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What's you favorite tea to have with milk?

83 Replies

Sinharaja from the Golden Moon and Vanilla Chai from Bigelowe are both really much better with milk IMO.

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i find the lowest grade tea i can. especially ones that tastes like well, the lowest grade tea i can find. brew the crap out of it, add sweetened condensed milk to it, stir, then i find a little hovel to hide in and greedily drink, because i really truly believe that no self-respecting tea drinker would ever add milk to a nice tea. but alas, i can’t help myself!

Cofftea said

Um… wow…

i love thai iced tea and coffee that use sweetened condensed milk

S said

I know exactly what you mean, hongkongmilktea…I would never add milk to something like Dawn or Jackee, which are perfect without it, but over-brewed Twinings English Breakfast smothered in milk and sugar? Heavenly.

Why ruin/waste a delicate or perfectly rich black tea with a ton of milk and sugar? Not only is it a waste of money, it’s also a waste of that tea’s potential.

Cofftea said

Or… drink what you like and like what you drink- I think saying “no self-respecting tea drinker would ever add milk to a nice tea” is extremely rude. While I firmly believe you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you drink and have to hide while drinking it, I also believe that every person deserves quality in all aspects of life, not just tea, and buying poor quality tea (especially if it only tastes good w/ additives) is the true waste of money. Why not just buy decent tea that tastes good w/ milk? There are lots of teas that taste good both ways. I actually have found that my taste buds prefer higher quality tea (meaning just chia in my case) w/ milk. I’ve found that the lower quality teas just don’t stand up to the milk and it just ends up being a cup of hot milk that tastes vaguely of tea. I do; however, completely agree w/ Shanti on the sugar point. But saying that, I also realize that there are others who don’t agree w/ me (my boyfriend lives in SC- where sweet tea is EXTREMELY common) and I’m not about to say that no self respecting person would add sugar to their tea… at least not where the taste buds are concerned… adding sugar/sweeteners is a health issue, but I can’t tell people how to live their life and/or make them change.

S said

I agree with you Cofftea—people should enjoy tea however they like.

For me, if you’re making Milk Tea, the base needs to be very strong and somewhat “rough” to stand out among the milk and sugar you add. So you have to overbrew the tea so that it will be strong and tasty with the milk (the astringency disappears with the addition of milk).

And also, you can pour a bunch of milk and sugar on top of a very special black tea and it will taste good, but you’ll also lose/mask all of the flavors and qualities that make that special tea so tasty. In the end, it will taste extremely similar to if you had just used an average tea without all those special notes and flavors.

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really? cofftea? did you think my opinion was really “extremely rude?”

i posted because i had believed that the steepster community respects varying opinions about tea. indeed, i reviewed the guidelines before posting and thought that my post would be accepted as a different opinion, and as such, would spark debate rather than censure. apparently, i was wrong. apparently, there is only one way to think and if one thinks outside of those bounds, one is considered extremely rude. not a good first impression for me on my first post.

be that as it may, i still believe that adding milk to tea, or fruit or other flavorings to tea is disrespectful to the tradition of tea, and as a whole, represents a degradation of tea culture by the west. quality teas were never served with milk by the chinese. low grade teas that were exported to the west then improperly brewed required milk to offset their innate astringency.

in this country, that degradation is exacerbated by companies wanting to make a fast buck by selling products that appeal to what they think of as the lowest common denominator of preferences. chocolate in pu-erh and fruit bits and artificial fruit flavorings added to tea are all travesties. that many professed “tea lovers” in this country are playing along and defending such practices, especially by many in the steepster community, is doing tea culture a disservice.

it’s not unlike a community discussion on wine where the predominant opinion is that arbor mist and strawberry hill are wonderful and if someone comes and says “no, those are really low grade wines with fruit juice and flavorings added to it” they are censured for not respecting the opinion of others.

that said, i’ll say again, i do like hong kong milk tea, with sweetened condensed milk. i don’t take it seriously, though. i wouldn’t really call that “tea culture”. i put it up there with pepsi or coke.

S said

Hi hongkongmilktea,

I think you’re completely right about milk and the fact that really good teas lose their flavor when muddled with milk. I would compare this to covering a high-grade steak with mayonnaise and ketchup. :)

The only thing I would like to point out is that people aren’t drinking chocolate puerh, flavored tea, etc, and thinking “omg look at this high quality tea blah blah blah.” People aren’t stupid, and they know that obviously a blend of green tea and hibiscus isn’t going to be as good as a fresh gyokuro shipped directly from Japan. People drink those teas because they TASTE GOOD—just like how Asian milk tea tastes good. I mean, you’re not swishing bubble tea in your mouth trying to pick out all of the notes of the tea base, right? In the same way, people aren’t drinking a coconut flavored black tea trying to pick out the delicate notes from the black tea base. So I think your anger is a bit misdirected there.

Also, I highly urge you to contact Jason or the other Steepster overlords about any posts that seem rude or disrespectful. Steepster is supposed to be a fun community, and I’m also sick and tired of seeing really rude responses on the discussion forum.

Cofftea said

Yes hongkongmilk tea, I do believe some of your comments were extemely rude. If I didn’t I would not have said so. How can you say you think “the steepster community respects varying opinions about tea” and yet say “i really truly believe that no self-respecting tea drinker would ever add milk to a nice tea.”? Those two statements are in complete contradiction of each other. The Steepster guys have the final call, but it is my opinion that this post violates guideline 2 and 5. I never said (because it is not true)that “there is only one way to think and if one thinks outside of those bounds, one is considered extremely rude”. There are LOTS of differing opinions here, but what makes yours rude is insulting people who add milk to tea (oddly enough, including yourself). Another example “I don’t drink bagged teas” is not rude… “bagged tea drinkers are losers” is very rude. You may think that chocolate pu erh is a travisty (I do as well, albeit a delicious one, but I think it is because they add rooibos, orange, and spices to it and don’t reflect that in the name. Some companies also call pu erh a black tea, that, in my own opinion, is a much bigger insult). I do agree that some people in certain countries where tea is grown, adding things like milk might be a serious cultural no-no, but most of us here are in the Western culture where, when it comes to tea, anything goes- jus look at the popularity of sweet tea in the south. I am very much into authentic preparation (or at least learning), but I do not push my opinions on others or insult those who have a difference of opinion.

