Adding milk to tea and coffee....A "Good Eats" question

This is a question, but I’m expecting opinion-y type answers, so I’m posting it here. If the mods feel it should be moved, then move away.

On last week’s episode of “Good Eats,” Alton Brown discussed brewing tea. At the end, he mentioned adding sugar and milk and said that unlike coffee, that with tea, you should add the milk to the cup first and then add the tea.
I never even thought about which one got added first. Does it really make a difference? And if so, why?
Or is it just some tea drinker affectation?

And why does it matter with coffee if the milk is added after the coffee? Will I ruin my cuppa-Joe if I pour a little milk in the cup first?

The reason for putting the milk in the cup before the tea is because pouring the cold milk on top of the hot tea scalds it somewhat. I’m not sure of the physics of why putting the milk in first prevents scalding, but you can try it both ways and see for yourself.


everyone knows that tea is served alone. no cream, no sweeteners.

pah! pah! i say! :smiley:

Hmm. I usually put a tea bag in or a tea ball with loose tea, then pour hot water over that if the water is boiled. If microwaved, I add the bag after the cup comes out of the microwave oven. It seems strange to add milk first when using the above procedure.

You should be aware that “She’s rather milk-in-first, dear” was once an insult in England.

It’s U to put the tea in first, and non-U to put the milk in first.

Britain now being a classless society (snerk), tea may go in first or second. If it goes in first, you won’t need a teaspoon to stir.

Do warm the pot. Please, do warm the pot.

I don’t drink tea, but after seeing that whirly-gig kettle Alton was using, I’m tempted to start.

My Scottish grandmother was very particular about how one served tea and I seem to have adopted her practices.

After warming the pot I will brew tea for no more than five minutes, after that it becomes too bitter for my tastes.

If you are going to use milk it should go into the cup first. Add a little tea to warm the milk then fill your cup. This really does affect the flavour of the tea.

I find coffee also tastes better if the cream is put in first and the same process is used.

Okay, that I understand; you’re warming the milk.

But why is it an insult, as masonite pointed out to say someone is “Rather milk-in-first” ? Does it mean low-class?
(Ignert Amerkin asking)

And Why A Duck, yes, wasn’t that a nifty tea kettle Alton had? I assume the airplanes fly around when the water’s boiling.
I really liked the little cast iron tea pot he had. I Google-searched on them…the little buggers run $75 and up! :rolleyes:

I once heard the milk went in first when you’re using those translucent china cups, because otherwise, you could shatter the cup from pouring in the steaming tea!

Tea drinking is a major part of my satisfaction in life, but I only use milk when making chai. I’m a ‘black with two sugars and a squeeze of lemon’ kinda gal. My teapot right now is a programmable Mr. Coffee, so I can get up to a hot pot already smelling nice.

I do need to go to San Francisco’s Chinatown again, though, my stock of specialty teas from last year (China Rose, Jasmine, Ginger, Vanilla, Green, and Gunpowder) is running out.

I bought the kettle after seeing the tea show the first time it was on. I still don’t drink tea, but I boil water a lot :slight_smile:

And yes, I am easily amused thankyouverymuch.

Demigoddess, where did you get it?
Horribly expensive or reasonable?
Do the airplanes fly around when the water boils, or all the time?

Also Easily Amused. :wink:

How does one ‘scald’ milk??? In what way does ‘scalded’ milk differ from normal milk?

The reason for putting the milk in first is quite straightforward. You can more accurately judge how much milk you are adding, and you can then fill the rest of the mug to with tea without having to worry about how much room to leave.

Any other reasons are folklore, snobbery and nonsense.

I found it online somewhere (Maybe at teapots4sale? The name escapes me at the moment.) for about $70. A little extravagant for a tea kettle but it seemed worth it at the time - still does, actually. The spaceships fly around only when the water boils. It’s very keen.

It’s made by Kamenstein, and it is at teapots4sale.

Okay, this prompts me to ask: none of you who use milk and also use tea bags are leaving the tea bags in, are you?

I haven’t the foggiest. I don’t expect tea-snobbery to make any sense, although it appeals to my general love of older English novels. I’d love to hear an explanation.

It tastes different. it really does. I find tea too milky-tasting if the tea goes on top of the milk.

I fill the cup to a reasonable level (contrary to Futile Gesture’s fears, this is a task most adults can master), then add a dash of milk. This cuts the tanniny taste without swamping it.

The queen does it this way too, and I think this is indicative of the snobbery aspect. Those same “milk-in-after” snobs would also snicker if you talked of a “mirror”, rather than a “looking-glass”, or a “serviette”, rather than a “napkin”, so you can see just how pointless an insult it was.

They’d probably think “Good Eats” was an ugly title for a televsion show too, so they weren’t always wrong.

Nup: real tea has to be poured on top of the milk, into a china cup with saucer, and a silver teaspoon at the side.

Otherwise, it’s just not tea, is it dears?

(But don’t even THINK of putting the milk in before the teabag)

That’s because you’re not supposed to use bags.