Scientists reveal the BEST biscuit for dunking in tea… and the results might surprise you

  • The most dunkable biscuit is a Hobnob, or oat biscuit, according to researchers
  • The Christmas issue of the BMJ medical journal praised its ‘structural integrity’
  • Digestives came in second, shorties in third and rich teas last, in fourth place 

Over decades, people have stood by the biscuit tin agonising over which is best to dunk in their tea.

Now there is an answer.

The most dunkable biscuit, according to experts, is a Hobnob.

It beats a digestive, rich tea and shortie.

The most dunkable biscuit is an oat biscuit, which comes out ahead of a digestive biscuit, rich tea biscuit and a shortie

The Christmas issue of the BMJ medical journal reports that an oat biscuit like a Hobnob has the best ‘structural integrity’.

In everyday language, that means it is less likely to quickly fall apart after dunking, landing splashily in a mug of tea.

For those who dunk their biscuit, then get distracted and start chatting before eating it, an oat biscuit was helpfully found to take 29 seconds to break apart.

In contrast, someone holding a dunked digestive would see it fall apart and potentially land in their lap in less than nine seconds.

Disappointingly, a rich tea biscuit does not even make it out of the mug following a two-second dunk without completely crumbling.

Researchers painstakingly put the four biscuits through their paces using a standard cup of tea, containing 40ml of semi-skimmed milk.

Someone holding a dunked digestive would see it fall apart and potentially land in their lap in less than nine seconds

Forget chocolate… try the ACTIVITY advent calendar

An exercise advent calendar helps get people off the sofa and shed a few pounds before Christmas, a study has suggested.

Participants enjoyed the activities, which included ‘abdominal snowman’ sit ups and a ‘Christmas deliveries’ walk, which suggests people would welcome public health campaigns to keep them fit during the holiday season. 

The Christmas holidays are a particularly risky period for weight gain.

Evidence suggests people put on between 0.4kg and 0.9kg of weight during the festive season, but it had been unclear whether holiday-based physical activity could stop this.

Researchers at Loughborough University decided to test whether a plan of Christmas-themed exercises during Advent would be feasible and effective.

Exercises included included ‘Star’ jumps, ‘Dasher the reindeer’ sprints, ’10 lords-a-leaping’ rope skips, ‘Lay the table’ planks and ‘Rocking around the Christmas tree’ Christmas song dances.

Each exercise was offered at three intensity levels; Easy Elf (low intensity), Moderate Mrs Claus (moderate intensity), and Strenuous Santa (high intensity).

Participants were free to choose the intensity level each day.

Ceri Jones, co-author of the study from Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, said: ‘This started off as a joke standing next to the biscuit tin, but turned into a piece of research.

‘A cup of tea is such an important part of the day, when you get to stop and have a mental break, so people don’t want a biscuit spoiling it by falling in their mug or spattering their shirt with tea.

‘We now know that biscuit breakage is less likely with an oat biscuit like a Hobnob, but it hasn’t really changed my biscuit of choice, which remains a shortie.’

The study looked at biscuits without chocolate on them, and excluded filled biscuits like custard creams and bourbons.

Popular as these biscuits are, dunking them can lead to sticky fingers, which often end up being licked clean.

As the research was done in a hospital staff room, this was thought to be unhygienic.

For those in a rush, a digestive may be a better choice than a Hobnob, as having one apparently speeds up how long a cup of tea takes to cool down, so it can be drunk more quickly without scalding the roof of your mouth.

A cup of tea enjoyed with a digestive was found to reach a drinkable temperature of 61C (142F) within four minutes on average, while it took five minutes when dunking a shortie or rich tea.

It is unclear why, as it did not appear to be linked to how much tea the biscuits soaked up.

If crunch is important to you, a digestive is best, as it loses only 15 per cent of its crunchiness after being dunked.

A dunked oat biscuit loses 22 per cent of its crunchiness, and the worst performer, a shortie, becomes almost a third less crunchy.

But the most important measure for many people will be how long a biscuit takes to break after dunking, in the mug, or when held away from it.

The study looked at biscuits without chocolate on them, and excluded filled biscuits like custard creams and bourbons

The oat biscuit came out on top in both measures, taking 34 seconds before it fell apart in the mug after being dunked.

It also had the highest average score across all six tests conducted, looking at biscuit breakage, crunchiness after dunking, liquid absorption, the time until a cup of tea became drinkable, and the number of calories.

The 70-calorie oat biscuit may be more satisfying than a less calorific rich tea, and it is less likely to send someone back to the tin for more biscuits under the judgmental eye of other people.

Rich teas were found to be worst across all six tests, being given three penalty points for falling apart in the mug after dunking, before even being lifted out.

The digestive came second, doing less well on tests of structural integrity.

The researchers did not look at branded biscuits like Hobnobs, but generic versions.

The study concludes: ‘Making time for a cup of tea is an important daily ritual, and it should be encouraged to help improve the mood and performance of healthcare workers.’

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Could the lion diet transform YOUR health? Devotees of viral TikTok trend swear consuming only red meat, salt and water can tackle everything from allergies to arthritis (but experts are not convinced) 

Chef reveals the secret ingredient to make Christmas roast potatoes taste ‘epic’ – and it’ll already be in your pantry 

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