View Full Version : with regards to tea and milk
11-04-2003, 04:00 PM
I think another reason to put milk in before tea is to reduce 'tannings' which is the filmy layer/skin that forms from the tea - which you dont get if you pour milk first?!?! This milk/tea debate has been long argued in many a london flat iom sure.:rolleyes:
11-04-2003, 08:43 PM
I'm not sure what article you're referring to (you may want to post a link), but I've never seen a layer of skin on tea (well, maybe on tea that's been sitting around for a few days). Adding milk before you add the hot water, assuming you're steeping the tea in the cup, would really destroy the flavor of the tea. I find that it is important to steep the tea at as hot a temperature as possible to get the richest flavor (or flavour, if you prefer).
If the tea has been steeped in a pot, then I can't imagine there's a detectable difference between tea where you add the milk first and tea where you add the milk second. Maybe if you add the milk first, it will mix up better or something, but that's easily remedied with a spoon or the passage of time (thank the gods for brownian motion).
Tannins are, I think, what makes the tea dark (and makes red wine dark too, I believe). I've never heard they had anything to do with filming up the tea. I don't know what "tannings" are.
11-04-2003, 08:45 PM
Perhaps this is the article to which you refer: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/m971211b.html
C K Dexter Haven
11-05-2003, 08:14 AM
Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Rachey, glad to have you with us.
When you start a thread, it's very helpful if you provide a link to the Staff Report or Column you're discussing. Helps keep others on the same page and saves them time searching. There's LOTS of topics covered in our Archives, so we suggest that new threads provide a link.
No biggie, you'll know for next time, and glad to have you with us!
11-07-2003, 04:44 PM
Heavens, where to start.
Tannins are what tea (and red wine) bitter, you can taste them on the roof of your mouth.
Now to the staff report.
"The old-fashioned dictate 'milk in first,' or 'MIF'--supposedly a sign of good breeding--was simply a way to prevent thin porcelain in typically cold English houses from cracking at the touch of hot tea"
When tea bacame popular in England, ceramic technology was not what it is today. The fashion was for very thin cups, but making very thin cups which were also capable of withstanding the shock of having boiling water poured into them was very expensive. So, the very rich bought these and were able to demonstrate their wealth by pouring in the tea first.
Conversely, the slightly less affluent folks still bought thin (but fragile) cups, but had to lessen the thermal shock of the boiling water by adding milk first.
Miss Manners says"[A]sk your guest of honor how she takes it. Using the strainer, pour straight from the pot for strong tea, and dilute it from the kettle for weak. Then add sugar ... and milk, according to her taste."
If Miss M were to offer me tea like this, I would raise my pinky finger at her and leave. Diluting strong tea is not the same as making weak tea, for pretty much the same reason diluting espresso is not the same as making drip coffee. Strong tea (such as Assam (http://www.adagio.com/black/assam_melody.html?nav=product_description&SID=1a9cf8a2c7b6186440c63dd4bd2fcf87)) has large amounts of tannin in it. Weaker teas )such as Darjeeling (http://www.adagio.com/black/darjeeling_spring.html?nav=product_description&SID=1a9cf8a2c7b6186440c63dd4bd2fcf87)) have much less and are a lot more fragrant. Green teas are different again.
11-12-2003, 12:33 AM
Tannins bind to proteins in the milk and in your saliva. In the latter case the tannin affects the mouthfeel of a food like any other astringent. As tapioca dextrin said 'on the roof of your mouth'.
Adding milk preferentialy binds to tannins and removes the astringent mouthfeel.
Tea scum is probably a reaction between the calcium in the milk and bicarbonate in hard water to form insoluble calcium carbonate. The slat then binds to polyphenols in the tea to form the scum.
11-29-2003, 08:47 PM
Tea made by the Royal Society of Chemistry can be found in this pdf file (http://www.rsc.org/pdf/pressoffice/2003/tea.pdf)
11-30-2003, 09:51 PM
OK this is something I happen to know about
first there is two types of porcelain
soft paste and hard paste
the Chinesse made Hard paste pocelain this was able to withstand the hot water of tea being poured in to it and would not crack
when the europeian Porcelain makers tried to make this they ended up makeing soft paste porcelain and this cracked when heated by the water hitting the surface
so the cool milk is added first to give an insulated lair to cool the water as it stricks the cup
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