The classic cuppa, the unbeaten brew, the trustworthy cup of char. It is arguably the one thing that every Brit agrees on. 

Tea is a cultural institution in the UK, where an estimated 100 million cups are drunk every day.

Although we have our preference for the perfect brew, we largely agree on the fact that tea can be the remedy to any of life's problems. So, don't mess with it.

Anyhoo an American scientist has now sworn by adding salt to cups of tea.

Prof Michelle Francl's research has caused quite a stir in the UK and has even drawn a diplomatic intervention from the US Embassy.

"We want to ensure the good people of the UK that the unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain's national drink is not official United States policy. And never will be," the embassy said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The UK Cabinet Office responded: "In response, to the statement put out by the US Embassy in the UK: We appreciate our Special Relationship, however, we must disagree wholeheartedly... Tea can only be made using a kettle."

Of course, this is all in jest. The idea has been around since the eighth century, found in Chinese manuscripts that Prof Francl analysed to perfect her recipe.

"What is new is our understanding of it as chemists," Prof Francl said.

She explains that salt acts as a blocker to the receptor which makes tea taste bitter, especially when it has been stewed.

By adding a pinch of table salt - an undetectable amount - you will counteract the bitterness of the drink.

"It is not like adding sugar. I think people are afraid they will be able to taste the salt."

She urges tea-loving Brits to have an open mind before pre-judging her research, which she has documented in her new book Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"It is okay to experiment," she says. "I did experiments in my kitchen for this - channel your inner scientist."

Recommended reading: 

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Testing a salty cup of tea

Well, we can't all take the mick without trying it, can we?

It's a simple test to conduct, you make yourself your desired brew and then...and then...gently season it. I've already had three cups since 6am so another is welcomed.

I added a dash of salt to the tea and tentatively sipped.

Properly foul, avoid at all costs. It tastes exactly as you'd expect.