What is British tea for the Germans

Home / Tea with milk - the classic from England

We have often reported on coffee with milk in the most varied of variations on roastmarket. But why not try tea with milk? What is an everyday ritual in some countries like England is rather the exception here. Find out where the typical English custom of drinking tea with milk originally comes from, how it changes tea, what you should pay attention to during preparation and which teas are particularly suitable for this.

Why tea with milk at all?

While drinking milk coffee is normal for many Germans, drinking tea with milk is rather rare in this country. In Great Britain, on the other hand, it is customary to add a little milk to your tea. It is no longer possible to clearly determine where this custom comes from. However, there are various theories about how the milk got into the tea (or vice versa).

According to one, in the 17th century, tea was drunk from porcelain cups that were so fine that they often shattered when the hot drink was poured into them. However, if you put some milk in the cup first, it prevented the porcelain from cracking. Speaking of porcelain: Another hypothesis is that tea discolors porcelain dishes and milk prevents this.

Some historians believe, however, that the mixing ratio used to reflect the financial circumstances of the tea drinker. Because tea was a luxury that not everyone could afford for a long time. In order to still enjoy tea, the lower social classes are said to have replenished the tea with the much cheaper milk. The better the financial situation, the greater the proportion of tea.

Probably the simplest and most obvious explanation, however, is taste.

How does milk change the taste of tea?

Most teas naturally have a slightly bitter taste. With the addition of milk, the bitter aftertaste disappears and the tea takes on a creamy, creamy note instead. In addition to eliminating the bitter note, milk can produce a variety of different taste nuances. Even the smallest amounts can significantly change the aroma of the tea. Both the amount and the type of milk are important here.

Our customers' favorite teas

The creamy note is stronger, the higher the Fat content of milk is. Here, too, there are regionally different preferences. In England a fat content of eight to ten percent is common, in East Frisia people swear by high-percentage cream instead of milk. Otherwise, you can also use whole milk or condensed milk - depending on your personal taste. Try out different variants and vary the amount or the mixing ratio. The amount of condensed milk that is packaged in small jars in caf├ęs and served with coffee serves as a rough guide.

Which types of tea are good for this?

In principle, you can experiment with tea and milk as you wish, your personal taste alone decides here. However, there is one limitation or recommendation:

If you want to try milk tea, use low-acid teas. Black tea, chai tea or other types without fruit acid are ideal. Incidentally, black tea with milk is not only a classic in England, but also very popular in East Frisia.

Acid teas, such as fruit teas, can cause the milk to flocculate. This means that the milk can curdle in the tea, which then no longer looks good and usually no longer tastes good.

Tea with milk: preparation tips

The order in which tea and milk are poured into the cup is almost a question of faith and even in England an ongoing issue. Because some swear by pouring the milk into the cup first (Milk-in-first; Mif) and usually argue that stirring becomes superfluous in this way. The British Standards Institution (BSI) also recommends brewing the tea first, then pouring the milk first and then pouring the finished tea into a cup at a maximum temperature of 85 degrees.

Others, however, insist on pouring the tea first and then the milk (tea-in-first; Tif), above all in order to be able to portion the amount of milk better. This order can also be found in the East Frisian tea ceremony. After Kluntje (white rock candy) and hot tea, a dash of cream is finally added to the tea - ideally counter-clockwise, but never stir! Because then the cool cream rises from the bottom of the teacup like a small cloud, which not only looks delicious, but is also supposed to maintain the taste triad of sugar, tea and cream. However, the order in which the individual ingredients are added to the tea has no effect on the taste.


Tea with or without milk - that is primarily a matter of taste. As well as the correct method of preparation and the order in which both are poured into the cup. According to the current state of knowledge, there are no health losses due to the addition of milk. However, there are types of tea that are particularly suitable for consumption with milk. These include black tea, chai and teas without fruit acid - and you are encouraged to try them!

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