Mastering how to pair tea with food is as important as knowing how to skillfully pick a wine for a delicious meal. Picking the correct tea can change an ordinary meal into a culinary experience that is bursting with flavour.
Luckily tea is a versatile beverage, and you can pair it with a wide variety of foods, from flavourful spicy dishes to sweet desserts. For each meal, think of its main ingredients and choose your tea based on them.
If you’re curious to learn what pairs best, we’ve rounded up the main types of tea and shared what foods pair best with them.
Green tea has a subtle vegetative flavour, so it goes better with mild flavoured foods, like seafood, fish, chicken, or salad. Vegetal green teas have a fresh, grassy flavour and pair nicely with seafood — hence why Japanese restaurants pair sushi and green tea together. Smokier green teas are much stronger and pair well with pan-fried turkey or chicken, as they cut the greasy mouth-feel of fried meat
Oolong teas have a more complex aroma, ranging between green and black tea, which means they can be paired with a wider range of food. This includes light fish to grilled meat. In general, oolongs are divided into two main categories – light and dark teas, so when pairing this beverage with foods, it’s good to keep in mind the following: light oolong tea pairs best with sweeter seafood dishes like scallops and lobster. Dark oolong teas have a more distinct flavour, so they pair better with stronger foods such as grill meat and seafood.
Black tea has the most robust flavour, and the most pronounced tannins, which mean it pairs perfectly with full-flavored foods, like spicy dishes and meat. Pastries also taste excellent when served with a cup of black tea.