How to Match Your Tea to Your Meal

The latest trend in the restaurant and food world concerns a popular drink and how it matches the food you enjoy. But it’s not fine wine and an indulgent meal – it’s tea and your favourite dishes. And we’re not just talking about breakfast!

Check out the expert take on pairing a particular type of tea with your menu. Did you know, for example, that green tea goes with delicate cheese and Lapsang Souchong is ideal with fish? Read on to find out more.

We’re familiar with matching wine with food – for years chefs and wine experts have paired wines with certain types of food. You probably know that red wines are perfect with hearty, rich meat dishes while white wines work best with fish and vegetables. But did you know that the myriad varieties of tea are also matched with their ideal food accompaniment?

What is Tea Pairing?

Tea and food matching is not new, but it has experienced a surge in popularity in the UK in recent months. In other countries, tea has long been enjoyed as the drink that accompanies the main meal. As wine brings out some of the delicate flavours in food, so too does tea. The art of tea pairing to complement food is one anyone can learn, and you can also enjoy experiencing the results in a tea shop UK style. Here are a few simple rules for trying at home.

Basic Rules of Tea Matching

There are a stock set of different teas that are differentiated by their colour – black, green, and white teas. In general, black teas are like the red wines of the alcoholic world. They match well with rich foods that contain meat, such as roasts, stews, and hearty pasta sauces.

Green teas have an earthy and more delicate flavour and resemble white wines in that they pair with vegetarian dishes, chicken, and fish. They also go well with the Asian flavours in curries.

White teas have an extremely delicate aroma and taste and would be overpowered by anything other than the lightest dishes, such as desserts or mild cheeses. Desserts are also matched perfectly with fruity or herbal tisanes, as well as Chai teas.

Tea Pairing By Tea Type

By going a bit more into detail with the different types of teas, you can get a more refined balance of tastes with your tea pairing. For example, an assam tea works very well with continental breakfasts, or as an accompaniment to salmon, eggs, and mushroom-based dishes. It also, surprisingly, goes well with Mexican food.

The traditional black Ceylon tea style pairs with the English breakfast (it is perhaps best enjoyed with the full array of sausages, bacon, and mushrooms), as well as spicy dishes containing beef, lamb or chicken.

Earl Grey is perfectly matched with baked goods, making it an ideal accompaniment to the classic afternoon tea. You’ll find Earl Grey served at all the best afternoon tea spots. Chai tea, a milky and spicy concoction, is ideal with creamy desserts where it brings out the custardy and vanilla notes in ice cream and crème brulee.

These are just a few of the varied ways you can match your favourite drink to your favourite food. Experiment with the many types of tea you can find and discover your own delicious combination.


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