Today is Lady Devotea’s birthday, so there is no better time to talk about the tea issue that sometimes divides us: milk.
I tend not to take milk and she tends to.
Of course, I’m not adverse to a sweet, milky masala chai and we both love some lovely whites and greens that you’d never put milk in, but when it comes to black tea, she does, I don’t.
As previously mentioned, I don’t get bent out of shape by people who do. Sure, you may be of the opinion that it is somehow criminal to add a splash of milk to, say, a Castleton Moonlight First Flush, but if you do think that, you are wrong and you need to get over yourself. Saving a baby from a burning building or building a hospital for lepers makes you a hero: refraining from adding milk to your tea does not. Like sexuality, relationships and tax returns, tea is another thing with which you should keep your nose out of other people’s*.
So, on the subject of to milk or not to milk, I read something interesting somewhere. I sadly can’t remember where. It was along the lines of:
Black tea is usually brewed for x minutes, or y minutes if you are adding milk.
Am I doing it wrong? I have made many teapots of black tea, and when the tea is brewed, it’s poured, and I’ve never allowed the imminent threat of milk to affect brew times.
So, like the seasoned pro I am, I asked Facebook. Specifically, a page I often visit called Afternoon Tea Across America, because although I’m not in America or an American, it’s basically a bunch of people quite like me only not as appallingly rude and opinionated.
And having asked, most posters agreed with me: brew time is brew time. Milk is a separate issue.
Some said they had different teas for milk and no milk, and of course there is no issue with that.
But there were some who said, yes, they did brew longer if milking it, so to speak.
I also had some who said they used milk and/or sugar to ‘rescue’ tea that had been overbrewed and embittered. Not a bad strategy, although the page admin rejects this idea and recommends chucking it away. She added “Usually instead of pouring down the sink, I pour it into my plants to help them grow. I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but I haven’t had any die yet”, which I’m sure we all agree is great science and avoids tea wastage, which is most definitely a punishable offence.
So to conclude, there are a subset of tea drinkers who enjoy tea both milked and unmilked, and who brew longer if they are milking it.
And you know what, that’s fine.
Or is it? Feel free to comment.
*Blame my High School English teacher for that sentence, I think.