Milk down effect


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Milk down effect

Postby LawrenceLai » Aug 13th, '13, 10:17

I'm curious about the milk down effect on black tea. Why people tend to think the black tea with milk down has good quality?
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby Tead Off » Aug 13th, '13, 23:52

LawrenceLai wrote:I'm curious about the milk down effect on black tea. Why people tend to think the black tea with milk down has good quality?

This is an English style that developed in India more than a century ago. It can be very good depending on tea quality, strength, etc.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby ethan » Aug 14th, '13, 01:23

One story is that milk went into cups first to keep the hot tea from causing cracks. Good pottery wouldn't require such cooling, but the habit & taste for milk w/ tea lives on.
Spent almost all of my life drinking cheap black tea (ground tea, fannings, dust.... whatever goes into bags.
The "better" tea that I enjoy w/o milk doesn't prevent a craving for what I grew up with.
Better that most people don't start drinking mostly or only the "better" stuff.
Prices will go through the roof.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby LawrenceLai » Aug 14th, '13, 06:03

I think there is a misunderstanding here...MILK DOWN (or cream down) refers to a effect which usually happens in black tea, or some highly oxidized oolong. The surface of liquor will become turbid or jelly as if adding milk or cream after cooling down. Someone thinks it is a symbol of high quality tea.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby Tead Off » Aug 14th, '13, 12:47

LawrenceLai wrote:I think there is a misunderstanding here...MILK DOWN (or cream down) refers to a effect which usually happens in black tea, or some highly oxidized oolong. The surface of liquor will become turbid or jelly as if adding milk or cream after cooling down. Someone thinks it is a symbol of high quality tea.

I've never seen this.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby Evan Draper » Aug 14th, '13, 17:39

Are you talking about dirty bubbles?
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby gingkoseto » Aug 14th, '13, 18:23

After the clarification, I'm still not sure what the effect referred to is. If you search "creaming" in tea literature, you could find a bunch of articles talking about the creaming effect in (mostly) black tea when there is NO milk or other things added.

In Chinese tea literature, there are some research about association of creaming effect (indicating richer inner content) and the tea (mostly black tea and shu puerh) being of high quality. But in most discussions, people would point out that creaming may or may not indicate high quality and there is no absolute association.

In English-language tea literature dealing with creaming effects, most articles I've seen focus on creaming effects caused by low quality water and avoiding creaming effects for black tea (especially ice tea). In the latter case, having clear liquor (because people like it) is the main concern, and the quality of tea is not.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby Joel Byron » Aug 14th, '13, 20:09

Maybe it is caused by pectin or saponins in the tea. Any food chemists on the forum?
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby LawrenceLai » Aug 15th, '13, 09:56

@gingkoseto,

Yes, that's it. if you could read chinese, search "冷後渾". There are many disucssions about the milk down effect on black tea in whihch some assert it is the evidence of high quality tea. However, there are some other disscussion of how to eliminate the milk down effect in ice tea which is often cheap and low-qualitied. Therefore, I doubt if there is any correlation between milk down effect and the quality of tea.

About the cause of milk down effect, what I read is a chemical combination of Thearubigins &Theaflavins and Caffeine which usually accelarates in lower temperature.

I am interested in the literature which you talked about. Could you please give a reference of where or how to find them?

Best Regards,
Lawrence
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby gingkoseto » Aug 15th, '13, 22:18

Here is one example:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16190662

And there are a few other articles on PubMed about creaming, but not many.

I've seen creaming in several shu puerh and aged sheng, and they happen to be quite decent ones. But if one brews puerh very very dark, chances are at certain point there will be creaming anyway, no matter it's a good tea or not. Chinese people generally have relatively positive opinions about creaming. But usually a good tea will show many other signs, so creaming might not be a definite factor that links to quality.
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Re: Milk down effect

Postby LawrenceLai » Aug 15th, '13, 22:39

Thank you very much for sharing! My thought is in line with yours. Milk down (cream down) or not does not really matter in terms of tea quality. (However, how to define the quality of tea is another question) Just want to clarify one thing, old school Taiwanese tea people (incl. Chinese I guess) do not think tea with milk down (cream down) effect more superior than others. What they prefer is more like a tea with clean and crystal liquor. But, recently, there are some people assert that tea with cream down is better in quality. I asked them about how is it to affect the tea aroma/flavor. but there was no reply....
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