Wondering if you should add milk to your cup of green tea ? I did, and I actually added some milk, to an oolong no less. It was... not what I expected, or even looked for. Let me explain.
So can you add milk to green tea ?
Yes, you can add milk to green tea but it would be a very bad idea. The caseins in dairy milk will react negatively with the flavanols in green tea, and you will end up with an unpleasant taste.
Dairy milk, whether it's cow or goat or another animal's both dampens the green tea's health benefits, and also ruins the original grassy taste of green tea.
There are matcha lattes, yes, but there the whole process of steeping the tea is very different. The nutrients found in green tea aren't released the same way as with brewed green tea.
As such, the taste is not terrible and it's actually nowhere near what actual matcha both tastes like and is meant to be enjoyed as. So no, neither matcha nor regular green tea go with milk.
Two reasons milk doesn't go with green tea
There are two perfectly good reasons not to add milk to your green tea. That being said, I can't stop you from doing that, can I ? Still, the very nature of green tea is meant to be enjoyed as-is. No sugar or other flavorings, if possible.
I for one can't really stand a pure green tea without at least a little lemon or jasmine added. But it's not milk, and a simple flavor doesn't hurt the overall taste or effect of the green tea.
Milk on the other hand has a completely different structure than brewed tea, and it doesn't go with any other tea than a black or rooibos.
Along with added sugars and extra flavorings, we can stray very far from the original taste and meaning of green tea.
At least once, if you haven't until now, order a simple green tea from a Japanese restaurant, and sip it as it is. It might be bitter, yes, and it might not look completely green either.
But it's still the way green tea is mean to be. And if you're unhappy with the taste after sampling it on its own, then feel free to get yourself whatever flavor you want for it.
There are many herbs and spices to use when trying to make green tea better tasting, none of which are milk.
But for now, let's see why dairy milk doesn't go with green tea.
First, the proteins in milk dampen the green tea's health benefits
The way milk is structured makes it so the proteins and fats bind onto the flavanols of the tea. This makes the health benefits less pronounced. They won't go away completely, but they'll be weaker.
This happens no matter what kind of dairy you use, be it cow's milk, or goat, or sheep, or donkey, or any other animal for that matter. The fats and proteins in the animal milk will interfere with the antioxidants.
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Second, green tea is astringent and grassy which does not go with milk
The second reason has to do with the very taste of milk. This means that a very grassy, almost sour kind of taste won't ever go well with something like milk.
The flavor of green tea is meant to be enjoyed as-is, with no sugar or flavors added. Many people don't really like green tea on its own, and I can see that. I drink my green tea with a few herbs or fruits mixed into it as well.
But milk really is a bad idea, and can even pronounce the laxative effects of green tea. As you know, both green and black tea, but mostly green tea, can send you straight to the bathroom. An abundance of milk in such a drink will only make that effect worse.
Consider changing your green tea
In case you're not okay with the flavor of pure green tea (no worries, you're not alone), there are many other green tea blends available.
If you want to pair green tea with any kind of flavor, go with a sweet, fruity flavor. Even a flowery green tea will work great here. I have both a flowery (green tea, cornflower, sunflower, rose petal) and a fruity(pineapple, mango, papaya) green tea.
I honestly love both but if I were to pick a definite winner, it'd be the fruity green tea. There's something about the pineapple that makes everything right. I think many yellow and orange fruits do this, like passion fruit or lemon or even peach.
There are flavors which are very hard to mix with green tea, like vanilla or caramel or almond for example. These flavors go remarkably well with black tea, though.
So if you're looking for an alternative to a simple green tea, you can get yourself a green fruity tea, or a green flowery tea. Both are great options.
A third option, if you still want to enjoy a milky blend of green tea, is a milky oolong. An oolong tea is a green tea that was processed in such as way as to give it a bit of a smoky flavor, and some varieties of oolong are made of green tea that naturally has a milky taste.
I know, I was confused at first when I first found a milky oolong. As in, you're not supposed to add milk to green tea, but here's a milky green tea ? Well, yes apparently. And it's so good, especially since it's a very delicate tea.
For example this milky oolong is meant to be enjoyed as-is, so do not be tempted to add milk into a cup of this tea. When I read the label and it said milky, I half-hoped it would take quite well to milk. It didn't.
So please enjoy this fine tea on its own, because the taste is amazing anyway. It's going to smell like sweet butter, and that's part of its charm. It can be a bit disorienting at first, but I'm sure you'll fall in love with the taste.
In any case, it's a much better alternative or compromise between adding milk to green tea, or having green tea on its own.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
A few alternatives to regular milk for your green tea
If you're still going to add milk to your green tea, to mask the bitterness, then there are a few alternatives you can use. As in, non-dairy milk. Here the list is endless. Basically any plant or nut based milk will do.
A few ideas that immediately spring to mind are:
Almond milk. It's got that slightly earthy tone to it, and it might just add a pleasant aroma to your green tea. If you get the sweetened kind please remember to not add any more sugar. Green tea isn't a sweet drink on its own.
Rice milk. This I've noticed has a slightly salty note to it, along with a hint of umami. It feels like the best possible companion to an astringent tea, if there ever was one in terms of milk. This one I would recommend you make sure you get unsweetened.
Cashew milk. Creamy, nutty, and not always easy to come by. It would be just as good in a green tea as the rice milk, but maybe this one is not for everyone, seeing as cashews can be an allergen to many people. Still, it's worth trying if you're meaning to add milk to your green tea.
If you're looking to get a creamer or another form of milk to make steamed milk out of non-dairy, then your best bet would be to look to soy or cashew based products. Those are the most common ingredients for vegan dairy replacements, and that's where you'll find there products in the supermarket too.
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Green tea really is a delicate tea, and doesn't take well to just any flavoring or syrup or milk or sugar.
For the most part, it's meant to be enjoyed on its own. What is was in the beginning when it was first developed, and what it's brewed as now are still very similar teas.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?