For years, tea drinkers have been divided over whether milk goes in first or last. And now it seems the internet wants the matter settled.
To coincide with National Tea Day, Rachel Hawkins tweeted the masses asking: “Milk in first or last?”
At the time of writing, she'd had over 5,000 responses, with most people (80%) agreeing that the milk should be added last.
So is there a major benefit to adding milk last?
According to Fortnum & Mason’s guide, putting the milk in last used to be considered the ‘correct’ thing to do in refined social circles, as it showed you were using the very best quality china.
Poor-quality cups, on the other hand, would be more likely to crack when hot tea was poured into them. So people put the milk in first to prevent this.
“Evelyn Waugh once recorded a friend using the phrase ‘rather milk-in-first’ to refer to a lower-class person, and the habit became a social divider that had little to do with the taste of the tea,” explains the guide.
The benefit of adding milk at the very end is mainly that it’s easier to judge the correct amount of milk to add once you have seen the strength and colour of the tea.
The benefit to adding the milk first is that the fat in the milk emulsifies in a different way when the tea is poured onto it, giving it a creamier taste.
Moral of the story: there’s no right or wrong way to add milk to tea. You do you.