Tea drinking is not just for old grannies or an old-fashioned beverage consumed to pass the time.
In fact, studies have shown that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water. Millennials are also most likely to drink it.
When it comes to fine dining, tea has risen to prominence in fine-dining circles, as more restaurants feature specific menus suited for savoury and sweet dishes.
Much like wine, the aromas, flavours, and structure of teas can enhance food and the pairing possibilities are endless.
The whole idea of pairing tea with food is that you should have a tea that’s going to enhance the flavour of the food, or vice versa. What you want to happen in your mouth is to feel the different layers of taste and flavours of both the beverage and food.
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO TEA PAIRING
MATCH THE WEIGHT AND INTENSITY OF THE DISH AND TEA
The different types of tea: white, green, black, dark, becomes more intense as you go down the spectrum. White tea has the most delicate and subtle flavours and mouthfeel, whilst black and dark teas having the deepest flavours.
For example, you could match a green tea with white fish, or a black tea with red meat but you wouldn’t pair a white one with a curry as it’s delicate notes would be overpowered by the strong spice flavours.
FIND FLAVOUR NOTES THAT MATCH
You can enhance flavours by choosing a tea that has the same notes as the pairing you are drinking it with.
For example, Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa blends perfectly with the robust flavours of English Breakfast for a full-bodied taste. Just add milk to accentuate the chocolate’s creaminess for a real classic.
FIND FLAVOURS THAT COMPLIMENT
The bergamot flavour of Earl Grey tea with its subtle tones of muscatel is the perfect accompaniment to the citrus flavours of the much-loved classic Lindt Excellence Orange Intense. Balancing the high citrus taste, sliced almonds compliment the tea’s earthy undertones for a well-rounded flavour.
Chamomile is a caffeine-free herbal tea, that is often used to help people get better sleep. Its apple-like flavour can be a great pairing with scones and fruity sweets.
A dish that is rich and oily, such as red meat, works really well with Assam black tea as this beverage often has a high tannin content resulting in astringency that acts as a palate-cleanser between each mouthful.
Experimentation is the best way to find out what works best for you – you will find an unexpected combination works beautifully and nothing beats just going with your instincts.