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Tea with milk please (BUT IT'S OOLONG TEA)

Tea with milk please (BUT IT'S OOLONG TEA)

Old Nov 8, 19, 3:05 pm
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Tea with milk please (BUT IT'S OOLONG TEA)

I am from the UK and i've never thought about the different types of tea. Usually it's just whatever my parents gave us, so it was mainly black tea. Tonnes of Supermarket shelves showing many different company's tea which are all the same except a small corner with a few flavoured teas.

So all my life on flights around europe i'd be like taking a tea and asking for milk.

Now my life got turned upside down when on asian airlines.

I get nervous, i'm scared to ask for milk. I rarely know what tea is coming when they go Tea or Coffee (or just tea as the other person has the coffee)

Flight 1: Between Hong Kong and Taipei

Me: "Tea please and 3 milks thanks"

FA "But it's oolong are you sure you want milk?"
Me thinking: I don't have a clue either way and most taste the same with milk anyway

Flight 2: OKAY time to change it a bit
Me "Tea with milk please"
FA "you mean you want milk tea"
I can never get it right

Flight 3: Hong Kong to Manchester (different airline)
Me: I'll have milk and whatever this guy next to me has in his cup (in a nice big cardboard cup unlike what he was going to give me)
FA: You want coffee?
Me: I'm not like i don't care if it looks tea colour or coffee colour it's ok. I'm tired of guessing if they have uk tea.
Oh wait i'm not cultured.. Well now i will learn it's called black tea but it's not black when i put milk in it so i don't think i can call it that.

I get nervous asking for tea and it makes me feel stupid when they correct me.

Should i just ask questions like what tea do you have? Is it more of a mind your own business if i want milk then please just allow me to have it.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by SQ9VSWU View Post
I am from the UK
Oh we got that!
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Old Nov 8, 19, 4:38 pm
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From my experience, if you're in Southeast Asia what you want is usually called Milk Tea. So they'd use a strong, dark (black or red) tea to mix. Don't worry though, tea can be very confusing when you get exposed to the hundreds of varieties available. Don't get nervous, you're not stupid just maybe naive to Asian tea culture. I'm still pretty naive also, I just know what I like and that's a strong red or black tea, perhaps some breakfast blend, with no milk and some sweetener.

I'm a tea drinker from the US, I switched from coffee about 10 years ago. The supermarket selection in the US is probably similar if a little smaller than in the UK. When most think of tea, it's usually Lipton with an occasional Twinings fan. The UK tradition is to brew a strong breakfast blend, maybe Twinings, and add milk. But there are a lot of tea varieties with a wide range of flavors and as those flavors get more subtle using milk would just not work properly.

After traveling to Asia, mostly China, for a while, I do now enjoy having a Pu Ehr, Oolong, Darjeeling, etc. but I also travel prepared with good old breakfast tea bags that I need to get me going in the morning without having to spit tea leaves out of my mouth.

So for you, I'd tell the crew either Black tea with milk or milk tea please.

The broad categories for tea are usually referred to by color, Black, Red, Yellow, White, Green.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 5:47 pm
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Please continue to follow this discussion in the FT Dining Buzz Forum
Thanks..
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Old Nov 10, 19, 9:52 am
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Ordering a coffee in a foreign coffee shop can be just as confusing. Since I’m fussy about my coffee and what goes in it, before I travel to a new part of the world (or even a not-so-new one because I’ve forgotten) I google that. Even so, there can still be confusion. Confusion is a completely normal part of travel; no need to be embarrassed. When someone questions me about my choices, I assume they’re trying to be helpful, knowing from my accent/appearance/whatever that I may not know what I’m talking about, and sometimes I don’t, despite my pre-flight research. You can bring your own tea bags, hold one up and ask for hot water and milk. There may still be confusion and who knows what will actually arrive on your tray, but it’s all part of the fun of travel.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 7:12 pm
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I was also going to mention the coffee confusion that can occur whenever one travels to a new place. In South America, it seems like every single country has a different terminology for a cup of coffee with milk in it. And don't get me started on Australia! Luckily for me, I stopped drinking caffeine in 2009 so now I don't have to concern myself with such matters
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Old Nov 11, 19, 7:35 pm
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I once asked for a latte at a Caribbean resort and was asked if I wanted it hot. It seemed like an odd question, but I said yes. The guy goes to the espresso machine and makes me a cup of steamed milk, thinking I'd asked for leche.
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Old Nov 12, 19, 5:08 am
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I enjoy all these drinks but still haven’t enjoyed boba pearls nor red beans. Those are two textural delights that I can’t appreciate!!
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Old Nov 13, 19, 3:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Low Roller View Post
I once asked for a latte at a Caribbean resort and was asked if I wanted it hot. It seemed like an odd question, but I said yes. The guy goes to the espresso machine and makes me a cup of steamed milk, thinking I'd asked for leche.
You did ask for leche. Latte means leche/milk in Italian.

