How to Pair Tea With Your Favorite Foods

January 25, 2019

As we near the end of National Hot Tea Month, our team of tea-lovers thought we’d offer up some great tea and food pairings for your cold-weather delight! (And, keep in mind that hot tea really pairs well with food, as the flavor notes of the various blends are easier to taste than with iced tea.)

Not only can certain foods highlight specific flavors within a unique tea blend, but the satisfaction you feel when you finally make the perfect match is incomparable.

The science of making the perfect pair is primarily up to the tester themselves, but just to get you started, let’s take a look at some popular teas and foods that will enhance your tea drinking experience.

Green Tea

Green tea can have a flavor profile that is vegetal (grassy), smoky or fruity. The profile should guide you when selecting a dish to pair with your green tea. Let’s dive into these variations of green tea.

Pair the fresh, grassy flavors of vegetal green teas with foods like:

  • Seafood dishes
  • Salads
  • Light breakfast foods like veggie omelets

Pair smoky, slightly heavier green teas with foods like:

  • Turkey or chicken dishes
  • Light stir-fry
  • Veggie pizza

Pair fruity green teas with foods like:

  • Fruit salads
  • Chicken or turkey sandwiches
  • Baked meat dishes

Black Tea

Black teas have the most robust flavor and can easily complement full-flavored foods, spicy dishes and desserts. Again, this is a tea that can have different flavor profiles: fruity, smoky or earthy.

Black tea from India can tend to have a fruity taste profile and pairs well with foods like:

  • Sweet desserts
  • Breakfast pastries
  • Egg dishes

Smoky black teas, like many from China, have a strong taste and balance well with intensely flavored foods like:

  • Spicy dishes
  • Meat dishes
  • Hearty breakfast dishes

White Tea

This tea has a subtle, silky flavor that can be easily overwhelmed by a dish’s aroma or strong taste. Pair this delicate tea with lightly flavored foods like:

  • Green salads without dressing
  • Light fish dishes
  • Basmati rice

Herbal Tea

The many flavor variations of herbal teas opens up a whole world of possibilities when it comes to food pairings. And there really is no right or wrong answer, just suggestions.

Bold fruit flavors like raspberry, peach, orange, and hibiscus (to name a few), pair well with foods like:

  • Cinnamon french toast
  • Sweet breakfast breads and pastries
  • Spicy dishes

Tart herbal teas like lemon, ginger and melon pair well with foods like:

  • Grilled chicken and vegetables
  • Berry-forward desserts
  • Angel food cake with fruit topping

With the cold winter months setting in, it’s a great time to experiment with your hot tea and food pairing. These are just some suggestions but the possibilities are endless so don’t be afraid to try something new and take a chance.

Here’s to you and a warm cup of tea!

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