Royal butler reveals the Queen's favourite tea – and whether she pours the milk in first

How do you take your tea?

Chloe Best

It's a debate that tea lovers could have for hours – do you pour the milk in first, or the tea? The Queen's royal butler has revealed Her Majesty's favourite tea and how she likes to take it. Drumroll please… the monarch is a fan of Assam and Earl Grey, and will always pour the tea in first if she's taking milk. Butler Grant Harrold shared an insight into the Queen's habits as he spoke about British etiquette in BBC Three comedy show Miss Holland, which aired last year.

The decision to pour milk or tea first is said to be related to class, as opposed to the cream or jam first debate for scones, which typically differs by region. Grant said that since the 18th century, the "proper" way of brewing tea has been to serve tea before milk, and this is something that the British royals adhere to.


The Queen's royal butler has revealed she always pours tea before milk

The tradition began when potter Josiah Spode created bone china teacups. The expensive and high-quality china became increasingly popular as it didn't crack when it was filled with boiling hot tea. However, those who couldn't afford bone china continued to pour milk into their teacup first, meaning the tea or milk first debate quickly became a status issue.

STORY: Jam or cream first on a scone? This is what the royals do...

Speaking about the Queen's favourite tea, Grant explained: "I am sure the Queen enjoys her Assam or her Earl Grey the traditional way, made with tea leaves in a teapot and poured into a fine bone china teacup. She will also use a strainer. It is also a myth that members of Royalty use their pinky when drinking, I have never seen that happen once."


Grant Harrold appeared on BBC Three show Miss Holland

The butler also revealed the steps to prepare a royal cup of tea; pour the tea into the cup from a teapot, add milk to the cup after the tea and never before, stir back and forth (never use a circular motion and never touch the sides). Lastly, you should always sip from the cup and never slurp.

MORE: The royal family must follow this rule at the dinner table

It was also revealed last year how Her Majesty enjoys cream tea, after the age-old debate of whether you should add jam or cream first to your scone resurfaced. Former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen and Princess Diana, wrote on Twitter: "Jam first or clotted cream first? Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties!"

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