Most people know that tea is a healthy beverage, but it’s not exactly, well, everyone’s cup of tea. Some people may find tea or even pairing it up with food unappetizing. For those who are unfamiliar with the varieties of tea, you’re about to find out about those here.
The right kind of tea can help enhance your dining experience. This is similar to pairing red wine with certain meat dishes and white wine for vegetarian and fish dishes. The art of pairing tea with a meal has been a mainstay in the East for hundreds of years, and now the West is catching up.
If you don’t want to be the last to know, here are some delicious tea and food pairings you need to try for yourself.
Green Tea and Sushi
When you visit sushi restaurants, there’s always tea served for you, and it goes best with sushi and sashimi. The kind of green tea served depends on the restaurant. Some may serve agari, an economical variant of green tea since most hot or cold teas are served for free when you eat there. Other higher-end restaurants, especially in the US, may serve sencha, a basic variant of green tea.
There’s a reason green tea goes extremely well with seafood like salmon and tuna. The umami works well with the flavors of the sea, and the antibacterial properties of the tea help with oral hygiene, which is a huge plus. If you want to get green tea with a homemade sushi meal, consider getting sencha or genmaicha, which has a heavier flavor than sencha.
Oolong Tea and Grilled Meats/Foods
Oolong has one of the most complex tastes in the tea world. It’s hard to classify it, but oolong can be considered as the tea between green and black tea. Lightly oxidized oolong has brighter green hues and tastes a little sweet while stronger oxidized ones have darker leaves and a more bitter taste.
Oolong’s complexity makes this variety a companion to a lot of food. Darker oolong teas, in particular, are great to pair with grilled meats like pork, chicken, duck, or beef. The lighter oolong tea can compliment light but rich foods like lobster and scallops.
Matcha Green Tea and Breakfast Bowls
Matcha has become super popular nowadays not only because it tastes yummy but also because it’s good for you. Countless recipes go well with matcha because of its full-bodied taste and grassy aroma. A lot of regular food has become better when paired with matcha, like ice cream, cake, and even coffee latte.
There’s no wrong way to drink matcha, and that is why it’s safe to drink it for breakfast. It is best paired with healthy breakfast bowls that include fruits and veggies. Top it off with other superfoods like acai, chia, or flax seeds to double the healthiness.
Since matcha goes well with most kinds of food, ever wonder what the best pairing is? According to science, matcha is best paired with citrus for flavor and for better absorption of vitamins and minerals. This article states that a squeeze of vitamin C or lemons can help the body stabilize the antioxidants in matcha so it goes to our bodies.
White Tea and Light Fish
White tea is considered the most delicate variant of all teas. It is softer and slightly sweeter, so it pairs best with foods that are neither heavy or overpowering. Foods like light fish dishes go well with white tea.
It’s easy to miss the mild taste of white tea, especially if you’re accustomed to darker and more aromatic teas, but it is a treat on its own. You can drink it solo to get yourself used to it, or you can eat it with basic salads with light to no dressings. If you want to eat it with fruits, you can pair it with peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and mangosteen.
Black Tea and Spicy Foods
Black tea has one of the strongest flavor profiles among all variants. If you’re not good with spice but you love the flavors, it’s a good idea to have black tea with your meal. Spicy or highly seasoned foods such as blackened and dark meat, jerk chicken, or even meat with gravy recipes. Black tea is also an excellent pair for heavy kinds of pasta, such as lasagna.
Open Your Mind and Palate
If you’re a one-type-of-tea kind of person, now’s the time to open yourself to new teas and experiences. If you’re looking for a sign to start, this is it. Drinking tea is a good habit, but when you pair it with a food you love, the experience gets better.
What kinds of teas have you discovered lately? Share your answers in the comments.