The history of tea with milk
If you are British, you might wonder what tea without milk is since you have been drinking the delicious combination of milk with tea since the 16th century. However, it was not the Brits that merged the two ingredients to create the delightful brew. History shows that the Tibetians have added butter to their tea since before the 10th century; and in India, milk has been an integral part of masala chai for centuries. It wasn’t until 1680, when Madame de la Sabliere, a significant figure in French society, introduced tea with milk in her famous Paris salon, that the combination caught on.
One reason that milk was added to tea was a practical one. Tea was generally served in delicate porcelain cups, which tended to crack due to the high temperature of the boiling liquid. By adding a splash of milk, the temperature of the tea cooled, and the fine china was protected from cracks so that it could be used functionally and displayed decoratively.
Another reason milk was added was to balance the natural bitterness of the tea, giving it a smoother and more well-rounded flavor. Black tea specifically contains oxalic acid, which can disrupt the body’s calcium flow, so adding milk to black tea helps counter this reaction. And let’s not forget that until the 19th century, tea was considered a luxury item that only the wealthy could afford. By splashing some milk into a cup of lower quality tea that the working-class could afford, that bitter or weaker drink became more palpable.
How to add milk to tea?
There are two opinions on the proper way to make the perfect milk tea. The most popular method is to brew your tea in hot water, remove the leaves or tea bag, and add the type and amount of milk according to the drinker’s preference. The other way (and the more scientific way) is to add the milk first! The reason is simple. When warmed unevenly, the proteins in the milk denature, which besides causing a change of taste, also causes the proteins to cluster (appearing as clotted white dots or a thin filmy layer in your tea).
Boba milk/bubble milk tea
Not all milk tea is served hot. For the last couple of decades, boba or bubble tea, which originated in Taiwan, has gained popularity in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Boba tea, bubble tea, or pearl milk tea are all essentially different names for the same thing. In the most basic form, the drink consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls that are all shaken together like a martini and served with a fat straw that allows your sip to include those tasty tapioca pearls that cluster at the bottom of the cup.
What are tapioca pearls?
Tapioca pearls got their name from the tapioca starch, which is an extract of the South American cassava plant. Taiwan got this plan from Brazil via Southeast Asia during Japanese rule between 1895 and 1945. Tapioca pearls are white, hard, and tasteless. However, once boiled inside huge, bubbling vats and seeped in sugary caramelized syrup for hours, they transform into the black, chewy tapioca pearls which are taking the world by storm.
There are a few possibilities regarding who started the tapioca-in-tea trend and why the sweet dessert pearls were added to cold milky tea. However, everyone seems to agree that the name “boba” is in reference to the 1980s Hong Kong sex symbol Amy Yip, whose nickname, “Boba,” is also a Chinese slang term for her most famous pair of physical assets. That’s what we do here at Love Love Tea, educate (and change the way you look at boba forever).
Different types of bubble tea
As Instagram became more popular in Taiwan, the basic iced milk tea beverage has evolved into more than a drink. Yes, there will always be the classic mixture of black tea, frothed milk, crushed ice, and handfuls of marble-sized, caramelized tapioca pearls that will be many people’s go-to-brew. But for the more adventurous attention-seeking crowd, tea cafes are constantly concocting different combinations of teas, milk, flavors, and vibrant colors that will taste great but look even better on camera and your social media pages.
Pretty and delicious
Got milk tea?
Numerous studies show the health benefits of drinking tea. Whether you prefer it cold with milk and bubbles served in a trendy to-go cup or served hot in your best china with a splash of almond milk, there is a flavor that will resonate with everyone.
Check Is Tea Good For You And Learn More about Tea.