To Milk or Not To Milk
That is the question! Since moving to London 14 years ago, I have grown quite fond of a cup of tea. The photo above is of my own tea shelf, whereby I have a slight problem knowing when to not buy it! It’s so much fun! It’s cheap, it’s comforting, it’s got variety... I love tea!
I’m not a tea snob, I leave that to the experts. I just try and buy what I like, and I prepare it according to my taste, not to what should or should not be done. On my afternoon tea walks, I give a solid history about tea, the debate on milk first or last, etiquette, and so on. Here, I’m going to talk about personal preference.
Yesterday in Covent Garden, I was splurging on a pedicure. It isn’t something I do regularly, but I have a holiday coming up. (Rome!) I was early, and had to kill some time. My pedicure was on New Row, and so I shopped around the places there. There’s a fine art gallery which currently has work by Bob Dylan and Ronnie Wood. Who knew these fine musicians were stunning artists! I was taken aback by Ronnie Wood’s paintings, extremely good and something I could look at for a long time.
Then I hopped into Drury Lane Tea Shop. I’m quite a Twinings fan, and must admit that I didn’t know about Drury Lane Tea. They are quite a brand, having been around for generations, and the selection was excellent. While I knew I had just recently purchased tea from Fortnum & Mason, I couldn’t resist the Cinnamon Tea. A loose leaf tea that sounded perfect for the grey, cold mornings we have been having this week in London.
The thing I loved about the shop was the descriptions of the teas and how you should drink them. Since they are in Covent Garden and didn’t offer samples or even smelling jars, this was helpful to those who are new to the tea world. I was taken aback by the “best served without milk” description on the cinnamon tea. I asked the man working there, “So, you can’t drink milk in the cinnamon tea?” He replied, “It is recommended not to use milk in any flavoured tea. You shouldn’t.” This was puzzling to me. The word shouldn’t means that you should not... which means that an action is not to be considered. But what if I want to?
Some teas curdle the milk, and therefor I believe that the instruction would be more accurate in saying “if you put milk in this tea, it will curdle.” Or not. Ergo, this means that since there is no danger to the tea spoiling or to my health, the instruction that milk should not be added is simply a matter of taste. As you can see in my cupcake mug, I have added milk, and I can assure you that it is not curdled, nor am I in danger of killing over. It tastes delicious!