General Question

kawaii_ninja's avatar

Does tea/coffe taste different if you add the milk before the water?

Asked by kawaii_ninja (402 points ) March 8th, 2008

I’ve only done this once and it tasted different to me somehow….Sorry for the super random question :P

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13 Answers

oneye36's avatar

I would think it would be the same but I’m a black drinker

Riser's avatar

Coffee: no
Tea: Yes

I prefer to put the milk in after the tea bag has “ripened” in the hot water. The milk cools the water down too much to enjoy the full properties of the tea.

ezraglenn's avatar

I agree with Reiser- I always wait until the tea is almost finished steeping to add milk, (if it’s black tea, milk in other teas is a nono), but if I add honey I usually just add it before.

Zaku's avatar

Seems like coffee shouldn’t generally have that issue.

Thinking like a scientist and/or obsessive person, the question doesn’t seem to make any sense unless there are other steps, because otherwise the only difference would be motion, and they all get mixed up. So, it’s the way they mix, and the order they mix in. Other steps in the reaction would include adding sugar, and the liquid touching and possibly being cooled by the cup.

Or in riser’s tea scenario, the hot water absorbing tea leaf stuff, which of course makes perfect sense because of the heat being part of that reaction.

kawaii_ninja's avatar

We are the tea enthusiasts xD

tammy444's avatar

no tea here ,just coffee and black only sorry,my hubby drinks milk and he does,nt notice any differance how or when i add the milk.

surlygirl's avatar

coffee: if you usually add the milk after the coffe, it might be slightly different. since you may tend to add more/less milk to an empty cup, your end result would not be what you are used to.

tea: i agree with riser. and i sort of go by how the tea looks and not so much how long the tea has been steeping to decide when it is “done.” if i add the milk first, it’s more difficult to tell.

surlygirl's avatar

btw, i think the super random questions lead to some of the most interesting fluthering!

steelmarket's avatar

I heard somewhere that, if the water is boiling hot, when you add the milk the first bit of the milk to hit the water is virtually boiled and so the taste is changed. Heating the milk first is supposed to eliminate this problem (but I don’t know why!).

nephrons's avatar

i usually put the water first, then the milk, seldom it happens that the milk was added first, so i never noticed..

holland2312's avatar

Well, it’s scientifically proven that adding the milk at different points changes the flavour – whether or not that’s for the better is down to personal preference i guess.

If u pour in hot tea, then add the milk, in the first portion of milk the proteins become denatured (effectively cooked – when cooking meat, eggs, or anything, all u r doing is denaturing proteins by changing their chemical structure). O.T.O.H. if u add tea to cold milk, far less proteins are denatured as none of them are in contact with boiling water at any point. Flavour is down to preference (i.e. some people want steak rare, others well-done, it depends how many proteins u want denatured!)

Another interesting (or not…?) point is if u r in a hurry and u want it at a good drinking temp, should u add the milk before or after? This time, u add it after. so u have to have a balance, do u want a quicker cuppa by adding milk after, or one with less denatured proteins?

Read Hervé This’s ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ – all sorts of good food questions. In there he states “For 200ml of boiling tea that is cooled initially with 2.5oz of room temp. milk, a comfortable drinking temp of 55oC (131oF) is obtained after about 10 minutes, but if one waits for the coffee to reach 75oC before adding milk, one obtains the same result in only four minutes. Knowing an elementary law of physics reduces the wait by more than half.”

He also goes on to explain about blowing, stirring, leaving a spoon in, putting in sugar, and what effects these have on tea and coffee.

1. Blowing is more effective than stirring “The same coffee that loses 6oC per minute when one blows on it cools down by 3.5oC when stirred. Experiment shows that a boiling liquid…cools by 11oC per minute when one stirs and blows at the same time [because the temp of liquid is uniform throughout, the surface area greater, etc etc.]”

2. “We will see the effect of a teaspoon in virtually nil: When one takes 2 cups containing coffee at an initial temp of 100oC and puts a teaspoon in one of them, the difference in temperature after ten minutes is less than 1oC. A teaspoon is not an efficient radiator, even when made of silver”

3. The effect of sugar “as predicted by Hawking is too weak to be observed.”

And so on….

elliefedor's avatar

Add milk first for coffee… the reason a lot of people don’t like coffee is because of the “Bitter” taste. actually, its not bitter… its just burnt because you added water first. you are not suppose to put boiling water on coffee. I add the milk and then mix it in a little.. then slowly add the boiling water. its also my preference to have quite a lot of milk… the result, creamy, none burnt coffee.

as for tea.. i don’t think it makes a difference to the taste =)

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