A Conversation for Ways of Making a Good Cup of Tea


Post 1


I'm going to quote Douglas Adams on this, because there is no way I can express it any better and/or clearer myself:

"If you think you will like it with milk, then it's probably best to put some milk into the bottom of the cup before you pour in the tea. (This is socially incorrect. The socially correct way of pouring tea is to put the milk in after the tea. Social correctness has traditionally had nothing whatever to do with reason, logic, or physics. In fact, in England it is generally considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things. It's worth bearing in mind when visiting.) If you pour your milk into a cup of hot tea, you will scald the milk."

For those of you who have not yet tasted a cup of proper tea, check out the chapter "Tea" in the part "Life" in the book "The Salmon of Doubt" by Douglas Adams. THAT'S how it is done!!!

smiley - fullmoon


Post 2


Exactly! We drink more tea per head, in Ireland, than any other country in the world and it's extremely frowned upon to put the milk in first.


Post 3

Oberon2001 (Scout)

Why???? Doesn't make any difference to the taste *really*... does it?


Post 4


I always thought it was frowned upon NOT to put the milk in first.


Post 5

AlexK the Twelve of Motion

Scalding the milk definatly has an effect on the taste. Also scalded milk leaves these unsighly lines on the top of the tea. They are a little lighter then the rest of the tea would be. Of course this is only a problem if the water is indeed as hot as it should be. If you let it cool a little then the milk will not scald.

Either way I usually drink tea alone and therefor I pour the milk in second and no one knows. Oh yeah I also live in America, if I tell someone I like tea here they ask me Lipton or Nestea? So I don't think I ever have to worry about the social convention.


Post 6

Cheerful Dragon

Putting the milk in first has working class origins. In the early days of tea drinking, tea was drunk black or, later, with lemon. Only the more wealthy people could afford to drink it and they were able to afford the delicate porcelain and china that could cope with boiling liquid. As tea became affordable the working classes began to drink it. They had thicker pottery cups that tended to break when boiling liquid was poured in. They found that putting milk in the cup first cooled the tea sufficiently to prevent the cup breaking. This is why it's 'socially incorrect' to put the milk in first.

Personally, I put the milk in first unless I'm making tea in a mug. I prefer tea made in a pot, though. For some reason, it just tastes better.


Post 7

Researcher 1300304

dragon is absolutely correct, but with a minor addition. the wealthy, who could afford proper china, as in chinese china, had cups capable of taking hot liquids. the working classes had earthenware mugs, equally capable of taking hot liquids. the ones who didn't were the aspirant middle classes who had cheap(ish) inferior european copies of genuine china, but with none of the the thermal properties.

to this day the 'milk in first' routine is a fairly accurate indicator of someone from the aspirant middle classes or someone who thinks of themselves as belonging to that class. it's a hyacinth bucket thing.

it is also a myth that tea bag tea is necessarily inferior. altho it often can be, it can just as likely be very high quality. it is simply a matter of cut.


Post 8


Where to start.... ?

Cheerful Dragon and Antigravitas have it right. The social anthropology of tea drinking is surely fascinating but I am from engineering stock, which translated to this context means "I'd rather drink it than talk about it" smiley - winkeye

However, as usual Mr Adams (and SimplesOfTheMoon, by proxy) have got to the heart of the matter, in the pyhsics of the thing. Gradually pouring in a "lot of hot into a little of cold" will result in the "little" getting warmer much more slowly, than by gradually pouring a "little of cold into a lot of hot".

The time the cold (in this case, the milk) gains is used productively to allow its molecules to sort themselves out as they re-arrange themselves in adjusting to the new thermodynamic regime.

If this time is not available (i.e. cold milk into boilng water), they cannot re-arrange and voila - scalded milk. We have enough rubbish in our tap water as it is without encouraging lumps of scalded milk to add to the general scum that accmulates on top of the tea in some parts of the UK.

To answer Oberon2001, it really does taste better with the milk in first. And I for one, do not mind being considered beyond the pail as a result of my conduct.

And then of course, there's the physics of dunking of the Rich Tea biscuits.....

smiley - smiley


Post 9


Although I have generalised the above, I have been negligent in not including a health warning.

Do not try this with liquids of strongly contrasting pH. It is almost always safer to add the sulphuric acid to the water and not the other way around. smiley - scientist

One would then rather hope the gruesome mixture was not added to the tea under any circumstances.


Post 10


MILK AND TEA BOTH MY FAVOURITE. I start to learn tea recently, and learn how to brew a goood cup of tea.

Yes, to brew a good cup of tea is not easy, i learn from here: https://www.umiteasets.com/blog/

Hope this will help.

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