Just as you’d pair food with wine, pairing your favorite teas with specific foods can greatly improve your dining experience. Of course, whatever tea you drink is a matter of personal preference; after all, there are so many different teas to choose that are all distinctly different.
Thus, you can either match certain food with tea for a perfect infusion of flavor… or you they can severely clash. Don’t destroy your experience! Here is a breakdown of foods to eat with specific teas for a delicious complimentary pairing.
White tea has some of the most delicate and subtle flavors of all types of tea. That’s why you should pair it with foods that have that same delicate and subtle taste to avoid overpowering the tea.
The problem is that it can be very hard to find foods that fit this description. Thus, it’s often best just to drink white tea alone so you can taste all of its delicate flavors. If white tea is your favorite tea and you’re looking for a snack, try eating plain jasmine or basmati rice.
If your go-to is green tea, the good news is you have a much larger range of foods to choose from. Better still, green tea comes in a wide range of flavors, so you can fine-tune how you pair it with food.
For example, there are citrus green teas, smoky green teas, and vegetal green teas. Citrus green teas are sweeter and go well with light meats, like chicken, as well as salads and fruit. You can also drink it with light sandwiches or breads.
Smoky green teas go much better with stronger flavors. Thus, stir-fries or Middle Eastern foods mesh beautifully, as well as fried foods as the astringency of the tea would cut through the grease.
Finally, vegetal green teas pair well with seafood. This grassy type of tea can be likened to the umami flavor of seaweed and does a great job of bringing out the flavor of seafood.
You’ll have a spectrum to choose from when pairing foods with oolong teas. That’s because there’s a spectrum of oxidation, ranging from light and dark.
If light oolong tea is your favorite, try enjoying a cup with a nice, savory snack. Light oolong teas have a floral and aromatic flavor that pairs well with crackers and chips. Darker oolong teas also have a wide range of pairings and they go well with pastries and pancakes, light or red meats, seafood, and many desserts.
Black teas with a pleasant fruity flavor go well with rich desserts. They also help cleanse the palate between bites so you can savor each treat to the fullest.
Black tea also comes with earthy and malty flavors that pair well with full-bodied foods like jerk chicken or Mexican and Italian foods. Also, it nicely complements rich foods like mashed potatoes and gravy or Alfredo pasta.
At the end of the day, these food and tea pairings are only recommendations — feel free to experiment and find new and interesting food pairings on your own. That’s part of the fun! Just remember: Teas come in complex and diverse flavors and foods are equally diverse.
It’s your journey to explore which goes well with your palate. A deliciously exciting experience awaits you!