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20th May 2021

Over a quarter of Brits think milk first makes the best cuppa

Danny Jones

Milk first is widely considered a cardinal sin. Turns out 27% of you are going to hell

In a shocking turn of events a quarter of Brits think that milk first makes for the best brew—and now we’re off to question the meaning of life full stop, thanks for reading!

No, but seriously, that’s the word according to research from INTU Boiling Water Taps.

Professor Alan Mackie from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds University said that in hard-water areas, putting milk in your tea first makes for better flavour.

It’s a phrase that sends literal shivers down the spines of many and, to be honest, you only need to look at the colour of his poor excuse for a cuppa to question the findings.

Scientist says milk first in tea is better in hard water areas

Moreover, it seems like plenty of Brits can’t be trusted either, as further findings from the tap company’s study surrounding the milk-or-water-first debate – have revealed that 27% of you actually prefer to put milk in first, science or not.

While we take some solace in the fact that 47% of those surveyed prefer hot water first, that’s still less than half, with the remaining 26% seemingly choosing water or milk first based on what mood they’re in, the absolute psychos.

INTU’s Managing Director, Kieran Taylor-Bradshaw, said that while “[w]e understand that brewing up is a serious business for so many people in the UK […] we have been genuinely surprised to discover that as many as one in four tea drinkers favour the milk-first approach”.

He added: “we’re not here to take sides: INTU are dedicated to ensuring that Brits get instant filtered hot water for the perfect cup of tea, whether you put milk in first or last”.

Builder enjoying his brew

The work done by INTU, Leeds Uni and Professor Mackie was intended to help improve the plight of more than 60% of Britons whose brews are blighted by hard water. There are enough problems in everyday life without having to worry about the taste of your tea as well. Our hearts go out to you.

To reiterate the science behind it for those to whom it applies, the professor explained how milk first works for some: “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 taste you get in hard water areas.

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

He ultimately went on to drop the bombshell that “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.”

But don’t let that make you think you get off scot-free, people! This method is only relevant to those who live in hard water areas, remember, and even that can be measured to varying degrees. We’re still never going to be able to, in good conscience, watch someone butcher a brew by pouring in the milk first, it just doesn’t look right!

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