VeryPisces said

Tea and Food Pairings

Today I was eating a salad and realized the tea I was drinking would compete with, rather than complement, the flavor of the meal. That got me thinking about tea and food pairings. I know many of you must consider the teas that go with certain meals. Is there any particular rule? I was never a wine drinker so I could never understand how wines and foods are paired- all I know is red goes with beef and white goes with fish. Tea seems more complex, but I love a challenge! Do you pair teas with your meals? If so, what kinds of combinations work?

12 Replies
kOmpir said

I avoid drinking anything during the meal, but I usually drink cup of Pu Erh just after a heavy meal.

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Uniquity said

Tea is a stand alone thing for me – I prefer cold drinks with meals, basically water.

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I like to drink peppermint tea during/after eating pasta, but that’s because peppermint helps digestion and upset stomach. It’s because I have a tendency to eat too much when eating pasta though.
Jasmine is pretty typical with Chinese food and I usually get a Genmaicha with sushi.

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Puck said

I enjoy fresh fruit and tea together. Particularly as a start to the day. Blood oranges are my current favorite fruit with tea but my taste tends to change depending what season it is.

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i like green tea while having Sushi, and like kOmpir said Puerh after heavy meal is perfect!

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VeryPisces said

I’m still experimenting, but I love sushi and green tea is a nice accompaniment.

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VeryPisces said

Good article by Marcus Stout: http://bit.ly/tea-food :

How to Pair Food with the Perfect Tea

It seems that almost any restaurant you walk into these days has a wine-pairing guide. The reason why restaurants do this is because they know that a good beverage can enhance the entire dining experience significantly. Think of oysters and Champagne or a robust Cabernet with a fine steak. You especially know it is a good pairing when you are not sure if the food makes the beverage taste better or if the beverage makes the food taste better.

This is all great when it comes to wine, but what about tea?

Tea has been paired with foods for centuries in Asia. It is also paired almost every day here in the West as well. A traditional English Breakfast includes eggs, bacon and sausage. As a pairing, the British often serve a strong Black Tea that is often called English Breakfast Tea. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

How to pair food with tea

There are a few basic rules when pairing food and tea, which are as follows:

Regional Pairing

This one is the easiest. Since tea can be grown and developed into many different flavors and styles, a lot of times cultures intuitively process their teas to match their local cuisines. A prime example of this is Japanese Tea with Sushi. Since the Japanese prize nori (the seaweed wrappers on sushi rolls) so much, it is no surprise that a lot of Senchas have an assertive nori flavor in them. So, when you drink Japanese Tea with Sushi, the flavors reinforce each other to create a delightful experience. This is why some people love Sencha when it is served in Japanese restaurants, but dislike it when they try it at home. Some other classic regional pairings are Jasmine Tea with light Chinese food and Chai with Indian food.

Tannins and Fats

Tannins are the part of tea that gives it astringency. Astringency is great because it helps to cut through the heavy flavor of the fat. Whole milk and cream are examples of fatty foods that are added to tea every day.
Big breakfasts and Black Tea are a prime example that I mentioned before. The rule is the greasier the breakfast the more astringent the tea. So, if you are eating a super rich breakfast, you will want a 2nd Flush Darjeeling since it has such as high level of tannins. As far as Green Tea goes, Bi Lo Chun is fantastic with salmon as the astringency helps complement the silky fattiness of the fish.

Sweet and Salty

This most common version of this pairing is the Southern staple of fried chicken and sweet tea. Now, I am not a big fan of sweet tea, so you can do a subtler pairing by combining a naturally sweet tea with a moderately salty food. One pairing I love is White Tea with pistachio nuts. The sweetness of the White Tea really comes out when paired with the salty, but simple, flavor of pistachios. This is one snack that is not only delicious, but quite healthy.

Summary

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food and tea parings. But, if you follow these three simple rules, you will not only enhance your tea experience, but your dining experience as well!

Tea Tipsy said

Interesting article.

I don’t pair sweet, iced tea with anything.

For hot tea I do like what I call “tea treats”

For meals I generally don’t drink any tea with them.

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Lala said

OK, so I subscribe to a free Canadian cheese magazine, please no laughing.

Its called All You Need is Cheese. In volume 5, No. 1, Spring issue 2013, there is an article entitled “A sensational taste experience. Canadian cheese and tea: A Lingering pleasure.

These were the suggestions:
Canadian triple cream brie with Quangzou milk oolong
Canadian gouda with Gyokuro
Canadian edam with Organic Russian caravan
Canadian blue cheese with Organic Keemun Panda #1

I am pretty sure you could substitute Canadian with American cheeses :)

All teas from www.theteaemporium.com

Only the people that did not laugh get to visit the magazine website at: www.allyouneedischeese.ca/teapairings

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Tea Tipsy said

I’m a huge snacker with hot tea. Any kind of breads, especially dessert breads, block cheese with crackers (or cream cheese with crackers), any type of dessert or sweet, any kind of “rich, moist food” (hence: bread, but also cake and cookies)

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RiverTea said

Odd enough we like to pair our tea with some salads and for us it seems quite delicious. Anyway the best pairing of tea with meal are those special, miniature sandwiches that British pair with their afternoon blends.
Cookies, cakes, biscuits, cupcakes also go well with tea.
Did you know that tea is also used for cooking? We have a special article on our blog about it. I recommend you to try ochazuke, the Japanese tea soup. For two servings you need a cup of steamed rice, it is better if you use sushi rice, but you can use brown rice as well. You also need one cup of brewed sencha green tea and assorted toppings depending on your own taste, mushrooms, vegetables or tofu. If you’re a fan of seafood, you can use it as well.
The cooking of the dish itself is pretty easy. You just have to place the rice into a bowl, add hot tea and the final step would be adding the fish or vegetables or maybe both, it’s your own choice and seasoning the final product to your taste.

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