Many cultures add milk to their tea. British type tea, Taiwanese milk tea, masala chai and teh tarik are just some that come to thoughts. Perhaps as you are studying this you’re having fun with a milky tea latte. But when did milk get launched into tea, and why? Adding milk to tea isn’t just for altering the flavour.

You might imagine that Western Europeans (most notably Britain) could be the primary so as to add milk to their tea because it’s such an vital custom right this moment. People battle about including the milk first, or tea first, and there are robust arguments for each. Perhaps you have heard a bit extra in regards to the topic, and you’re both a ‘miffy’ or a ‘tiffy’. But when did this all actually begin?

The History of Adding Milk To Tea

If you consider it, Tibetan butter tea has been round for much longer than European milky tea. One of my favourite tea historical past books, The True History Of Tea, mentions that tea might have been delivered to Tibet in as early as 781 when a Chinese ambassador introduced tea with him on his journey. In Mongolia the earliest file of including dairy to tea comes from a courtroom physician:

The Yin Shan Zheng Yao (Essentials of Food And Drink) compiled by the Mongolian courtroom physician Hoshoi in 1332 accommodates the earliest description of the Mongolian use of butter and curd…within the preparation of tea…tea leaves have been roasted in a wok till pink, then boiled with butter and curd…

Tea was launched to Mongolia from China, and butter and milk have been added to Mongolian tea for hundreds of years. This was documented within the mid 1800s by French Missionary Évariste Régis Huc, who wrote in regards to the tea was provided whereas visiting a Tibetan monastery. Once once more from The True History Of Tea:

Like the Tibetans, they subsisted on a heavy weight loss program of meat, milk merchandise, and grain, and prized tea for its digestive properties. An peculiar cup of Mongol tea was ready by breaking a tea brick into items with an axe, crushing the tea in a mortar, and boling the crumbs with water and a pinch of soda to extract all of the power and taste. This infusion was put aside, and cow’s or goat’s milk oiled with an ample quantity of salt. The tea infusion was then blended with the milk, and a few flour and Mongolain-style butter, made by boiling cream at a low warmth, added. When this yellow broth had been delivered to a boil, it was transferred to a Mongolian teapot- a two-foot cylindrical brass container with a deal with on the facet and two holes within the soldered lid: one for tea and one for air, and served in easy wood bowls.

Adding Milk To Tea for Nutrition
In the case of Tibetan tea, yak milk and butter is added to extend the vitamin and caloric content material of the tea. This tea will heat you up, provide you with vitality, and hold you hydrated on the intense altitude of a chilly, nomadic life-style. In areas of Mongolia, yak, horse, or sheep’s milk could be added. I’ve solely  had Tibetan tea in eating places, and I’m guessing it isn’t precisely just like the stuff you’d get on the supply. But the tea I’ve had is heavy, salty, and…barnyard-y. It’ll positively fill you up and hold you heat. I discovered this interesting article from Eater that mentions a kind of yak milk tea from Tibet. It’ll provide you with a good suggestion of what the brew is like, and provides attention-grabbing cultural perception into the tea.

Why The British Add Milk To Their Tea
When the Dutch and British began including milk to their tea, it could possibly be as a result of it was mimicked by what they noticed in China. But others argue that it was to mood the fragile porcelain cups they created. Chinese porcelain cups have been small and the tea was made to be consumed shortly. But when Europeans began manufacturing their very own porcelain, they made the cups bigger, which in fact held extra tea. This bigger quantity of tea sat within the cups longer, and would trigger the fragile porcelain crack. But including the milk first would decrease the temperature, saving the valuable items. Adding milk was reportedly popularized by Madame de la Sablière, an vital determine in French society who in 1680 served tea with milk at her well-known Paris salon. She supposedly added the milk as a result of she wished to avoid wasting her delicate porcelain cups from cracking. This actually is sensible, however there are different the reason why milk was added.

The high quality of tea within the 17th and 18th century wasn’t superb, resulting from poor storage and lengthy ship voyages. Adding milk would dilute the pungent favors created from the poor high quality tea. Another cause got here a little bit later, as working class British residents sought one thing to revive them in the midst of the day, and a brew of tea and sugar would do exactly that. I’ve usually learn books the place coal miners and different laborers took flasks of milky candy tea with them to revive them all through the day.  This concept is expounded to ‘excessive’ tea and ‘low’ tea, however that is for an additional blog put up!

Of course, milk tea is in style throughout the world right this moment, and as I kind this I’m craving a robust masala chai latte. For one of many distinctive methods of including milk to tea, take a look at my put up about East Frisian tea. Have you tried Tibetan butter tea? What different distinctive methods do you add milk to your tea?

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