Many tea drinkers throughout the world consider milk an essential part of their tea enjoyment. Others wouldn’t let that white liquid near their teacups. To each his own. One thing is for sure: bad milk in your tea is a total bummer.
If you don’t use milk in your tea, you can stop here and go shopping or something equally fun. The rest of you need to read on.
Some of the best teas for adding milk are CTC Assams, Chinese blacks like Keemun Panda and Nine Bend Black Dragon, and even some Darjeelings such as Lover’s Leap Estate. We tried Young Pu-erh a while back and found it also took milk well (the version steeped for 10 minutes).
The other day, hubby and I had just steeped what, judging by its aroma, was a perfect pot of Borengajuli Estate Assam. I prepped my teacup with the customary amount of milk and sweetener, added in the “golden pour” from the teapot, stirred, raised cup to lips, and took a sip.
Right away, my tastebuds detected something amiss. At first, it seemed only a little “off,” and then that weird aftertaste that I can only describe as “metallic” and hubby called “yuck!” came through.
Several possibilities here: the tea, the sweetener, and/or the milk. I explored them one by one. I poured a small quantity of tea in a small cup and tasted it straight. No problem. I added a bit of sweetener to that small cup. Still fine. I got out the milk carton, which was a new one that hubby had just opened, and took a sniff. Whoa! My hypersensitive sniffer detected the beginning of milk going bad, despite the sell date stamped on it being two days in the future.
Thus began what will be known in our memories for years to come as “The Great Milk Adventure.”
Hubby dug the receipt out of a stack and headed out to the store. Meanwhile, the offending cupful with the spoilt milk in it became part of the city’s drainage system. I went back to my writing and waited. Tick…tick…tick. Soon, hubby was back with the last half gallon of whole milk in the store from which we had purchased the original milk. We opened it, I gave it the sniff test and even tasted a little in a cup. It passed with flying colors. Okay, it was safe to add in some tea and sweetener. Unfortunately, something was still wrong. That “metallic” taste was still there, but fainter. I re-sniffed the milk and even re-tasted it. Nothing wrong, but the brand was different from what we usually got. Maybe that was it. Hubby went back out to another store to get our usual brand. I waited…tick…tick…tick…and checked email, tweeted on Twitter, etc. Finally, hubby was back. (Did I mention this was Saturday morning?) He looked a bit frazzled, commenting “It was a mad house there.” I had a strong suspicion at that moment that this milk would taste just fine. At least, if it didn’t, I would be the last person to say so. I opened it, sniffed, tasted, and added some to a fresh cuppa tea with sweetener. Ah! I am very happy to say truthfully it tasted the way it should: malty, slightly caramelly, and smooth. No metallic-ness. No yuckiness. Honest. I am not saying this just because hubby is giving me that “Please don’t send me back out there!” look.
This just goes to show how important good-tasting, fresh milk is to those of you who like milk in your tea. Of course, if you’ve ever poured milk into your tea only to watch little globs form and float around on the surface of the tea, you know that “overly ripe” milk is to be avoided.
Hope this all helps in your tea adventures. Enjoy!
Stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!