Cofftea said

Shant, I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think you can say “they know that obviously a blend of green tea and hibiscus isn’t going to be as good as a fresh gyokuro shipped directly from Japan”, while the green tea base as well as hibiscus may be of a lower quality, being “as good” or not “as good” also takes into consideration flavor and I think comparing a flavored green tea to an unflavored green tea, even if they both use gyokuro as the base, is like comparing apples to oranges- or at the very least a granny smith apple to a golden delicious apple.

S said

When I said “good”, I was referring to quality—that should be obvious from the rest of my comment, and I don’t know if you are purposefully trying to start drama or seriously take offense to my choice of wording. And I hate to break it to you cofftea, but nobody’s using gyokuro as a base in a flavored green tea. I dare you to find one company that is using high grade green tea (the kind you would drink plain and is of good grade and flavor) as a base in a flavored tea blend. I dare ya.

S said

And to clarify for the 3rd time, since you’ve chosen to pick and choose from my comment in a way that is intellectually dishonest, I’m not saying that flavored teas suck, or that people that drink them are suckers—just that the quality of the tea used in them is inferior to the quality used in an unflavored tea. Even if you did use a high grade unflavored tea as a base of a flavored one or blend, you wouldn’t be able to taste all of the delicious notes and flavors in that high grade tea—that’s why companies use the lower grades for blends, and save the more expensive higher grades for unflavored tea.

S said

Fourth clarification, in case someone’s really dense and didn’t get this yet:

I’m not saying enjoying those teas is bad, and that’s where I strongly disagree with hongkongmilktea. You can enjoy your FGTFOP first flush tea AND your strawberry papaya flavored (lower grade) green tea equally. I certainly do. The first I enjoy because of its innate flavors and notes, which range from malt to smoke to leather to fruit and flowers. The second I enjoy because of the delicious flavor of strawberries and papayas matched with a base “green tea” flavor.

So everyone, let’s take a step back and stop throwing around accusations. I like my Steepter drama free, friendly, and accepting.

Cofftea said

Shanti, it’s completely up to you if you decide to make drama from what I say. I; however, never intentionally start drama because it’s at the top of my list of things I hate most just like I would never say something something I don’t mean. I also do realize that a flavored gyokuro would be extremely rare, if not nonexistant (but then again I never imagined there would be a flavored matcha lol). What I was saying that even if you were comparing a plain guyokuro to a flavored one (should it exist)- it would be an unfair comparison. Also, on the contrary- I find several bases for flavored teas of all types to be very good, infact that is one of my “marks of a good flavored tea.” It can not just be x flavored water to me. (Again, just my own personal drinking preferences). I, too, like my steepster drama free- to achieve this for yourself I suggest you consider not falsly accusing users of things such as intentionally doing impolite things… because I will defend myself every single time I’m falsely accused of something.

S said

Cofftea, I said the same damn thing—so why did you attack my comment and take it out of context? That’s intellectually dishonest AND drama-starting. If you want to argue with me, or even just “clarify” my meaning, PM me. Otherwise, the end.

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wow. ok, ok. i like tea with milk. i like flavored teas too. love ’em.

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Wantacuppa said

I grew up on English Breakfast tea with a generous spoonful of sugar, and enough milk to make a robust steeping quite pale. For afternoon tea, we added Cadbury’s Fingers, Jaffa Cakes, or Jamaican Ginger Cake. I am currently hooked on Williamson’s English Breakfast, though now in my fifties, I add skim milk and Truvia/stevia, rather than sugar.

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Not to quote someone but, Michael O’Flynn in the Quiet Man would say “When I drink tea, I drink tea. And when I drink milk, I drink milk.”

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teataku said

I tend to flit from milk to half-n-half to heavy cream and back again. The best tea I ever added dairy to was one that I swapped for—it was a sample of a hazelnut black tea from Tealicious. On its own, it was nothing special; the hazelnut flavor didn’t really come out very much, even with varying types of sweeteners. But when I added a tiny splash of cream… it was like drinking an entirely different tea. The hazelnut came at me like I had just taken a big whiff of a hazelnut liqueur. It was… a transcending experience.

Other than that, I stick to black teas when adding dairy. It’s one of my testing techniques when trying a new black tea. My fiancé has got me doing the minimalist thing—adding only tiny drops at a time until I get the right mix. We share the opinion that less is more, and it hasn’t steered us wrong yet. :)

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I dont use milk in my tea but if I ever decided to I think I would put it in an Oolong :)

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Wonks said

Having the unfortunate curse of being a supertaster I can’t handle very bitter teas without milk. As such, I rarely drink them (unless I desperately need caffeine). Those few delicate drops of dairy and sugar really do transfer a very bitter darjeeling into a warm luscious blanket for my tongue. Milk turns the coffee-like bitterness of wonderful tea such as Earl Grey into a fruitful delight, or allows me to grow hair on my chest with a hot cup of Irish Breakfast- all of which I couldn’t handle without that wonderful utter juice.

Outside of black teas…. I would feel ashamed and maybe even dirty if I tainted oolong or white with milk.

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