The answer to this age old question is, yes and no. For the ideal cup of milk tea, the Tea has to have a certain character that will complement the milk and give the drinker the taste of Tea through the milk after infusing with it.
For this to be achieved the Tea needs to have a considerable amount of strength and flavor. As Pure Ceylon Teas are very different to one another, having being grown across the island in varied elevations, not all Ceylon Tea types have this required character ideal for milk Tea.
Milk Tea is Tea tradition that has been maintained for a considerable period of time. From the time of the British Empire during the 1700’s one of the main features on store at any High Tea event would be milk Tea. Ceylon Tea mixed with milk was a delicacy during that time. Only the privileged would be able to afford and consume milk Tea.
Ceylon Tea is grown in 7 agro climatic regions in Sri Lanka. Each region has a distinctive taste profile, aroma and Brew/cup color. The regions are segregated elevation wise. From the Ruhuna Region Teas that are grown at sea level, to the Nuwaraeliya Region Teas that are grown at the highest elevation in the Island which is over 6000 Ft from sea level.
Can you add milk to any type of Ceylon Tea?
Not to every type of Ceylon Tea.
The listing below will help one navigate through this.
- Nuwaraeliya Region Tea – Do NOT recommend to add milk
Tea produced in this region is considered to be the Champaign of Ceylon Teas. It’s a very delicate cup of tea bursting with flavor. To the eye it looks lighter and brighter than any other type of Ceylon Tea. This tea variety is better enjoyed by itself without any milk. Adding a slice of lemon, a dash of Cinnamon powder can be done for the adventurous Tea drinker. This type is ideal for Iced Tea.
- Uda Pussellawa Region – Do NOT recommend to add milk
This region is also considered a high grown / high mountain type of Ceylon Tea which is grown at an elevation of 5000-6000 ft. above sea level. Tea produced there is also delicate and light colored like the Nuwaraeliya region Teas. Tea in this region is also suitable for iced Teas.
- Dimbula Region – can be used for milk Tea and plain Tea
This region produces a type of Tea that’s in the border line between the elevation of teas that are ideal to be consumed with milk and without milk. Some Tea drinkers may enjoy this type of tea with milk while the others might enjoy it without. This type too is suitable to be used for iced Teas.
- Uva region – Better with milk tea
Tea in this region is grown in almost rainforest like surroundings with a strong character. Even after the addition of milk the Tea taste will seep through the milk infusing with it to bring out a malty and caramel note.
- Kandy Region – suitable for milk Tea
Tea growing in this region dates back to the start of Tea cultivation in the island of Ceylon. The 1st Tea plantation of commercial proportions which is the Loolacondria Estate is situated in this region. Suitable for a strong cup of iced Tea. But recommended to be consumed with milk.
- Sabaragamuwa Region – suitable for milk Tea
Tea in this region is grown just above sea level and is stronger than most Ceylon Teas. This variety of Ceylon Teas are suitable to be consumed with milk.
- Ruhuna Region – Better with milk tea
Grown at sea level this type of Ceylon Tea is the strongest. Due to this character adding milk will bring out a memorable cuppa.