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06th Apr 2021

Scientist claims adding milk before water improves the flavour of your tea

Charlie Herbert

Nice to know that some scientists have still got free time on their hands

Professor Alan Mackie, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds University, seems to have taken a swipe at the very foundations of our country. Professor Mackie has suggested that you may need to add the milk to your tea first in order to make the best cuppa.

It’s all down to whether or not you live in a hard water area. If you do, you need to be putting the milk in before the water to get maximum taste from your tea.

The professor says: “Flavour by and large is produced by the different compounds in tea including tannins in particular.

“The more minerals present in water the more difficult it is for these compounds to develop the flavour – resulting in the dull cuppas you get in hard water areas.

“Making tea the traditional way – steeping a bag in hot water before removing it and adding milk – results in the tannins turning into solids before they can develop the flavour properly.

“But, if the milk is added at the start of the steeping process then its proteins can bind to the tannins and other minerals in the water -preventing them from turning solid – which in turn gives you a far superior flavour.”

The research was carried out by hot tap manufacturer INTU Boiling Water Taps. Their managing director Kieran Taylor-Bradshaw said: “A decent cuppa brings joy and brightens the day, but for too many it remains a distant dream, with hard water to blame.

“But by enlisting the services of the nation’s foremost food scientist, at INTU we’re delighted to be able to bring an end to the misery that blights millions of lives.

“With more than three decades at the forefront of his field, Professor Mackie has an unrivalled understanding of the complex interplay of compounds that goes into producing flavour.”

Of course whether or not you choose to take on board this information is completely up to you. But if you are reading this in the Midlands, Norfolk, Lincoln, the West Country and basically anywhere in between these places, then be warned, you’re in a hard water area! So change your habits, and get that milk in the cup first, let those milk proteins bind to the tannins, and enjoy a stunning cuppa.

Or don’t notice the difference and get on with your life.