The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Order Tea or Tea Order | Varsity

With a slew of formals and May Balls being organised by societies to mark the end of the academic year, you couldn’t possibly be more nervous about being judged on tea etiquette. Gowns can be rented for a special day. A white (or black) bowtie could be borrowed from that dependable friend. But what if you strike up a conversation with a Cambridge don (with possibly an OBE to boot!) at one of these events and don’t know whether to add the tea or milk infusion first to the sparkling bone-china. There ends your reputation. This question is so sensitive that celebrated English tea connoisseur (and writer) George Orwell famously described himself as a tea-before-milk person. Here we try to assuage such fears by approaching this quintessential question from the perspective of a mathematician. Does it really matter whether you add tea or milk first and can your taste buds detect such an order? 


And what should you do with the tea bag?

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In the tones of Dame Edith Evans: "a TEA baaaaaag?"

Sod the maths: the physical chemistry says milk first if you wish to reduce the staining of the china by the tea. But do you?

P.S. Who is this "Ronald Fischer" chap? Is he related at all to the very odd "Sir Fisher"?

My mathematical conclusion is that Aditya Guha is rather a chump.

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 15, 2017 5:08:05 AM