Salt and hot milk in tea? An American chemist's recommendations on the best way to make tea have caused a stir in the UK, even among the government, in this country where the drink is more than an institution.
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In an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Michelle Francl, a professor at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, explains that adding salt to over-infused tea helps “soften the perception of bitterness.”
“I've gotten into the habit of adding just a small pinch of tea, and it really helps,” adds the author of “Steeped: The chemistry of Tea,” published Wednesday.
She also suggests adding lukewarm milk to tea – while Brits only pour it cold – or even preheating the cup or teapot to increase the amount of caffeine and antioxidants in the drink.
This direct attack on one of the most deeply rooted traditions of British culture sparked passionate discussions, including the American embassy in London.
“We cannot remain silent in the face of such scandalous proposals that threaten the foundations of our special relationship with the United Kingdom,” she responded in a press release, reiterating that adding salt to tea “is not official policy of the United States and the United Kingdom .” will never be.
But the embassy mischievously adds that it will “continue to prepare the tea properly: by heating it in the microwave,” a heresy for the British.
Amid the outcry, the British government's Cabinet Office, which coordinates ministers' activities, posted a denial on X (formerly Twitter).
“We value our special relationship but express our complete disagreement. “You can only make tea in a teapot,” he asserts energetically.