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National Tea Day

For those of you travelling to the UK (which of course is no one) it’s National Tea Day today.

You will be offered a cuppa at some point in your visit. You will accept.

Fresh water is boiled in a kettle.

A teapot is scalded with the aforementioned boiling water.

Tea is added to a pot. Loose or bagged.

Five minutes will elapse while it brews.


Add a dash, smidgen or splash of milk to a mug/cup (yes the milk goes in first there is no debate about this all other views are wrong).

Pour on tea. Add sugar if you want to spoil the taste and get diabetes.

Drink with pleasure.

You will return home having experienced life like a local.

Posted by
3899 posts

I don't do the teapot scalding, but I def put my milk in the mug first and steep for 5 min and boil water in a kettle (NOT the microwave!)

And I do want diabetes - I've tried no sugar and just can't do it. I've been told by a Scotsman than my ratio of tea to milk is fine (it's the colour of For anyone who isn't familiar with that, just google He Man tea colour).

I almost always have a cuppa after supper, but tonight I shall remove one of my last precious Fortnum and Mason teas that I got last year in London and was hoping to replace next month, but alas, I will have to use them sparingly until such time as we can get back.

Posted by
3469 posts

Having tea right now, same as every morning, didn't realize it was a special day for tea.

Sugar does not give you diabetes. I know this is a humorous posting, but diabetes is not a joke.

Posted by
2102 posts

My Son-in-law is Chinese, so his father is teaching me the fine art of tea brewing and drinking. I have so many different, interesting teas. I will have a cuppa today, and raise my mug to everyone staying safe. PS our trip to London was to begin next Monday.

Posted by
10049 posts

Milk goes in last. How do you know how much milk to put in if you don't know how strong the tea is? (This was taught to me by a British friend.) And I like strong tea.

If you are making tea for yourself and using the same brand of tea with the same amount of water and the same brewing time I guess you might know, basically, how strong the tea is and can then add milk first.

I've been given tea where the milk was added first and it tasted like milky water. No tea flavor at all.

All this talk of tea has put me in the mood for a cuppa.

Posted by
1246 posts

If you're making tea in a mug with a teabag, then the milk goes in last. This is so the tea properly brews with the boiling water - adding the milk first would lower the water temperature and impair the taste.

If you're pouring from a teapot, so the tea has already brewed, that doesn't matter and adding the milk first is correct.

And before anyone asks - it is scone (pronounced to rhyme with gone), cream, then jam. The Cornish are wrong.

Posted by
26060 posts


No way.

Jam first then clotted cream. Everybody else is wrong.

Posted by
26060 posts

And it rhymes with moan. Everybody else is wrong.

Posted by
26060 posts

Agreed on the tea. Milk first with tea from a pot, milk last with a bag in a mug.

Unless you work on the railway and drink coffee out of a flask the way I did, where the milk and the coffee are together swilling around the hopefully not leaking flask before you leave the house.

Posted by
4411 posts

Jam goes on the scone (rhyme with gone) first as it is the denser of the two toppings and therefore spreading cream on to jam (of which there is a larger ratio of cream to jam) means that it spreads easier. To spread jam on to cream means that the cream is squashed and likely to spill out.

Milk should never go first, you need to know how strong the tea is before you add milk and if using a teabag, don't squeeze it as it releases too many tannins that make the tea bitter.

Posted by
1173 posts

Milk should go in first. Why you ask. When using very thin and fine china tea cups, ( not mugs), people do not want to crack the tea cup with the boiling hot water, so they put the milk in first. Then add the boiling water.

If using a mug that can sustain the heat of the boiling water, you then add the milk afterwards.

There is no right or wrong way, but they only add the milk first because they don't want to crack the tea cup made of fine china.

Posted by
746 posts

Milk last in tea. If it was good enough for the Queen Mum, it’s good enough for me.

Scones - pronounce how you like, nobody cares. Unless it’s a particularly rotten scone. Then pronounce scone = gone, as it will add gravitas to any complaint. Never order the cheese scone. 98% of the time they’re never available so you’ll save time and avoid angst. Fruit or plain scone: Jam first, cream last. Cuts the possibility of you wearing it as opposed to eating it down considerably.

I have years of practice behind me, and feel I know whereof I speak!


Posted by
406 posts

Thank you all; this has been very informative! We were supposed to have been in London this week, but, well.... you know.....

So maybe on this dreary, cold, rainy day (hey, maybe we're in England after all, ha!), we'll bake some scones, brew some proper tea, and celebrate National Tea Day.

Thanks for the procedural tips!

Posted by
1144 posts

My Welsh grandmother was an expert tea maker. She was thrice removed from Oscar Wilde and many times more removed from the immortal emperor and herbalist, Shennong.

Five minutes steeping time is incorrect. It is a minimum of seven minutes, maximum of seven minutes and twenty seven seconds (I’m a seven minutes and seventeen seconds man myself). Seven is very important in tea making, the union of yin, yang and the five elements in Confucianism.

I’ll give you another (PG) tip. Do not overboil the water. For optimum results, water requires a certain amount of oxygen to bring out the best flavours in tea.

Posted by
6076 posts

I've never understood drinking tea with milk. Is this the most common way its done in the UK? Two great things to drink separately - no reason to mix. Kind of like milk and Pepsi (from an old US TV series).

