milk to the cup first would bring the temperature down too far.
Suzy tastes a thousand teas each day, slurping the warm liquid from her tasting spoon before swirling it around her mouth and over her tongue.
‘You can feel you like tea long before you can put an attribute to it,’ she said.
‘It is very much a sensory experience, drinking tea.’
The core rules about milk, fresh water and brew time are the only three Suzy is really set on – she loves when people make tea the way they like it.
The idea of reusing a teabag and keeping it on a saucer for later didn’t phase the veteran tea taster.
Neither did the idea of dunking a biscuit into a steaming cup of her favourite brew.
‘Unless it is a chocolate biscuit, but that is because I don’t take sugar in my tea,’ she clarified.
Adding ice to cool it down, or waiting for the temperature to drop on its own are both valid options as is adding cool water.
‘You might want to make it a bit stronger if you are going to add ice or cold water,’ she said – because more liquid means weaker tea.
Each teabag can properly service 330mls of water, she said, so if you have a bigger cup more is needed.
She has been a taster for 12 years and travelled all over the world with her job
They have three varieties available in Australia including Yorkshire Tea, Proper Strong and Yorkshire Gold which is their special edition brew
Suzy doesn’t just taste tea, she also travels the world, mostly to East Africa and India to buy tea and build relationships with producers.
She overseas the farmers picking the crops and checks in on the oxidisation process which transforms the tea leaves into the drinkable beverage loved by most of the world.
‘Tea is the second-most commonly drunken beverage in the world after water,’ she revealed.
Yorkshire Tea is the number one brand in the UK. They have three varieties available in Australia including Yorkshire Tea, Proper Strong and Yorkshire Gold which is their special edition brew.
What are the key rules to making the perfect cup of tea?
Never boil the kettle more than once
Brew your tea for four minutes if you plan to add milk
Brew your tea for two minutes if you like it black
Keep your tea in an airtight container at all times
Don’t ‘bash’ the teabag
Add milk after the tea has brewed, not before