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Aranza NL said

Tea and food combinations

I am planning a tea tasting event, but I have trouble finding the right tea/food combinations. Does anyone have any suggestions? These are the tea types I want to let the participants taste:

- Silver Needle
- Lung Jing (Dragon well)
- Verveine
- Bai Mu Dan
- Pu Erh (Old tree 1987)
- Sencha premium
- Tung ting oolong
- Rooibos vanilla
- Matcha
- Darjeeling 1st flush
- Lapsang Souchong

11 Replies
sandra said

sencha premium & lapsang would go perfectly with fish (at least that is what I do- i use to steam my salmon in lapsang or sencha tea).
familiar with all other teas but don’t have a suggestion at hand at the mo.
maybe do the bai mu dan and silver needle with fresh, (fruity) salads?

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Uniquity said

I don’t have any food suggestions but would like to mention that might be an ambitious list of tastings if each guest is to taste each tea. You’ll need a serious palate cleanser on hand. Good luck, sounds like fun!

Aranza NL said

I thought I would run in this kind of problem, that is why I tried to order the tea from light (subtle white tea), to strong(Lapsang Souchong).

My idea was to use crackers combined with water as a palate cleanser, but if you have any better suggestions, I would like to hear them.

Uniquity said

Sadly I don’t. Water works somewhat to get rid of strong flavours, but it doesn’t really reset to a neutral palate. I’ve never gone to a professional tasting, but perhaps there are others here who have. What is used during wine or cheese tastings? Maybe there is something along those lines that could be done. I think ordering the teas the way you have is a brilliant touch though.

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Dustin said

What would work as a good palate cleanser for tea?

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Matcha goes well with sweets.

and sweets were traditionally served with/before it…just an added thought..

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Barbara said

Isn’t the list a bit ambitious length wise :-) ??

If it’s in the afternoon, you might want to make two groups of tea:
1) the more ‘english’ or ‘western style’ teas/infusions (rooibos, verveine, darjeeling, lapsang) and serve these with sandwiches, scones and/or tarts (in that case you could consider adding a good early grey or lavender scented tea), and
2) the more ‘pure asian’ teas (the plain whites, greens, oolongs) and serve these with asian snacks (dim sums or sushi for instance).

Barbara said

Btw: I’d prefer a plain tea tasting, therefore without food. But that may be a bit dull… :-)

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I have a good deal of experience cooking with tea and a a fair amount with the pairings so I would first suggest that you don’t do all of these at once. Starting light and going heavy may work for the tea palate but not the food palate because for instance the silver needle would be great with a quality vanilla ice cream or a simple sweet desert or cookie. I would suggest coming up with your courses as well as palate cleansers. Creating your courses as one bite may be a way to utilize more teas though I do believe cutting your list to 5 or 6 teas and doing so after designing your menu would be best. Think of pairing food like picking colors on a color wheel. Choose the opposite that compliments or the different but in the same tone for instance with the Lapsang you might go with a dark chocolate or coffee laced dish for similar but different (rich, slightly bitter) or opposite which would contain an acid (tomato) or be mild (potato). Keep a cup handy while cooking and taste as you go to ensure you get the right balance of flavors. As a palate cleanser I would have a rustic bread (not sourdough) cut into small pieces to have between courses. I hope this helps you a bit. If you are set on doing all of the tea I would keep the menu fairly mild all around possibly a variation of desserts to compliment each tea. If you don’t cook go to your local bakery and choose a variety of desserts go home and pair them with the teas. If you do this I would consider a lemon sorbet and water as a palate cleanser. Enjoy!

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Aranza NL said

Thanks, definitely some great tips.

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