Whether or not to put the milk in your cup before pouring the tea or after is an age-old question. Today I have the answer for you. Or at least the answer to where this question came from. You can decide for yourself when to pour the milk after reading this.
In the early days of drinking tea, society was completely divided. High-society, the very wealthy, could afford proper tea cups made of porcelain and fine china. These cups were able to withstand the high heat of boiling water so the water was poured first, over the tea bag. The tea was then steeped and milk was added afterward to cool the tea to a comfortable drinking temperature.
But the lower class, the commoners, could not afford such nice tea cups and fashioned their own out of clay or other materials they had lying around. These cups weren’t able to handle the heat of the boiling water and would crack. So the commoners started adding the milk first to cool the water as it was poured; keeping the cup from breaking.
Whether or not you added the milk first or the tea first showed everyone your standing in society. Pouring the tea first was a way of showing off that you were wealthy and could afford the finer things in life.
Nowadays, things are a little different. Everyone has access to cups, mugs, and paper cups that are able to withstand the heat so it no longer shows your standing in society.
However, my personal opinion is definitely to pour the tea first. It has nothing to do with my social standing and everything to do with how I prefer to steep my tea. Tea steeped in a combination of hot water and milk doesn’t have the same strength and flavor as tea steeped only in hot water.
My honey has the opposite opinion. He likes his tea steeped in a combination of milk and hot water.
What about you? What’s your preference? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!