Can You Add Milk to Green Tea? Here are the Options!

Tea Facts, Tea Other /

Now there’s a question. I used to have milk in my black tea when I was a tea bag ‘teahead!’ But that’s almost a different subject entirely when it comes to Green tea.

I answered a question similar to this on Quora recently which was concerning whether to add Milk first or after – perhaps I’ll tackle that here another day. But that led me to really want to provide some more answers to this variation on the same theme.

So Can You Add Milk to Green Tea? Yes, absolutely you can add milk to green tea. It’s largely down to preference. However, if you’re drinking green tea for the benefits, then this will likely alter some of those benefits, as well as the taste. Such as a reduction in the benefit of catechins, which are good for the heart and blood vessels.

Drinking green tea with milk can reduce (or certainly slows down) the benefits of catechins (or flavonols) because, when milk is added, this changes and inhibits the chemical makeup of the catechins, thus reducing their impact on your body.

Proteins in the milk known as caseins react with the catechins to negate their full benefits. Note I said full benefits – as there will still be some of that goodness to be had.

How Do We Know This!

Good question! Well believe it or not there have been studies done on this exact subject. (I do wonder who funds these studies sometimes!)

Nonetheless, a study HERE by one keen Doctor Hursel found that there’s evidence of the potential inhibition of milk on the effects of flavonol and their absorption into the body.

Does Green Tea Normally Have Milk in it?

The answer is no, green tea – in general, does not have milk in it. Having said that, there are some green teas that are now emerging with the addition of milk.

A couple that spring to mind are ‘Matcha Latte’, as introduced by Starbucks into their range of teas. Another potential option might be ‘Matcha Smoothies’, you can even whisk these up at home fairly easily and quickly in your blender.

It’s All About Balance

Like many things in life, it’s about getting a balance between what in your diet is good for you and what will encourage you to continue with it. That might sound confusing, let me explain a bit better.

If you decide you simply must have milk in your green tea, then darn it go ahead and have milk. If drinking green tea without milk means you won’t have green tea at all, then you’re losing out on lots of other benefits from green tea.

So, better to just put milk in it, shrug, call it a compromise, tell your friends you like it ‘different’ and gain some benefits. I would!

I should reiterate the point that the benefits of green tea overall far outweigh any bad effects of Milk. And let’s not forget that milk can also bring its own benefits to the party!

And also I should state there are absolutely no negative impacts of drinking milk with green tea. As in it doesn’t produce any bad chemical reactions, so let’s put any myths you may have heard or any concerns well and truly to bed. Nothing I’ve seen supports that.

But you just really really want milk ! …

So How Can You Compromise

The most common compromise you can make is to use better suited, healthier milk. By that, I mean choosing something like Soy milk, which has far more natural ingredients suited to green tea.

soy milk

Almond milk is also another possible substitute for cows milk that should have less restrictive effects on catechins.

This will inevitably have less impact on health benefits. Soy milk contains Lecithin, which provides a whole different structure on a molecular level to cows milk. This shouldn’t really impede the benefits of catechins at all.

Another might be more around portion size. Try adding less milk then you might do for English Breakfast for example. That way it again reduces the Milk’s impact.

“I should reiterate that the benefits of green tea overall far outweigh any effects of adding Milk”

Another option is to drink matcha over sencha. As Matcha is in powder form and includes the full tea leaves. Therefore the benefits are heavily increased. Any milk is likely to have far less impact than if you add it to loose leaf Sencha, which is simply then a steeped version of green tea.

The exception I would apply to this would be any late evening or night time drinking. Since Matcha also contains more caffeine, it will likely impact your sleep – for obvious caffeine reasons.

If you want to know more about how much caffeine is in green tea compared to other teas – and I think you’ll learn a thing or two about caffeine in tea! Then go read my article on it here.

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Final Thoughts

I would think in general, many tea sommeliers and uber-tea-heads would likely cringe at the mere thought of adding milk to a loose-leaf green tea.

I certainly wouldn’t, and I would never really want to get all high-brow about it. It’s a preference. But for many, the reason they drink green tea is for both the taste -as it comes, as well as the health benefits.

My advice would be to try a sip of the green tea first, as it is. Then, give it another taste. That’s right, not one taste, but two. For me, that’s when the taste buds really start to absorb and take in all the flavors. Allow the taste and aroma to fill the senses first – before deciding whether to add milk.

Do this each time you have a drink of green tea. I would hope that this test would be sufficient to enable you to begin to appreciate green tea as a drink all on its own.

I hope this has been useful to answer the question of whether to add milk to green tea, or perhaps what type of milk goes best with green tea and how to reduce any negative effects of milk in tea. And don’t forget to check out my Tea Sommelier Course!

Related Questions

Can You Add Cream to Green Tea? Similar to the answer regarding milk in green tea. It will reduce, or delay the effect of the absorption, and benefits that taking green tea without milk or cream would provide. Also, keep in mind it will likely increase the calorie intake of the green tea. Given that is why many take green tea this may or may not be another factor for you.

Can I Drink Milk After Drinking Green Tea? Yes, you can, however, if taken straight after or within an hour of consuming green tea, then the effects of reduced or delayed benefits of catechins – may be the same as taking it with the tea. Ideally, wait an hour after drinking green tea before consuming any milk.

Is Milk in Tea Good For Skin? One thing to keep in mind here is that whilst tea is loaded with water, and water is very good for the skin. Tea in of itself is also a diuretic. This can to some degree cancel out the effects of drinking tea despite the large water content. Yes, some fatty milk can aid toward retaining the fat content of healthy skin. But most of these effects can be canceled out.

5 Replies to “Can You Add Milk to Green Tea? Here are the Options!”

  1. I don’t typically put milk because I just want the metabolism-boosting benefits. I do however use spring water for my tea. We get it from Cedar Springs near Toronto and we love using it for tea!

  2. Thanks for the question Ed, it’s an interesting thought. I have no science I can offer, except to say that it probably depends on a number of factors such as the timing of taking each element, speed of metabolism, etc. I’m inclined to think there may be a reduction in benefits, but as long as you’re not feeling any ill effects then I wouldn’t discourage you from doing it. Perhaps someone else in the teahow community can offer another perspective?

  3. My question involves drinking green tea —AFTER having a bowl of cereal covered with milk.
    The milk is obviously in my stomach, and the tea thus mixes with the milk.
    Does this reduce the green tea benefits ????

    I drink 2-3 cups of green tea, using the same tea bag — shortly after eating my orange, then my bowl of cereal.


  5. Thanks for your informative (& amusing) discourse on the question of adding milk to green tea! I love milk in tea but don’t use it in green or herb teas. But while brewing a cup just now, I tossed the question into search on my iPad & came up with your site. Thank you for the giggle. I look forward to exploring Tea How further. Sincerely, Joan

    PS: I decided to eschew the milk

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