A latte macchiato is leche manchado - stained/dirtied milk.

This appropriation of the Italian for milk (and cutting out the bit that describes the coffee) still sounds weird to me. I’m with Caribbean Resort chaval, it’s enough learning English without having to deal with faux Italian too.
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Old Nov 13, 19, 4:11 pm
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I have got into the habit of asking for “black tea with milk”, especially on planes and even more so in cabins where the options are limited. No questions remain at that point 😉
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Old Nov 13, 19, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
You did ask for leche. Latte means leche/milk in Italian.

A latte macchiato is leche manchado - stained/dirtied milk.

This appropriation of the Italian for milk (and cutting out the bit that describes the coffee) still sounds weird to me. I’m with Caribbean Resort chaval, it’s enough learning English without having to deal with faux Italian too.
Yeah, I learned my lesson and asked for cafe latte after that
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Old Nov 14, 19, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
I was also going to mention the coffee confusion that can occur whenever one travels to a new place. In South America, it seems like every single country has a different terminology for a cup of coffee with milk in it. And don't get me started on Australia! Luckily for me, I stopped drinking caffeine in 2009 so now I don't have to concern myself with such matters
Have to say that I get really annoyed with coffee nomenclature. There seems to be a widespread assumption that in mastering the different names for coffee in your country or community that one is worldly and international. Which is rubbish. The terms that get used are a result of whichever coffee chain from that area that gained the biggest market share as well as the highest status.
It’s the sense of superiority by those who have been indoctrinated into the local terminology that theirs is the only acceptable way to categorise coffee that annoys me. Still, it gives international businesses such as Starbucks a chokehold on their clients; they can feel worldly and cosmopolitan in Milan or Istanbul without having to figure out how the Italians or Turks take their hot drinks.

With tea, most of the names used to describe it are consistent internationally. When you learn a word for tea it’s useful everywhere and for life, it’s not some localised fad term (I’m conveniently ignoring the boba and cheese tea subset).
So Assam, Ceylon and Darjeeling or (arguably most usefully) just “Black” are pretty much all that needs to be learnt for anyone wanting British style tea with milk.

EDIT TO ADD: Some “black” teas are sometimes called “red” tea. That shouldn’t be confusing (it’s a black tea that looks red when brewed, a style of tea popular in Europe - think Lipton), unfortunately, rooibos a caffeine free tisane also gets called red tea. This is frustrating, because rooibos isn’t tea. Obviously calling it tea gives rooibos/redbush sellers a bigger market share in places such as the U.K.

Last edited by LapLap; Nov 15, 19 at 3:54 am
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Old Nov 16, 19, 4:54 am
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Have to say that I get really annoyed with coffee nomenclature. There seems to be a widespread assumption that in mastering the different names for coffee in your country or community that one is worldly and international. Which is rubbish. The terms that get used are a result of whichever coffee chain from that area that gained the biggest market share as well as the highest status.
Canada would be the exception. Mastering the term "double-double" most definitively does not make one "worldly and international."
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Old Nov 16, 19, 7:57 am
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Trying to expand my knowledge on black teas, especially into the Oolong variant, I'd conclude by finding I'm still confused, but on a higher level

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In Chinese, oolong teas are also known as
qingcha (Chinese: ; pinyin: qīngchá) or "dark green teas".
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Old Nov 16, 19, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by onobond View Post
Trying to expand my knowledge on black teas, especially into the Oolong variant, I'd conclude by finding I'm still confused, but on a higher level
Probably best not to think of Oolong as a black tea. It’s a world of its own.
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