Brewing a cup of tea is a sacred ritual for Britons – mug, tea bag, hot water, milk, removing tea bag, drinking. Reassuringly predictable and delicious in equal measure.
But now an expert has caused a stir with his claim that pouring milk onto a tea bag before adding the boiling water is the way to get the best cup of coffee.
This blatant disregard for tradition is based on research showing that milk is the first to help combat hard water – a problem that plagues more than half of Britons.
Professor Alan Mackie (pictured) from the University of Leeds says people with hard water should consider using milk first
Water increases in hardness as its mineral content increases, with more than 350 parts per million considered “ aggressively hard, ” according to Aquacure. Anything below 100 ppm is considered soft, and water above 101 ppm is hard to varying degrees. In the photo, dark blue is parts of the UK where water is hardest, and the lightest blue is soft water. The royal blue regions are in the center
Professor Alan Mackie from the University of Leeds says people living in hard water areas should consider using milk first.
Research conducted in collaboration with INTU, a manufacturer of boiling water taps, has shown that hard water contains minerals that inhibit the formation of flavorings.
But proteins in the milk lower the mineral content of the water, says Professor Mackie, and add flavor to a brew, especially if the water is hard.
“The flavor is generally produced by the various compounds in tea, including tannins in particular,” says Professor Mackie.
The more minerals present in water, the more difficult it is for these compounds to develop the flavor – resulting in the dull cups you get in hard water areas.
Making a cup of tea is a sacred ritual for many Britons, reassuringly predictable and equally delicious. But now an expert has caused a stir with his claim that pouring milk onto a tea bag before adding the boiling water is the way to get the most delicious cuppa.
BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker said Professor Mackie’s research upset his co-host, Louise Minchin.
The question of putting milk in a cup of tea before the water sparked a lively discussion on social media (photo)
Mr Pankhaniam, a Yorkshire surgeon, noted that milk should first be used in hard water areas of the country, which is unlikely to affect more northerly and less built-up areas, such as Yorkshire
Drinking five cups of tea a day improves focus and reaction times in people over 85,
If you enjoy a cup of tea, you may be more refreshing than just your taste buds.
A new study by researchers at Newcastle University shows that a good brew improves brain function in people over 85 years old.
The study showed that tea drinkers who enjoyed more than five cups a day had more focus and a sustained attention span.
They also showed better psychomotor skills – those that link brain and movement.
During tests, they showed better accuracy and responsiveness, which could help with everyday activities such as making a jigsaw, sewing, or driving.
Making tea the traditional way – soaking a bag in hot water before taking it out and adding milk – turns the tannins into solids before they can properly develop the flavor.
“But if the milk is added at the beginning of the steeping process, the proteins can bind to the tannins and other minerals in the water – preventing them from solidifying – which in turn gives you a much better taste.”
Hard water, such as that found in London, is rich in calcium and magnesium, while soft water is purer and devoid of these harmless pollutants.
Water is naturally soft when it falls like rain, but collects impurities as it makes its way through the rivers and treatment centers.
Water increases in hardness as its mineral content increases, with more than 350 parts per million (ppm) considered “ aggressively hard, ” said Aquacure
Anything below 100 ppm is considered soft, and water above 101 ppm is hard to varying degrees.
Kieran Taylor-Bradshaw, general manager of hot water tap manufacturer INTU Boiling Water Taps, added, “A decent cuppa brings joy and brightens the day, but for many it remains a distant dream, with hard water to blame.”
He adds that INTU is “delighted to be able to end the misery that is wrecking millions of lives,” but it seems many Britons are unwilling to change their age-old way of stomping.
Dan Walker, BBC Breakfast host, said Professor Mackie’s research shocked his co-host, Louise Minchin.
Meanwhile, Good Morning Britain’s Adil Ray, who ran the show after Piers Morgan’s departure, discussed the topic on ITV this morning.
He revealed that he likes his strong tea and with the milk after the water and the tea bag, but his co-host Kate Garraway revealed her fondness for tea made with the milk put into the cup first.
When she heard of Professor Mackie’s revelation, she exclaimed, “So I’m right!”
According to a Twitter survey run by GMB, Kate is very much in the minority.
More than four in five respondents say they prefer water to milk, and only 18.2 percent of people say they start drinking milk first.
Good Morning Britain’s Adil Ray, frontman of the show after Piers Morgan’s departure, brought up the topic on ITV this morning. He revealed that he likes strong tea and with the milk after the water and the tea bag, and some viewers agreed
Adding water before milk is deeply rooted in British culture, and people hate switching to adding milk first