Black tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages all over the world and is grown in various places all around the world including India, China and Sri Lanka. Black tea comes from the leaves of the plant known as Camellia sinensis and is often blended with other flavors or spices to make other types of black tea, such as Earl Grey, English breakfast or Chai.
Black tea has a strong and distinct flavor; however the flavor can change depending upon the place of origin and the flush. Some of the most iconic black tea flavors come from Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri, China and Sri Lanka and are enjoyed at various times of the day, whether it be early in the morning or a nightcap right before bed. However, the question arises then, what food to pair this iconic drink with?
Pairing food with tea
Drinking tea is a very communal event and its joy is enhanced when shared with friends and family. Culturally, sharing food is also another event which brings the family together and thus, pairing tea with food makes it the perfect match. Britain has the traditional afternoon tea while Indians share tea over snacks and lots of laughter. Tea pairing with food has gained ground in the West and is today popular in many tearooms, boutiques and restaurants.
The pairing of tea with food is often likened to wine because of it many flavors, notes, astringency and tartness. From sweet to savory, all kinds of flavors work in perfect harmony with the varying notes of black tea and this list will tell you which foods to eat when you sit down with a cup of tea next time!
With their robust flavors, black teas go well with hearty, rich foods like roast beef, lamb, and venison, as well as heavy pasta dishes like lasagna. Strong black teas are ideal for hearty meals. It goes well with hearty breakfasts like scrambled eggs and sausages, as well as spicy foods and meat pasta.
Traditional black tea blends pair well with delectable scones with clotted cream. Rather than eating scones with jam, mix a teaspoon of jam into your tea. Pick a jam that complements the flavor of your tea. For example, Cinnamon buns are a delicious snack to accompany spicy chai lattes. Tea cookies are delicious with black tea and milk. Lemon cakes, chocolate and biscuits complement Earl Grey tea's citrusy taste. Black tea is divided into mainly three categories when it comes to food pairing i.e. Fruity, malty or earthy, and smoky.
Fruity black teas go well with sweet dishes like Indian sweet desserts, pastries, or anything else that leaves a thick aftertaste. This is significant because the tannins in black tea help to remove this lingering sensation, enhancing the sweetness's flavor. This also ensures that the second taste of the sweet is just as delicious as the first since the sugary coating is removed from the lips. As a result, sipping fruity black tea constantly holds the sweet taste in your mouth. This bracket of tea is most commonly from Sri Lanka or India
Earthy, malty teas are mostly from China, India, and sometimes Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa. These are usually served with red meat or meats with a strong flavor profile, such as jerk chicken, blackened meats or vegetables, and mashed potatoes with gravy. The idea behind this pairing is that earthy and malty teas aren't naturally sweet, so they're better served with dense, rich foods that aren't sweet.
The “Smoky Black Tea” is another form of black tea that is available. This one is primarily made in China. They have a strong taste and are best paired with hearty foods like flavorful meats or blackened meats. This is not suitable for light foods and should not be used for them.
Tea wise pairings
Assam CTC is an authentic taste of East India. Described by some as the perfect tea, these tea leaves are grown in the state of Assam in North-East India and are rather underrated. This copper colored tea has a full-bodied strong flavor which will go perfectly with a hearty breakfast. Its rich malty flavor tends a little towards the bitter side. What works best with Assam tea - Continental breakfast, carrot cake and chocolate, eggs, strong cheese, red meat
The tea from this region is wonderfully light and refined and perfect for a tea connoisseur. Dimbula tea has a reddish, golden-orange color, tastes refreshingly mellow and is probably the most famous Ceylon tea.
Continental and English breakfast, spicy food and meats like beef, lamb, ham and chicken
First Flush Darjeeling
The first flush or the Spring flush yields fresh, light and airy tea, able to wake up all your taste buds. It tastes of leaves and springtime and is a refreshing yet delicate tea.
What works best - Fresh fruits, soft cheese, custards, eggs, curries, grilled fish
Second flush Darjeeling
Summer flush or second flush tea is rich, bull-bodied, with intense color and warmth. It has a muscatel, and fruity flavor.
What works best - Fruit, soft cheese, nutmeg, wild mushrooms
The base for Chai is traditionally milk, a strong black tea, sugar and water. However, what is so exciting about chai is the various ways you can make it according to your mood and liking! There is masala chai which involves adding some traditional Indian spices such as cardamom, cloves and star anise to the brew to give a spicy twist to the sweet drink.
What goes best - custard, baked goods, rice, chocolate
Earl grey tea is a type of flavored tea which is quintessentially British. It has a black tea base and is flavored with oil from the rind of the bergamot orange. Both the flavors come together beautifully to create a sublime experience for every tea drinker. Our Earl grey tea has the smooth and aromatic Darjeeling tea as its base and hence is extremely palatable and delicious!
What goes best with it - Baked goods, chocolate, dairy, eggs, spices
Try out these tea pairings and tell us how they were like!