Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tea and milk

I heard an NPR story about the health benefits of tea that commented on the American habit of adding milk to tea (see NPR link here). Apparently, in the US Starbucks even has a green tea latte. The audio version of the story treats the Chinese view that one should not add milk to green tea as exotic and snobbish, the view of a purist. I've obviously been in Asia too long, because the idea of milk with green tea is an abomination to me. Yuck. But the tone of the reporter, treating this view as amusing, surprised and annoyed me. His idea that you could add milk to high quality "dragon well tea" (I kid you not--he actually said that!) made me think of the Chinese practice of adding Sprite soda to French red wines (not all Chinese; just some nouveaux riches). That practice is mocked by Americans, and yet he was not in the least self-conscious about his practice of adulterating high quality tea. I suppose a true relativist would say, "to each his own."

But don't add milk to green tea when I'm around.

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