Pairing Food with Tea
What to Chew with Your Brew
Why pair tea with food?
Pairing tea with food is an adventure in flavors. It is
also a good way to get to know the variety in the world
of tea. Tea provides an extensive range of tastes, similar
to that of wine but without the associated alcohol.
What can tea accomplish?
Tea has evolved for thousands of years along with regional
cuisine to be the drink that goes along with meals. It is
no surprise that it goes well with food. Like any small
mid-course or a palate cleanser, tea is in one sense a great
flavor bridge from one course to the next. More importantly
it can also be paired with a specific dish - to help complete
the flavor journey of that dish.
food pairing basics
The flavors of regional teas evolved with local cuisine
just like wine evolved with its local cuisine. So a good
way to think about natural pairings is to look at the cuisine
from the tea regions. For instance, nothing could go with
seafood better than Japanese Green teas - such as Sencha,
To take this a step further green
teas in general (including many of those from China,
Korea, and Vietnam) are superb with seafood. Rice and green
tea is also a natural fit. In many traditional Japanese
meals the course before dessert is often Ochazuke - rice
in a green tea broth often with salmon.
Greenish oolongs are best thought of as green teas for pairing.
Green oolongs can be made stronger and still remain smoother
than any green tea. These teas have more sweetness because
of the heavier body of the tea. They go very well with scallops,
lobster and other sweet rich seafood, Pouchong
Ching Fung and Nantou
Oolong are wonderful in this regard.
and Medium oxidized Oolongs
The toastiness of these teas is the most prominent flavor
characteristic, except in Oriental
Beauty Oolongs (which are purely sweet). Stronger flavors
like grilled foods match well the darker oolongs such as Phoenix
Horse. Duck with sweet Oriental Beauty is wonderful.
With pronounced tannins and corresponding strong finish,
black teas are excellent with very full flavored foods:
meats, curries, pastry etc. Black teas range in taste from
to very bold Assam.
In between these extremes with a wonderful honey flavor
Since they come from the inland province of Yunnan in China
goes well with chicken and meats, stir fry, and anything
with lots of animal fat or other oils. Our tuocha (aged
for 8 years) is a wonderful way to get to experience Pu-erh teas.
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