I realize I'm possibly about to kick off a holy war, but I really do want to test the opinions of this crew.
I do not understand the zealotry that insists that all black teas must be drunk unadulterated.
Now, understand that I rarely if ever add sweetener or other condiments to my green, white, China black, and oolong teas. I take my Tie Guan Yin, Hojicha, gunpowder green, Fujian, Keemun, etc. teas as they come out of the pot. The exception being that I will always sweeten iced green tea with orange-blossom honey.
However, I rarely drink Indian black teas without some sort of additive. When I mention this to other hard-core tea drinkers, it generally garners looks of disbelief and disdain. And, I just don't get it.
Now, I may occasionally drink a very delicate Darjeeling with no alteration. I can appreciate wanting to detect the nuances that a pricey leaf has to offer without the effects of sugar, lemon, or milk. However, for everyday drinking, I like a small touch of sugar or honey in my 2nd-flush Darjeelings, and milk or lemon and/or sweetener in hearty Assams. My take is that, for the most part, Indian black teas are processed with the addition of milk and/or sweetener in mind. They are dramatically more tannic than Chinese red/black teas, and I personally can't appreciate many of their finer qualities without toning that aspect down at least slightly.
Think - when was the last time you were offered tea by anyone actually from India, and weren't offered milk to go with?
So, is the "no milk, no sugar, no anything" attitude when it comes to black tea just an affectation? Is it the tyranny of a class of drinker that wants to prove his/her "expertise?" Or is it the more proper way, to which one must mature?