The art of pairing tea with food: mastered for millennia in the East, slowly evolving in the West. And for good reason: pairing tea with food opens a world on its own. For centuries, sommeliers and chefs have been pairing food with wine and most of us are only just beginning to learn the concept of pairing tea with food. With real dishes that is. But it is simply spectacular!
Tea pairing is an experience of the senses. It explores the possibilities and dynamic between the flavors and aromas of the tea and food you use. Get it right, and tea will not only balance but even lift the flavors in your food. Pretty much like wine. But often in a slightly, sometimes radically, different way.
First off: there are a number of factors that directly affect the taste of your tea. Differences in temperature and steeping time, for example, will cause certain aromas to intensify. So, be sure to take the brewing instructions on your favourite loose leaf teas to heart to ensure proper extraction of the right flavors. Very important!
Black teas are bold in taste and fragrance. Rough, bbq-smokey sometimes even, possibly bitter and always bursting with aromas. With their robust flavours they pair well with hearty, rich foods such as roast meats, spicy lamb dishes or a heavy pasta like lasagna.
Green teas Of all types of tea, green tea has the strongest plant-based connotation. With their earthy, vegetative palettes, green teas combine well with vegetarian dishes, salads, mild green curries and light chicken dishes.
White teas tend to be very gentle, so if served with too rich and savoury food they are likely to get overshadowed, leaving them rather tasteless. But their subtle aromas have yet so much to offer! So, best pair a white tea with very light foods such as white fish, mild cheeses and desserts.
Yellow teas are a rather rare category of tea. Quite similar to green tea in appearance and flavor but typically without the grassiness of some green teas. Softer in taste, silky even, yet with a surprising note of fermentation. Yellow teas make for the perfect match for raw seafood, like oysters.
Herbal teas, when fruity, are going to pair very well with citrusy desserts and entrees. The earthy tones of some other infusions will go better with mild dishes as soups and stews. A more minty herbal tea goes wonderfully with chocolate and sweet desserts
Since most of our teas are hand-selected blends, the basic rules may not always fully apply. BUT… all these wonderful flavours and combinations do offer other unique and surprising pairing abilities. We are currently working on defining suggestions for food pairing for all of our blends. You will soon find these added in our tea shop. Also, some known and lesser known Dutch chefs will share their favorite tea & food recipes with us shortly, so stay tuned! Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram.
In the meantime, if you have any questions on the topic of food pairing, have some cool recipes yourself or if you want to know how to combine your favourite Arte & Zayne tea with your culinary gems, drop us a line! We’re here to help.