The use of milk and sugar in tea
Sugar played an important part in the tea culture here in England and Holland.
The Dutch in the 17th century would either nibble a lump of loaf sugar or stir powdered sugar with their tea. Tea tables were provided with ‘bite and stir’ boxes, one filled with lump sugar and the other powdered, and an Ooma or sifter filled with cinnamon or sugar.
Sugar was used to correct any bitterness in the beverage and many in England soon became accustomed to tea, as well as coffee with its use.
Fortunately, supplies of sugar were available from the west indies and supplies were landed predominantly in Bristol and Liverpool.
The use of milk in tea was noted for the first time at a banquet given in Canton in Holland in 1655. As coffee was served with milk in English coffee shops, they thought it would be nice to do the same with tea. The milk, put in first, was also used to protect the cups in chinaware against the high temperature of the tea.