Tea – does the milk go in first?


A chara, – Regarding Owen Dawson’s contention (An Irishman’s Diary, March 26th) that “it really makes no difference” whether milk or tea is poured into the cup first, my recently deceased grandmother (Sarah Keogh) would have vehemently disagreed. In order to avoid the accidental consumption of tea leaves, milk should always be added first, as this traps the leaves at the bottom of the cup and stops them floating.

She had considerable expertise in the subject, as someone who only ever drank “loose tea” for all of her 94 years. – Is mise,



Baile Átha Cliath 24.

Sir, – A person’s preferred tea taste is directly related to the shade produced by the mixture of tea with milk. This shade will be much more accurately and more easily achieved by gradually adding the milk to the tea – and not the other way around – until the preferred shade is reached.

My wife will attest to my expert credentials in this matter, which is why she always insists leaving tea-making to me. Or at least that’s what she says. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – People who pronounce “scone” to rhyme with “gone” understand why the milk always goes in first. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – Milk was always added to the tea until the early 1940s. In Britain, “Emergency-ware” cups cracked if the tea was poured first.

We, in Ireland, had good-quality Carrigaline ware which withstood the heat.

I remember the late Donal McCann, in a BBC TV comedy, referring to his English flatmates disparagingly as “Poor milk-in-firsts”. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.