New to veganism? The tea world has just become your (plant-based) oyster! November marks World Vegan Month and this post is inspired by a number of tea drinking friends who have embraced a plant-based diet or have eliminated dairy.
Not keen on sloshing a plant-based alternative into their tea, many people in our experience, switch to coffee-based drinks for their caffeine fix. However, not all tea is made equally - or has to be of the Builders' Brew ilk - and many traditions and cultures have always gone without milk to truly enjoy the most exquisite, delicious and delicate teas, including black teas.
So why the British obsession with adding milk? When tea became popular in England in 1660’s we did not add milk to our tea, instead enjoying an oriental style of tea ceremony. However, in the seventeenth century milk or cream was being used as a sweetener to the slightly bitter taste of some teas. This practice was thought to have been introduced after a Dutch traveller, Jean Nieuhoff, wrote in 1655 that he had experienced tea with milk at a banquet held by the Chinese emperor.
The later invention of bone China - so fine that you could see your fingers through it - is said to have played a role in putting milk in the cup first, a necessity so the delicate fine China would not crack from the heat of the boiling water.
However, the rest of world seems to be split when it comes to the habits of adding milk with countries such as Morocco, Russia, Turkey, South Africa or Iran’s Persian-tea, preferring it without. The younger generation here seem to be following suit in recent years too with a big decline in 16-34 year olds drinking standard, dusty black tea.
That's where speciality tea like ours comes in for anyone skipping the milk; all of our teas with the exception of our Builders' Brew are whole leaf, offering a huge complexity of flavour, even within our black tea selection. However, if you're feeling more adventurous, why not explore the world of milk-free tea further with our green teas, oolong teas, white teas or botanical infusions? Our loose leaf tea selection boxes are also a great place to start!