Where does British tea come from

Why do the English drink tea with milk?

Theory 1

All over the world people wonder why the English drink tea with milk. The answer is that in the 17th / 18th In the 18th century, the porcelain cups in which tea was served were so fragile that they would have cracked from the heat of the tea. A little milk was added in order to cool the liquid down a little and to prevent the cups from being chipped. That is why many people in England still put some milk in their cups before they add the tea.

sent in by Damien from Nottingham

Theory 2

My grandmother always said: "Milk in tea not only reduces the bitter taste of tea, it also reduces the discoloration that tea causes in porcelain cups."

sent in by Dave

Theory 3

Tea was very expensive and the lower classes couldn't afford much tea. Milk, on the other hand, was cheap. So the lower (poorer) layers filled their cups with cheaper milk and only added a small dash of tea, while the higher (richer) layers could afford to add a dash of milk to the tea (theory 3 says you did that to soften the bitter taste of tea). Even today, we are embarrassed about whether you pour the milk first or the tea first into the cup. In terms of taste, it makes no difference in itself, but to this day the behavior shows which class your family comes from.

sent in by Mareike

Theory 4

All I can say is that tea tastes good with milk. That's all.

sent in by Cathrine

Theory 5

It has nothing to do with the shift someone comes from. I first pour milk into the cup because the milk then "automatically" mixes with the tea. So I don't need a spoon. I can also see exactly how much milk I have added. There is nothing worse than milky tea. I come from a higher class and as far as I know we always drank our tea like this.

sent in by Fran

Theory 6

When the British discovered tea in China, the ruling Manchun drank their tea sweetened and with milk. This was adopted by the British as the correct way to drink tea. When the British started to produce tea in India (instead of buying it from the Chinese), they adopted this tradition, which led to an increase in tea drinking in India, so they developed chai (sweet, spiced milk with tea).

sent in by Alastair

Theory 7

Most Chinese people have a low lactose tolerance. It seems unlikely that the British copied the tradition of adding milk to tea from them.

sent in by John

Theory 8

I must point out that when I "lived" in Buckinghamshire, England in 1947-1949 with a family called (recently returned from Darjeeling and Calcutta, India) we always drank our Darjeeling tea milk first in the cup . We never drank tea with sugar either, which was rationed at the time. The tea is softer, far more pleasant and you have less trouble without that sticky spoon!

sent in by Johanna