Why do British people put milk in tea?

Tea is basically made of the same plant no matter where in the world you drink it, but tea preparations vary from country to country.

While the Chinese and Japanese generally prefer their hot tea without any dairy, a splash of milk in your afternoon “cuppa” is quintessentially British. 



Britons may take milk in their tea for the flavour today, but that wasn’t the original intention.

According to Reader’s Digest, the first people to add milk to their tea were more concerned about their drinking vessels than the tea itself. In the early days, and of course today too, the British sipped tea out of delicate china cups, which were prone to cracking under intense heat of the boiling water. This was especially true of cheaper china, which was all that most people could afford. Instead of serving tea at a temperature cooler than steaming hot, they used milk to mellow it. The cold milk went into the cup first, followed by the boiling liquid, which immediately cooled down to a less-destructive state.

If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to pour your tea, adding the milk first is historically accurate. Science backs up this method as well. If you add cold milk to a hot cup of tea, the dairy will heat unevenly, which can cause the proteins to denature and clump together. This results in an unappetizing film on top of the beverage that’s likely to ruin your teatime.

Not everyone agrees that pouring milk first and tea second is the correct way to go. And of course, many tea-drinkers would not put any milk in the drink to begin with. However, at the end of the day, it is up to you!




Enjoy Yourselves!                                           Richard