Salt in perfect cup of tea lands in hot water with U.S. Embassy of London

Right in Wayne, PA, you can literally get a Taste of Britain, from British favorite baked goods, chips, plates and other merchandise paying homage to the United Kingdom. 

With all the love for the country, the owners must be from there, right?

"Everyone asks that, we are not. The original owner of A Taste of Britain was from England," said Debbie Pierce, the owner of A Taste of Britain.


English tearoom "A Taste of Britain" located in Wayne, PA.

Ever since Edward and Debbie Pierce took over about 12 years ago, they’ve continued to keep it going and what is a taste of Britain without tea. 

"Our full afternoon tea is our specialty, it comes with tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, and a pot of tea," said Debbie.

Which commonly they offer sugar or milk for their tea, but how about some salt? 

"Personally I enjoy my tea the way the Queen did, which is black tea with just a splash of milk, that’s my cup of tea, putting salt in it, that’s not my cup of tea," said Edward.

It is Michelle Francl’s cup of tea, so much so, this chemistry professor from Bryn Mawr College wrote about it in her book, "Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea."


Michelle Francl, chemistry professor from Bryn Mawr College and author of "Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea."

She wrote it after a tweet from a chemist who asked if the shape of a tea bag matter. 

"Turns out there is tons of stuff about tea and the chemistry literature including about the shape of a tea bag. So I wrote a little essay, and then an editor saw it, the pandemic hit, and it was like ‘can you write a whole book’," said Francl.

Out of that two hundred-page book, a certain part caught the attention of many, her suggestion of adding a pinch of salt to your tea, to make the perfect tea. 

"Sodium ions in the salt blocks some of the bitter receptors and so, the bitter compounds don’t bind and you can’t taste them. So, it makes it just a little smoother, a little less bitter," said Francl.

The folks in the UK strongly beg to differ, to the point the U.S. Embassy of London posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, a press release that states: 

"Tea is the elixir of camaraderie, a sacred bond that unites our nations. We cannot stand idly by as such an outrageous proposal threatens the very foundation of our special relationship".

Francl said, "My response back is, I’m not bitter about it and I understand that they may feel differently, but I stand by the science. I suggest that they channel their inner scientist and try it out."