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  • Writer's picturepgracemiles

No. 96 Are You TIF or MIF?

I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking/I bring you to my house as a friend in my kitchen/ You offer to make the tea/ Naturally I say yes/You’re my guest, so I take the offer gratefully/ But then what I see makes my heart burst/You’ve only gone and put the fucking milk in first!/ (Oh my God)/ (The fuck is wrong with you bruv?)

The tea lover debate over whether the milk goes in first or last still brims with acrimony.

Queen Elizabeth II is a TIF (tea in first).

Matt “I have firm views on tea.” Smith and Claire Foy from The Crown are TIFs.

In his famous essay on tea, George Orwell admits to being a TIF.

I am a MIF (milk in first). What gives?

According to the historian and manners expert, Alastair Bruce of Downton Abbey, the servants put the milk in first because the downstairs china was cheaper and more likely to crack if boiling water went in before the milk. I do come from a working-class heritage. Perhaps one is hardwired be a MIF. I’m three parts Irish and one part Dutch and according to the Farmer’s Almanac and a recent NYT article, the Irish do put their milk in first.

What’s unique about the way tea is served in Ireland?

The Irish are noted for drinking their tea strong and with lots of milk. Traditionally milk was poured into teacups first to prevent the hot tea from cracking fine china cups. What started as a practical method of preserving fragile cups continues to be upheld by tea experts who found that pouring milk into hot tea after it is poured alters the flavor of the tea. Thus, tea aficionados uphold the tradition of pouring milk into the cup first for quality of taste. In Gaelic, the traditional language of Ireland, a cup of tea is called “cupan tae” or “cuppa tay.”

When I switched from coffee to tea, I instinctively went MIF. What can I say? I haven’t a drop of English blood in my veins.

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