Proudly A Milk-In-Firster

On Facebook the other day, I was talking about George Orwell.

Specifically, that for all his wonderful traits and gifts, he believed in putting the tea in before the milk in a cup, which is clearly erroneous. I mean, my Mother-in-law does this. How much more proof do you need?

Anyway, one of the comments suddenly made me into an “-er”

You know, an “-er”

There are flat-earthers and Birthers and Bowling Green Massacre Truthers and 9/11-was-the-work-of-the-Easter-Island-Intelligence-Service-Truthers and Climate Change Deniers* and The Queen Is a Lizard-ers.

“-ers” are a special category. I mean, you can have some pretty objectionable habits, like being a member of the Hall & Oates Fan Club, Morris Dancing or talking during the wrong bits of an Ashes Test** and not be labeled an “-er”.

Anyway, I was labelled a “Milk-In-Firster”.

And so I should be!

There are only three arguments:


Stemming from a time when porcelain cups would often crack or shatter when boiling water was poured into them, the habit of Milk In First prevented that occurring.


According to The Telegraph “Dr Stapley, MA, MEng, PhD, AMIChemE, MIFST, spent two months studying such questions as India or China, cup versus mug..”.

”Β As to the vexed issue of whether the milk or tea should be poured in first, Dr Stapley said science proved it must be the former.Β The reason is that when milk is exposed to high temperatures, such as being poured into a cup of piping hot tea, its proteins tend to degrade, or “denature”, producing a slightly stale taste.”

Lack of ability:

Of course, if you are technically enfeebled to the point where you cannot judge the right amount of milk to pour in to your cup prior to the tea in case you get the proportions wrong, then okay, perhaps you have a reason to go Milk In Last. But that reason is that you have not tried hard enough to master a basic skill, and so your very reason condemns you as being lazy, uncaring and quite unworthy of being allowed to serve the most popular beverage in the world.

So there you have it: Milk In First. Anything else lets down yourself, your guests and your tea.


*I have no problem with people who believe the evidence is inconclusive that humanity is responsible for climate change. But it’s a bit stupid to look at the stats and listen to the scientists and suggest change isn’t happening.

** If you don’t know which bits of a Test Match not to talking during, best to keep your trap shut for five days.

11 thoughts on “Proudly A Milk-In-Firster

  1. Oh please… example your host makes tea in a dark coloured mug…. milk last for sure…. you can’t sleep and make a cuppa in the dim light so not to wake your partner…. milk in last…. examples based on personal experience πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

    1. Tania, thank you for your examples, as misguided as they are.
      If your host has put tea in your cup before you get it, then yes, you may add milk – but it is your host who is miserably failing at a basic task and should be deeply ashamed.
      If make tea in the dark: use the force. feel the tea. and put the milk in first. Anything else is a fail.

  2. Query: Aren’t the milk proteins going to degrade anyway upon the addition of hot tea? Regardless of whether one adds tea to milk or milk to tea, it seems like the exposure is the same.

    1. No. When adding the milk last, a thin stream of milk is hitting the hot tea and degrading. When adding milk first,a thinner stream of tea is losing it’s heat as it hits. Apparently.

  3. Have felt strongly on the subject for years and raised my children properly to pour their milk first. I laughed to read your words about knowing how much to put in, as it exactly mirrors what my daughter (now 24) said to me on the subject with a smirk about those who can’t figure out how much milk to put in first. Your writing is as good for my soul as tea itself today. I could scarcely find a higher accolade. πŸ™‚ thank you.

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