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  • Mary Che

Why British lower class' tea is tastier?

One of the traditional British class markers is whether you put milk in your cup before you add tea, or vice versa. For the past 150 years at least, tea-first has been upper-class, milk-first middle class (or lower).


Tea, milk and scone
Photo by Pixabay

Based on the research conducted by Dr Stapley of Loughborough University, it has been confirmed that putting the milk in before the hot tea is the correct way to make a brew. Sorry to those of you who have been putting the milk in last all this time, you’ve been doing it wrong! This somewhat bold claim is all down to the milk heating unevenly when poured into hot tea.


When the milk heats unevenly it makes the proteins denature. This not only does the milk lose its flavour, it is also the culprit for the sticky skin that can form on the top of a cuppa! Brewing your tea in a pot and then adding it to cold milk works to prevent this.


Drinking tea is Britain’s national pastime, and as with any treasured ritual the nation is wracked by bitter disputes on appropriate protocol. This is not a new phenomenon – indeed George Orwell acknowledged as much in his 1946 essay “A Nice Cup of Tea”.


Orwell's heirs find themselves vastly outnumbered, with almost four times as many (79%) pre