ISO 3103

ISO 3103 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (commonly referred to as ISO), specifying a standardized method for brewing tea, possibly sampled by the standardized methods described in ISO 1839. It was originally laid down in 1980 as BS 6008:1980 by the British Standards Institution.[1] 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.

The work was the winner of the parodic Ig Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.[2][3]


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.[4]

Competing standards

In 2003, the Royal Society of Chemistry published a news release entitled "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea."[5]

See also


  1. Royal Charter and Bye-laws, 1981, The British Standards Institution
  2. "Fancy a quick cuppa - in 5,000 words?". The Guardian. 2 October 1999. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  3. "The 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  4. Feedback column, New Scientist Magazine, 9 October 1999
  5. "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea" (PDF). Royal Society of Chemistry. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-11.
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