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Hot Tea Tips: From Top London Tea Sommelier

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Karl Kessub, tea sommelier in London.

Karl Kessab, tea sommelier at London’s Lanesborough Hotel.

At the Lanesborough hotel in London, Afternoon Tea at Apsleys, a Heinz Beck restaurant, is the domain of Karl Kessab, the world’s first tea sommelier. Every year since 2005, under his guidance, the hotel has won a coveted “Award of Excellence” from the UK Tea Council.

Twice it was crowned The Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea.

Below are Kessab’s secrets to the perfect cup of tea — just in case you can’t make it over to the Lanesborough in London anytime soon!


  1. Use only pure, fresh water
  2. Never reboil water for tea
  3. Keep tea leaves crisp and fresh as room temperature
  4. For black tea, use water that has just boiled, 95°C or 203° Fahrenheit
  5. For green or white teas, use water that is 83 -85°C or 181.4 – 185° Fahrenheit
  6. Loose leaf tea produces a better tasting drink.
  7. Tea tastes better brewed in a teapot than in a mug.
  8. Be patient and let the tea brew as long as it needs
  9. Do not over-brew tea, more time means more tannin
  10. For tea brewed in a teapot, add milk to the cup first; add the milk last if using a tea bag

Tea hot with potThe Lanesborough: With its enviable location, situated on the borders of Knightsbridge and Belgravia, in the heart of London and with panoramic views of Hyde Park, The Lanesborough has long been considered one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Its elegant surroundings, exquisite cuisine, unsurpassed attention to detail and world-renowned service are second to none.


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