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ISO 3103 is a standard published by the "International Organization for Standardisation (commonly referred to as ISO), specifying a standardised method for "brewing tea, possibly sampled by the standardised methods described in ISO 1839[1]. It was originally laid down in 1980 as BS 6008:1980 by the "British Standards Institution.[2] It was produced by ISO Technical Committee 34 (Food products), Sub-Committee 8 (Tea).

The abstract states the following:

The method consists in extracting of "soluble "substances in dried "tea leaf, containing in a "porcelain or "earthenware pot, by means of freshly "boiling "water, pouring of the liquor into a white porcelain or earthenware bowl, "examination of the "organoleptic properties of the "infused "leaf, and of the liquor with or without "milk, or both.

This standard is not meant to define the proper method for brewing tea, but rather how to document the tea brewing procedure so sensory comparisons can be made. An example of such a test would be a taste-test to establish which "blend of teas to choose for a particular "brand or basic label in order to maintain a consistent tasting brewed drink from harvest to harvest.

A revised standard is currently under development as ISO/NP 3103.[3]

The work was the winner of the parodic "Ig Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.[4][5]



To maintain consistent results, the following are recommendations given by the standard:


The protocol has been criticized for omitting any mention of prewarming the pot.[6] "Ireland was the only country to object, and objected on technical grounds.[7]

Competing standards[edit]

In 2003, the "Royal Society of Chemistry published a press release entitled "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ISO Standard for sampling tea from containers of all sizes". 
  2. ^ Royal Charter and Bye-laws, 1981, The British Standards Institution
  3. ^ "ISO/NP 3103 - Tea -- Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests". www.iso.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09. 
  4. ^ "Fancy a quick cuppa - in 5,000 words?". The Guardian. 2 October 1999. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "The 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Feedback column". "New Scientist. No. 2207. 9 October 1999. Nowhere, however, is there mention of the ritual of warming the pot, central to the mystical British Tea Ceremony. 
  7. ^ "ISO 3103:1980(en) Tea — Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests". ISO. The member body of the following country expressed disapproval of the document on technical grounds: Ireland 
  8. ^ "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea" (PDF). Royal Society of Chemistry. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-11. 

External links[edit]

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