Most of us cannot tell the difference between a Shiraz and a Cabernet. But there is no need to be a wine connoisseur to understand the basic rule of wine and food pairing: white wines with fish and red wines with meat. However, still many wines can cross this simplistic line and bring us new thrills.

When it comes to tea, the exploration session is open. For ages, the Western World has followed the standard that only black teas could be paired with meals and the other varieties had to stand alone. But the Eastern countries have been adopting green tea as the main beverage with almost every meal, and at any moment of the day, which led us to reconsider this principle.

 

How to make the most of the subtlety and delicacy of a white tea? Drinking it alone, before or after meals, is probably the best option, but the Jasmin Phoenix Pearl N.44 or the Bai Mu Dan N.98 can be paired with lightly flavored meals, such as seafood or fish recipes, basmati rice, or plain vegetables and salads without dressing.

In order to accentuate the natural sweetness of a white tea, you can add a slice of wildflower honey.

 

The vegetative flavor of a green tea perfectly concurs with mild flavored dishes. For the fruit lovers, the melon tastes better with a cup of green tea alongside.

Three main profiles exist to describe a green tea: fruity, vegetal and smoky.

- The fresh and grassy tannin of a vegetal tea (Vallée du Nil  N.88, Fleur de Lotus N.74) goes well together with seafood.

- A smoky green tea will cut the greasy mouth-feel of a pan-fried chicken or turkey, or highlight the taste of stir-fried potatoes and vegan pizzas. However, you might regret to mix a smoky green tea with sweet meals or desserts.

- Whether you serve it hot or iced, a fruity green tea would fit perfectly with fruit salads or unsweetened pastries. A green tea like Green Passion N.144 or Sencha Cherry N.100, reputed for its light sweetness, would also serve your purpose when enjoying a meal with whole wheat bread or chicken.

 

There are so many different and complex aromas of Oolong, due to their different degree of oxidation, that they can be paired with a very diverse range of recipes.

Dark oolong will be in tune with pronounced tastes like smoked or grilled meat, salmon or bass dishes.

Regarding desserts or sweet snacks, maple syrup pancakes and other pastries such as madeleines will revive the aroma of the Oolong Finest N.7.

With a light aromatic and floral oolong such as Dong Ding Oolong N.26, try scallops or lobsters dishes. If you like the sweet and salt combination experience, you can combine this tea with salted snacks.

           

Black is the most robust category for teas. The high concentration of tannins in fruity and flowery black teas like Ecorce d’Orange N.35, Douceurs des Iles N.33, Ceylan BOP N.48 or Yunnan FOP N.8 will absolve the residual mouth-feel and highlight the sweetness of a dessert or a pastry.

Smoky black teas like the Lapsang Souchong N.83 should be paired with intensely flavored dishes, like spicy food, blackened meat or dark chocolate (for the sweet and salt culinary combination).

 

The PU-ER - 1998 can neutralize a greasy and oily mouth-feel, thanks to its earthy and strong flavor. This distinctive tea has digestive properties, which makes it an appropriate ending to a large and multi-course meal.

Jerk chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables taste excellent when served with a cup of earthy black tea alongside. However, desserts are not recommended with it.

 

Knowing the theory is one thing, but finding the recipe that will match perfectly with your favorite teas and tastes is another thing. The only way to get there remains to experiment culinary tests and combinations. It’s up to you!