(WYTV) – What drink warms you up on a chilly day? For some, it’s a piping hot cup of tea with milk. Why put milk in tea?

It’s a very British custom and it has nothing to with the taste. The Brits’ habit of putting milk in tea goes all the way back to the 1700s, from the time when people brewed all their tea in pots.

Tea became a big deal and most people tended to drink it out of china cups, but unless it was fancy fine bone china, the cups would often crack from the heat of the boiling hot tea. The solution was to pour milk into the cup first, then add the tea.

The cold milk cooled down the tea enough to keep the china from breaking, and it did reduce some of the tea’s bitterness.

Tea was valuable so poorer families would use a lot of milk and a splash of tea. Wealthier families a splash of milk, then lots of tea.

Putting the milk in first then adding the tea brings the milk up to the temperature of the tea, distributing the flavor more evenly.

But if you add milk to tea, you’re cooling the tea down, and it may not taste as good.