Tea, a sophisticated & trendy beverage, ranks second after water in terms of consumption. This aromatic drink was first discovered in China but since then it has spread out its roots to all cultures and places in the world.
It is either served hot or cold depending on the type of tea you are having, can be mixed with certain other flavors too; but the fact of the matter remains that tea has gathered huge fan following. Due to its caffeine content, it is often consumed in the morning to stimulate the mind. Although the caffeine content in tea is lower than coffee but it is still sufficiently higher than sodas. Other than this, tea has many health benefits as well, making it a choice of beverage for many across the globe. Like wine, you need just as much knowledge and precision when it comes to matching tea with your food. There is no one kind of tea that will go along with all your food types. Tea connoisseurs make it a point to help you decide which kind of tea will compliment your food and which won’t. Their expert knowledge is what many foodies base their tea choices on.
Tea is a versatile drink that can go along with all kinds of foods; Italian, Mexican, continental and even desserts. However, picking up the wrong tea can turn any gourmet cuisine into an ordinary food. However, if you end up choosing the one which compliments the flavors of your food then you will be up for an exquisite blend of flavors. So next time you plan on hosting a dinner, you might want to serve tea with your food to give the whole gathering a very royal, comfortable feel. We have compiled a list to help you out in deciding which kind of tea you should be going with based on the type of cuisine you would be serving to your guests.
It is made from wilted tea leaves which have not oxidized yet. This is the reason that it has very subtle and light flavors. Any food that overpowers its natural taste ends up ruining its whole experience. White tea is known to have a subtle sweetness to its taste. This is why you might want to pair up its earthy sweetness to foods which lack sweetness on their own. This tea is always served with foods having subtle flavors that are not too strong for the tongue. Serve it with salads without adding a dressing of any sort to them to accentuate their natural flavors or simple plain basmati rice. However, to enjoy the sophisticated taste of this tea, many tea lovers like to have it on its own.
Food suggestions: seafood, fish, plain vegetable salads with no dressing e.g. cucumber salad.
Tea is a part of Chinese culture. A big pot of tea is served with your meal, no matter wherever you go to eat. No matter what food you choose, you will get a tea to compliment it. After all, it is the birthplace of tea, a place where this beverage was discovered centuries ago. The Tea connoisseurs here take their job very seriously. Green tea usually has a subtle leafy taste they have different flavors of tea with different infusions to go along perfectly well with whatever dish you choose. When it comes to green tea, China has a lot to offer. Given below are some of the green tea varieties available in China:
It has a smoky flavor which is strong and goes well with foods that have infusions of flavors themselves. Foods with subtle flavorings would not compliment this tea as it would end up overriding their taste. This tea doesn’t compliment foods that are sweet since it will leave behind a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.
These eyebrow shaped leaves yield a tea which is refreshing and aromatic and leaves behind a plum-like aftertaste. This tea is the most commonly consumed tea in China since centuries. These teas due to their strong astringent flavors make them really suitable for oily foods since it cuts through their greasiness especially the pan-fried foods.
You might want to try these green teas on their own to enjoy their strong rush of flavors as they go streaming to your brain leaving you refreshed and alert. Many tea lovers prefer having green teas throughout the day on their own so that they can sip in their smoky leafy taste. Chinese green teas are sometimes also infused with jasmine leaves to give them an aromatic feel that goes perfectly well with lamb and other kinds of red meat.
Food suggestions: Asian and Middle Eastern Foods, steamed vegetables, chicken, light stir-fries, potatoes, lighter versions of pizzas as well.
This tea is prepared from lightly oxidized wilted white tea leaves. This is why this aromatic tea has a range of aromas that you can choose from. The taste of tea seems to improve after multiple brewing of the leaves. It is because of this brewing differences that oolong tea can be divided into two main categories and can work with many dishes while being perfectly good to be consumed on their own.
Light oolong like Tie Kwan Yin (Iron Goddess) have a fragrant, sweet and floral taste. Because of their light flavors they often go well with foods that can accentuate the floral undertones of light oolong tea. You might want to get experimental and try it out with different combinations of flavors to see how it works there. However, many prefer pairing it with snacks instead of a proper meal. However, try avoid pairing them with oily foods since they can’t cut through their greasiness.
Food suggestions: Seafood, lobster, scallops, snacks, crackers, baked foods, tofu, vegetables.
Dark oolong like Song of Wuyi has a strong smoky flavor to them. Since they have prominent flavors they work well with foods that have a strong taste. This tea is exceptionally good with desserts as well especially white chocolate based ones. However, in case you want to enjoy food and keep the sensitivity of your palettes intact, you should avoid using it with spicy foods.
Food suggestions: baked meats, rare to medium-rare red meats, smoked meat, meaty appetizers, grilled meat, pancakes with maple syrup, white chocolate, and many desserts.
These teas are usually infused using boiling water to bring out their strong, earthy but distinctive flavors. These teas are known to last for a long time. Hence, their earthy taste. This tea looks similar to coffee because of dark black color. Once you have developed a taste for Pu-erh tea, you will come to like it a lot. These teas are known for their digestive benefits. This is why they are often served with large meals or after you have savored a multi-course gourmet cuisine. They go well with all kinds of meaty oily foods and can help you digest them easily too. The taste of this tea can go really well with spicy foods as well. This is why since ages it has been served alongside spicy pork noodles on the streets of Hong Kong.
Food suggestions: Meat, chicken, fried foods, stir-fry dishes, dim sum
This tea has the most robust flavor with distinct tannins. This is the reason why tea connoisseurs suggest to pair it with spicy, strong flavored meaty foods. Black teas are of many types and are categorized based on their taste and distinct flavors. You can find smoky black teas from China, earthy black teas from Yemen and Africa or fruity ones from India and Sri Lanka depending on your preference.
Food suggestions: Spicy food, desserts, mashed potatoes, meat, chicken, vegetable gravies, lasagnas, pasta, heavy English breakfasts.
There has been a recent trend of infusing tea with many ingredients for health purposes. These herbal teas are mostly used for weight loss, shake off colds etc. Any tea that used herbs, spices and other parts of plants with hot water can be termed as an herbal tea. The most common herbal teas are lemongrass tea, mint tea and ginger tea. The mint tea, as the name suggests is infused using mint while lemongrass tea uses lemongrass as the main ingredient. Because of their distinct flavour they cannot be paired with strong tasting foods.
Food suggestions: Lemongrass tea works really well with chocolate muffins. Foodies can use mint tea for cooking purposes to give your foods a distinct minty taste.
When it comes to pairing tea with food you need to be very precise. Try to blend in this sophisticated & trendy beverage with the right kind of food to enhance your experience. As a tea lover, learn to experiment.