Inspired by a customer commenting that she added milk to her herbal tea, and it not being something any of us at Mama Tea have done, we thought we would dig a little deeper into it and find out if it was more popular than we realised. From experience, we know it is common in South Africa to drink rooibos tea with milk and/or sugar or honey in much the same way as many of us drink black tea here in the UK. Early European settlers in the Cape area of South Africa, where rooibos is grown, could not afford to import black tea so they drank rooibos tea as a replacement, it would seem fair to speculate that they served the rooibos tea as they would black tea, adding milk, and hence this tradition continues on to the present day.
We’ve not tried it, but from what we remember of our chemistry lessons from school, we suspect adding milk to teas with citrus, e.g.lemon or orange, in them will result in curdled milk. This drinks guide suggests warming the milk, before attempting to add it to citrus teas, to prevent curdling. Researching online it appears that the herbal teas that people commonly add milk to are chamomile and mint, there are also people debating the rights and wrongs of adding milk to green tea too; some saying it lessens the health benefits and anti-oxidant levels if milk is added. Chamomile and mint are both herbs commonly used to make hot milk drinks, sometimes called milk teas, so maybe there is a link between these and adding milk to herbal tea.
Ultimately it is down to personal taste and preference, at the end of the day it is your cup of tea to enjoy. We would love to hear about any of your tea drinking habits and preferences that may not be regarded as the norm.