The Great British public consume 165 million cups daily, that’s a whopping 60.2 billion per year and 98 per cent of that is enjoyed with milk. Now the Queen’s royal butler has revealed how Her Majesty likes her tea – and settled the debate over whether tea or milk should be poured first.
Mr Harrold, known as “The Royal Butler,” is a former member of the Royal Household of their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and still resides on their Highgrove estate.
He is also now known as the Defender of Etiquette and Britain’s Official Etiquette Expert, both in the UK and around the world. He has spent 20 years learning and developing his passion for etiquette.
Grant Harrold shared an insight into the monarch’s tea drinking habits on a new BBC Three comedy show as he spoke about British etiquette.
The decision to pour milk or tea first is said to be related to class, as opposed to the cream or jam first debate for scones, which typically differs by region. Grant said that since the 18th century, the “proper” way of brewing tea has been to serve tea before milk, and this is something that the British royals adhere to.
The tradition began when potter Josiah Spode created bone china teacups. The expensive and high-quality china became increasingly popular as it didn’t crack when it was filled with boiling hot tea. However, those who couldn’t afford bone china continued to pour milk into their teacup first, meaning the tea or milk first debate quickly became a status issue.
Speaking about the Queen’s favourite tea, Grant explained: “I am sure the Queen enjoys her Assam or her Earl Grey the traditional way, made with tea leaves in a teapot and poured into a fine bone china teacup. She will also use a strainer. It is also a myth that members of Royalty use their pinky when drinking, I have never seen that happen once.”
The butler also revealed the steps to prepare a royal cup of tea; pour the tea into the cup from a teapot, add milk to the cup after the tea and never before, stir back and forth (never use a circular motion and never touch the sides). Lastly, you should always sip from the cup and never slurp.
Sources: Hello Magazine & Express.