US Embassy Clarifies: Adding Salt to Britain’s National Drink Not US Policy, Amid Tea Controversy

US Embassy

The US Embassy in London found itself at the center of a lighthearted diplomatic incident after a suggestion by American chemist Michelle Francl to add a pinch of salt to tea sparked a playful yet pointed exchange between the US and the UK.

Francl, a professor at Bryn Mawr College and author of “Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea,” recommended the addition of salt to reduce the bitterness of the beloved beverage. This advice, aimed at enhancing the molecular science behind a good cup of tea, quickly stirred up a storm among the traditionally tea-obsessed Brits.

The suggestion, which went viral on social media, prompted a humorous response from the US Embassy in London. Without directly naming Francl, the Embassy’s social media post playfully acknowledged that the American professor’s tea recipe had “landed our special bond with the United Kingdom in hot water.” The post said that the Embassy would continue to make tea in the “proper way,” by microwaving it.

In response to the US embassy’s statement, the Cabinet Office UK tweeted, “We appreciate our Special Relationship, however, we must disagree wholeheartedly… Tea can only be made using a kettle.”

Sea Salt

Do people put salt in their tea?

Several members of the team at Serious Eats tested Francl’s advice and found that adding a pinch of salt to their tea significantly reduced bitterness and improved the overall flavor. However, it is essential to note that the amount of salt used is crucial. Francl advises using a pinch of salt, not enough to taste, to achieve the desired effect. Adding too much salt can lead to an unpleasant taste, so it is essential to find the right balance.

Additionally, the practice of adding salt to tea is not considered taboo in China and can be traced back to the country’s extensive history of tea cultivation. The use of salt in tea is also observed in other regions, such as the addition of salt to “noon chai” in Kashmir and butter tea in Tibet, where salt is used to enhance the flavor of the tea. While the idea may seem unconventional to some, it is a practice that has been observed and discussed throughout history and across various tea-drinking cultures.

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