There is nothing good or bad morally about drinking tea with or without milk unless you happen to believe that God invented cows especially for the purpose. It is just a matter of personal taste and what you have been brought up with which determines whether you will prefer to use milk or not. There are some historical factors which are very important in where you stand on this matter. Some of them are:
Mongolians drank tea with milk. Chinese did not. The simple fact is that China was never traditionally a country where cows grazed in vast numbers.
Milk was available in England in the countryside and it was common to drink Chinese black tea with milk even before Indian tea arrived in the 1840s. The opening of the London model dairy in 1855 meant that tea with milk could be easily drunk in London from that time and the habit spread. Previously it had been quite common to drink tea with hot or cold cream. When the small leaf black teas arrived in England and Ireland at the end of the 19th century they were brewed following the same idiotic advice that was given with large leaf teas to brew for 3 to 5 minutes. Of course the result was strong and bitter and required milk and sugar to be palatable. If the tea gurus of the day had stopped to think about the problem they would have recommended a much shorter brewing time.
All the British Commonwealth countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa were brought up with Ceylon and Indian black tea which was bitter. Milk and sugar made it a much more pleasant drink. Even Hong Kong drinks tea with milk and sugar and I have even been to a contest in Hong Kong where contestants vied to make the best milk tea. It is starting to become common even through China.
The United States was kept out of the Black tea market to a large extent and like Europe drank mainly Chinese and Japanese teas which traditionally were not drunk with milk. The habit of drinking tea without milk in the United States stems from these early days. Europe traditionally also drank tea without milk and this is why most of the tea there is a large leaf and weak in flavor.
[bctt tweet=”Of course the result was strong and bitter and required milk and sugar to be palatable. “]
There has probably been more rubbish written about whether the milk should be put into the cup first before the tea or after the tea than any other tea question. It would be a brave person who would bet money that they can detect whether the milk has put been put in first or last in spite of university research determining which is preferable. The theory that the milk boils does not appear to make the tea different in practice.
Research discussing milk with coffee has determined that the milk lines the stomach and slows the absorption of caffeine. There seems little doubt that milk with tea would have the same properties.
Basically it comes down to where you were born and the customs in the house that you were brought up with which determine whether you will have milk with your tea or not. Chinese typically do not drink green tea in any variety with milk although there seems to be no reason not to. I am pretty sure that I have seen ice tea drinks made from green tea with milk and sugar in supermarkets.
[bctt tweet=” It would be a brave person who would bet money that they can detect whether the milk has put been put in first or last in spite of university research determining which is preferable.”]
If tea can be served iced with milk then there would appear to be no reasons why the same drink could not be served hot except custom. Herein lies the problem. Most of the people who are giving advice on how to drink tea are purists and somehow think that there are divine qualities to be ingested by following tradition and that the product will be spoiled if you actually make it more enjoyable to drink. My advice is to make it the way you like and drink it the way you like. I have never seen a recipe for Darjeeling tea which gave any advice except to brew large leaf tea for five or six minutes and to drink it without milk. I can assure you from personal experience that by using Darjeeling fannings and dust and brewing for 30 seconds it is absolutely delicious with milk and sugar. Enjoy.