You know me and pointless research. I’m quite a big fan of wildhaired propellorheads. But sometimes you just have to go, ‘Huh?’
Some boffins at Leeds University researched the testy problem of ‘milk in first’ when making the ideal cup of tea. They worked out that add the milk to the teabag before you add the boiling water. This is such blatant bollocks.
One. Apparently add the milk later, the proteins get denatured, and that’s why you get a scummy film. Well, don’t use teabags, problem solved, isn’t it?
But assume you use teabags. Used to be the theory was ‘milk in first’ made sure the hot tea would not crack your teacup, but china is really robust. There are photos you can find easily on the internet of a Routemaster doubledecker bus standing on eight teacups. Not sure why anybody did that research either. But china is very sturdy, so it won’t crack just cos you dump hot tea into it.
The other thing is, and I can tell you as an avid tea drinker (or I was when I could still taste it), the milk goes in after, no ifs, no buts. There is no argument here. Put the milk (on the teabag), the tea does NOT draw properly. It doesn’t. That’s where it stops.
Then the real killer. Milk on the teabag makes a crap cup of tea. Rubbish. Then there’s another thorny issue. Milk first? How much are you going to need to add if you can’t see the brew? You just don’t know. It’s all very empirical. I might want a cuppa so strong you can stand a spoon up in it till the spoon dissolves. Milk after. My choice, not that of some properllorhead on a dodgy research grant.
And it just tastes better. Well it did when I could taste anything. I do miss tea. But I can tell you I know how to make tea. First thing I learned in the kitchen at my mum’s knee, and we didn’t use teabags either.
Milk first is anathema, an aberration, an offence against nature. Try pulling that stunt in India, Sri Lanka, and believe me they understand tea there, and you’ll get pretty short shrift, or possibly a serious kicking for blasphemy. If you go the China, don’t even think about asking for milk in your tea. Chinese people are very polite in general, but you’ll get a few askance looks if you ask for milk in your tea.
The ‘researchers’ in Leeds are wrong. That’s the end of it.