By Dame Ursula
Nothing manages to be quite so polarizing as the addition of milk or cream to one's tea.
Are you of the opinion that the milk must be added first?
Or should the milk be the final addition to your cup?
I frequently relax by indulging in the Regency and Georgian Romance novels of Julia Quinn and Eloisa James – which ALWAYS feature at least one scene over a pot of tea – and Eloisa James' latest novel "My American Duchess" featured an excellent discourse on why each side of the Atlantic handles milk the way they do (and why the other side thinks they're wrong!)
In the novel, the American Heiress Merry is informed by the proper British Duke Trent that Americans clearly add their milk first so that the hot water "will scald the milk, rendering it drinkable despite its being less than fresh." Merry corrects him (her aunt would never serve milk that was less than fresh) and informs him that putting the milk in first is correct because " it tastes better" and notes that the British pour their tea in first NOT because of taste, but because it demonstrates that they can afford higher quality porcelain for their tea cups, as lower quality cups would shatter from the temperature of the beverage!
(All paraphrasing is mine, the story and situation are the property of "My American Duchess" by Eloisa James – which is wonderful and you should read it)
So which side do you fall on?
I tend to put my milk in last, so I can judge how much I need based on how strongly my tea has brewed.
I also tend to only put milk into a heavy black tea like Awaken. Lighter blacks like Count Cisco and Dame Ursula just don't need it in my opinion.