Posted by
7623 posts

Yeah, its a new day

Now we can get back to having a double espresso-straight. The proper way to start the day.
And in the afternoon its a martini.

Posted by
412 posts

A topic that as an avid tea drinker I can totally get behind! I start every day with a large mug of Assam with a splash of milk. Now that, like I'm sure the vast majority of everyone else posting here, I am at home nearly all the time, I'm also free to brew Ceylon teas like Kenilworth in the afternoon for a bit of a tea break.

I think tea and milk really is dependent on the type of tea. I really prefer Assam, which is my preferred morning tea as it's strong and malty, with a splash of milk. (It's also a little bit circular -- I use loose leaves so I make it very strong so that when diluted with milk it is to my preferred taste and consistency. If I didn't have milk I probably wouldn't brew it as strong.)

On the other hand, I am also of Chinese/Taiwanese heritage and the types of teas (oolong, many greens, pu'er) that come from that part of my life I would never drink with milk, with the exception of Hong Kong/Taiwanese-style milk tea. (But even then the "milk" tends to be evaporated or condensed milk, not a splash of liquid milk as in the British/Irish/Western tradition.)

Posted by
5701 posts

A dash of milk in my coffee, never in my tea.

I’m sojourning with Earl Grey at the moment as day begins on the Left Coast of the USA!

Drinking it from a lovely mug gifted to me which has hand drawn pics of Westminster Abbey, the City Sark, Elizabeth’s Tower, a black cab, the iconic Underground sign, Nelson’s Column, a red double decker bus, the Union Jack, St Paul’s and the London Eye.

Sorry I missed National Tea Day.

National Tea Day - should be international tea day! There are so many teas. I find tea has many variations. Hot or cold, plain, adding some type of sugar (white granular, raw turbinado, honey), milk. So for me, it's a matter of the correct add-on for a particular tea. Kind of like matching wine to food. Chamomile - hot, plain or with wildflower honey. Any "Breakfast" tea - before 3 pm, hot, plain or with white sugar and/or milk. Same for Chai. Etc.. Then, there's Ice Tea.

I saw a video once by Fortnum and Mason explaining the matter of milk first in the cup or after the tea. It was related to the quality of the ceramic cup and how well the ceramic handled a sudden temperature change without cracking.

Thanks for the fun thread!
A medical tip using tea: if you are bleeding and don't have a band-aid, you can apply a dampened tea bag on the wound. The tannins help stop the bleeding. (Better with "black" teas like English/Irish breakfast tea. Or, the American standard - Lipton.)

Posted by
3469 posts

How to make a single mug of tea when a pot would be too much:

Since this is from an Englishman who drinks more tea than anyone I have ever known and can tell if the tea was made in the mug or in a pot (he really can!), I would take his advice on this topic.

Happy tea day.

Posted by
94 posts

Thanks ramblin' on for this post.
I always thought tea should black unless it was Indian spiced chai which I love . Then I ordered English Breakfast tea at a cafe once in London and it was served to me with milk already in it. I loved it and now my afternoon cuppa is always with milk. I must admit I do like Earl Grey black.
As for scones: Nigel, I agree with you about the pronunciation. Here in California that is the only way I know how to say it although scones here are not like in the UK. They tend to be more cake like and sweet and never served with clotted cream.

My daughter turned me onto scones in the UK and there is no turning back. We often fly in and or out of London and our arrival protocol is to check into the hotel or drop our bags and then find a place for tea and scones. Then a brisk walk and all is well for a few hours. I have always put the cream on first and then the jam as JC says but to be unbiassed and open minded I will try jam first and then cream next trip when we can travel again. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Posted by
10049 posts

I could go for a nice Cream Tea right now. What a great way to spend a sunny afternoon during the lockdown.

Posted by
4411 posts

I have always put the cream on first and then the jam as JC says but to be unbiassed and open minded I will try jam first and then cream next trip when we can travel again.

No, no, no MA Traveller! I said always put the jam on first as it's the denser of the two toppings. Trying to spread jam onto cream, even the thickest of clotted cream will result in squashing the cream off the scone.

Posted by
1063 posts

"What if you mix the jam and cream together before spreading on the scone?"

You get deported immediately. 😁

Posted by
94 posts

I have always put the cream on first and then the jam as JC says but to be unbiassed and open minded I will try jam first and then cream next trip when we can travel again.

No, no, no MA Traveller! I said always put the jam on first as it's
the denser of the two toppings. Trying to spread jam onto cream, even
the thickest of clotted cream will result in squashing the cream off
the scone

JC Sorry I made a typo . I meant to say as Nigel says. You were and are quite clear . To be open minded , I will try it your way, jam first and then cream next time. and see how that goes for me. Something to look forward to !

I may be open minded here but even that has limits. No way am I going to mix them and subject myself to banishment.😂


Posted by
576 posts

Some of us put butter on first, then jam, and then cream. But then my wife says I shouldn't put butter on lardy cake.

I think both Julia Child's and Paula Deen would appreciate your "butter" approach.
Sounds scrumptious to me! (For me, the scone would have to be warm for the thin layer of butter to melt into it.)