Have you wondered how to pair your tea with food? Are you having family or friends over for brunch, lunch or dinner and would love to share some of your tea favourites on these occasions? Here is a run-down on our pairing experience over the past years. We offer five easy to adopt pairing tips.
But first the caveat. Yes, we are aware that tea pairing is complex. We agree that it is both an art and a science. And yes, it is very personal. What we might like as a pairing will not work for someone else. So how can we write something simple and yet useful on this topic? We talked to our tea community about how best to frame these tips. Discussion focused mostly on the challenge of finding the right entry point. We discussed organizing by liquor colour, tea type or even flavour notes using a flavour wheel. In the end we agreed that the most useful tips would be to have guidance for each type of hosting event and time of day. Yes, a degree of simplification was required to write this blog. For those venturing deeper into the tea pairing, we recommend more extensive reference materials on this topic.
So, let’s get right to it. We have organized our “Tea Pairings - Five Simple Tips” by the type of hosting events that you might plan this holiday season. Here are our five simple tips.
- Tea pairing for breakfast/brunch. We are big fans of extended family breakfasts or brunch. These can vary from a hearty oatmeal or pancake/French toast to a full English breakfast including eggs in various forms. In our experience the perfect pairing for both these sweet and savoury options are a hearty full-bodied tea that can stand up to the palate indulgence provided by both the sweet and savoury options. Typically, this means a black tea or a quite oxidized oolong. In our Tea Rebellion tea spectrum, we would recommend any of our Black teas or one of the more oxidized oolongs such as a Medium Roast Oolong or Misty Oolong.
- Tea pairing for lunch: For the purpose of this list here we will go with a hearty soup such as hot potato and leek soup or alternatively something like a mixed plate thai lunch. For both of these a green tea or a lighter oolong work well.
- Tea pairing for tea time:This takes place is in the afternoon 3/4 pm and in many cultures this is synonymous to “cake time”. We have experimented with many different pairings here and are also suggesting a range of teas depending on the time of the day and how “heavy” the cake is. Generally, we recommend that lighter tea gets paired with lighter cakes and vice versa for stronger teas and more indulgent cakes. For example, we would pair a chocolate cake with a black tea, an apple cake or pumpkin pie with a largely oxidised oolong and a lemon drizzle with a white tea.
- Tea pairing for dinner:Oh yes, it’s that time of day when caffeine becomes an issue for many of us. We do not often have caffeinated teas with dinner, yet love several post dinner herbal tea options. When consumed alone post dinner there is obviously no need for pairing advice and each can choose their favorite herbal to go with. However, if the aim is to pair with a sweet desert then we revert to our tip for tea time pairings as this is very comparable. So, for example, we would pair a rooibos with a heavier desert but possibly a lemon verbena with a lighter one.
- Tea pairing for cheese platters: And then there are those meals that are simply NOT a meal but rather a snack. This is a big one for all of us during the holidays. A pre-dinner drink invite will often include a cheese platter with crackers. We have seen very successful cheese and tea pairings usually with white teas and oolongs. Our Himalayan White Prakash is an amazing choice for pairing with a full range of cheeses.
We hope that these simple tips will get you started with pairing tea with food occasions this holiday. Do revert back on your favourite pairing by commenting below, letting us know your thoughts on instagram or dropping us an email. Happy Holidays to you all!