Milk & Tea | History? Benefits? Reasoning?

Milk & Tea | History? Benefits? Reasoning?

For years and years, I have never put any milk or cream in my black tea. It didn’t make sense to me, why add to perfection? And then I decided to try out the “trend” and add milk to my Earl Grey Tea. Was it life changing? No. But was it disgusting? Absolutely not. It was good. It made the Earl Grey nice and creamy and it was very pleasant to drink. Adding milk to my tea really got me thinking, why do people add this to their tea? Are there any benefits? I ended up taking a poll on my Instagram on who put milk in their tea. The results were split 50/50, with 20 votes on each side. So, a quick thank you to my followers there, because you truly inspired this article. I also had some great conversations which helped guide my research.

A Brief Lesson in History:

There are a lot of interesting theories about how milk and tea first got established together. Historically, when tea was brought to England, the cups for tea were, supposedly, not as sturdy as they are today. People would pour their tea and the cup would shatter. The solution was to pour milk into the cup first and that cooled down the tea. Another theory was that milk was used to prevent staining of the china cups. And finally, the last theory is that the available black tea was a bitter, low-quality tea. So, the people added milk to make it better tasting. Whichever theory, it definitely has made an impact worldwide on how we drink our tea.

Are there any Benefits to adding Milk in Tea?

There are a lot of benefits of drinking tea, but in a study conducted testing plain tea vs. tea with milk, they found interesting results. When looking at plain tea effects vascular health, they found that the plain tea relaxes blood vessels (along with other benefits). But when they looked at the tea with milk, the blood vessels were not relaxed! The researchers believe that the proteins in milk bind with the flavonols in tea. That binding process makes it hard for the body to absorb those healthy flavonols of tea. Basically, adding milk to tea changes the chemical makeup of tea which could affect the benefits of the tea. But it is worth noting that milk in your tea does have a few benefits to it. For example, when drinking tea with milk, you might feel a rush of endorphins and feel like you are more balanced. That could be a stress relieving benefit of adding milk to your tea.

Reasoning…?

So, this begs a question. Why do people still add milk to their black tea? There does not seem to be any usually black tea benefits to adding it, but people still swear by it. Could it simply be the taste? A personal preference? I want to quickly look at the pros and cons of adding milk to tea.

Cons:

  • Adding milk seems to eliminate many of the health benefits
  • You can block some of the distinct flavors of the tea

Pros:

  • Based on preference, it can be very delicious
  • It can help you relax
  • Can help with staining of dishes
  • Can also prevent the black tea from staining your teeth

It really comes down to what you want to have in a cup of tea. It is all personal preference. If you really want milk in your tea, no one is going to stop you from doing so! Tea is so amazingly personal where you can adjust it anything you want.


What is your favorite way to make a cup of tea? Do you add any milk, honey or sugar? Were you surprised by any of this information? I honestly was. Well, as always, Happy Brewing!

-Danielle Ross

Sources:

Team, HealthStatus, et al. “Milk In Your Tea? Not A Good Idea – Tea with Milk.” HealthStatus, 8 Aug. 2018, www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/diabetes-3/milk-in-your-tea-not-a-good-idea/.

Kapoor, Swati. “Milk in Tea – Reduces Health Benefits.” Practo, 22 Jan. 2016, www.practo.com/healthfeed/milk-in-tea-reduces-health-benefits-5978/post.

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