As tea enthusiasts, we often find ourselves wondering about the best food companions to elevate our tea experience. Even if you have some of the finest tea leaves brewing in the pot, with some sugar and milk waiting to accompany them, you might still feel something is missing. This is where we need some added flavors to elevate our tea experience. So we thought it's best to discuss some tea flavor pairing in detail, especially to learn what goes well with black tea!
Tea is one of the most magical drinks in the world, packed with refreshing characteristics and health benefits. Sipping a cup of tea will not only quench your thirst but will also give you a refreshingly relaxing feel, virtually taking you to a heavenly world.
Many tea types in the world offer different flavor profiles, such as black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, Pu-erh tea, matcha, and several herbal teas. The refreshments going well with each of these teas are different from each other because they possess different flavors. Selecting which tea pairs well with which refreshment is an art and enjoyable magic.
Whether you sip your black tea alone, with your family members, or host a tea party, it doesn't matter! Let's learn what goes well with black tea while going deep into understanding the best possible food pairing options and making the event more flavorful.
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is renowned as a refreshing beverage globally, and it is the most famous version. Black tea gives a brew that is richly aromatic, malty, slightly astringent, or bitter in flavor, along with a reddish-orange cup color. A cup of black tea is always a delicate, refreshing drink that can relax you and fix your mood at any time of the day. As a beverage rich in antioxidants and other natural compounds like caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, caffeine, theanine, and other micro-nutrients, black tea is considered a healthy beverage with relaxing and awakening properties.
Black tea derives from the tender leaves of the tea plant (Camelia sinensis). Many people in the world, including people in the US, drink black tea as a hot or cold drink.
Types of Black Tea
Different types of black teas are classified based on their origin. The characteristics of black tea differ based on its growing conditions, cultivar, and climatic conditions. Some world-famous black tea types have unique features different from one another, representing different origins.
Assam Black Tea
The black tea grown and manufactured in the Assam region of India possesses some unique characteristics with a different taste profile and aroma. Assam is the largest tea-growing region in the world. The teas grown in the Assam region deliver a malty and bold flavor profile due to the rainy and tropical climate in the region. Generally, Assam tea is best known as a full-bodied tea that goes well with milk, sugar, or both. Assam black tea is commonly used as the main ingredient for India's popular spicy drink, Chai.
Darjeeling Black Tea
Darjeeling is a small, mountainous, and beautiful tea-growing area in India that produces one of the finest black teas in the world. Darjeeling black tea possesses a delicious, softer, and more herbaceous flavor than the teas produced in other regions. The flavor attributes of this tea change from season to season, depending on the climatic conditions. Darjeeling black tea is most commonly called the "champagne of teas" due to its particular flavor attributes.
Kenyan Black Tea
Compared with other world-renowned tea growers, Kenya is a bit new in the industry. However, it is emerging drastically as a tea-exporting nation, currently being the leading tea producer in the African region. Most Kenyan tea producers make CTC (crush, tear, curl) black tea, targeting the tea in-bags market worldwide. There is a good demand for Kenyan teas as they are economical compared to other tea types. Kenyan teas have a unique flavor, a full-bodied taste, and a dark reddish cup color. It has fewer variations because there are few climatic changes throughout the year.
Ceylon Black Tea
Sri Lanka, or Ceylon, is one of the finest tea producers in the world, with nearly half a million acres of beautiful tea gardens. Though it is a small island, tea is grown at different altitudes, varying from tropical, humid sea levels to misty mountains. These variations in growing conditions and climate have made Ceylon tea special, with many unique characteristics because of the region in which the tea is grown. Ceylon tea is world-famous as black tea, and most manufacturers produce and export top-quality pure orthodox black tea grades. Ceylon black tea is well renowned for being a tea with a strong, brisk, and full-bodied flavor in the cup and a golden reddish cup color.
Black Tea Pairing
Tea pairing is always about matching the flavors. Black tea delivers different tastes depending on its type, and the most common flavors of black tea are astringent, brisk, pungent, bald, malty, and full-bodied. When considering what goes well with black tea, the flavor profile of the black tea and the food item's flavor are a must to consider. It is always a creative and artistic approach to select what pairs well with black tea and experience mixing flavors. Let's try some pre-identified flavors that pair well with black tea and delight your loved ones. You are free to be adventurous and try some new things to see what goes well with black tea.
Fruity Black Teas
Black tea has a strong flavor and can hold up well when it blends with fruits. The strong taste of black tea pairs well with whole fruit pieces or intense fruit flavors, as the fruit flavors can blend in harmony with black tea. Adding fruit pieces to your black tea would fabulously combine with each other, while some fruits may overpower the black tea. Fruits like lemon, strawberry, peach, apple, blueberry, raspberry, mango, orange, pineapple, passion fruits, and many others pair well with black teas.
Floral Black Teas
Flowers blended with black tea always give the cup an excellent, lovely finish. Flowers can add nuance and elegance to black tea's intense, rich flavors. However, as the floral hints are always delicate and smooth, a light or medium-strength black tea would be ideal for pairing. Both fresh and dried flowers would add flavors to the cup as they are brewed hot after mixing with black tea. Flowers like jasmine, rose, lavender, chamomile, and hibiscus pair well with black tea in general. Rose flowers add sweetness and fragrance to the teacup, while lavender adds a savory bite to the tea. Likewise, most of the flowers that are ideal for blending with black tea make perfect pairing options, giving different characteristics to the teacup.
Nutty Black Teas
Some of the black tea varieties possess nutty flavors. So nuts pair well with those types of black teas, giving a perfect and enhancing nutty flavor in the mouth. Nuts are widely used as more of a snack or a topping than a flavor, but nuts create a wonderful taste experience when it blend with tea. More than infusing the characteristics of nuts when tea is brewing, they give a direct flavor when it is biting while sipping a cup of black tea. The nuts, like almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, and others, pair perfectly well with black tea. Almonds give a sweet tea blended with black tea, while pecans provide a hearty, stalwart base for the black tea cup.
Chai Black Teas
Chai is a term that has evolved from what South India used to call "tea" and eventually spread worldwide as a word that represents spicy teas. Chai is a mix of spices with different tastes, like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, nutmeg, pepper, and many more. All the spices together make a perfect spicy blend that gives a wonderful taste in the mouth. Assam black teas pair well with a chai blend, and it is often combined with cream or served as a latte. The spices, black tea, and cream flavors will bring you to a spicy world with a beautiful taste that will delight your taste buds.
Black Tea Benefits
Black tea is a world-renowned refreshing, awakening, and relaxing beverage with a delicate but strong astringent taste. Moreover, it is gifted with plenty of health benefits due to its richness in natural chemical compounds. Black tea is a beverage rich in antioxidants, caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins, theanine, and some micronutrients. Therefore, it has been considered a medicinal beverage for centuries and a healthy refreshing drink nowadays. Some of the health benefits of black tea you would be wondering about are listed below.
- Increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and energy booster
- Anti-cancer properties
- Improve heart health
- Highly rich source of antioxidants
- Improve metabolism
- Improve gut health
- Prevent diabetes
- Controls high levels of cholesterols
- Minimize kidney stones
- Improve oral health
- Minimize osteoporosis
Tea is one of the most incredible beverages in the world, packed with flavorful characteristics as well as health benefits. Having just a tea cup would quench your thirst but would not satisfy your passion for delighting the taste buds. There are several tea types in the world, giving different characteristics and flavor profiles, and different food types pair well with each tea type. The main fact that needs to be considered is how the flavor profiles match each other. Black tea is one of the leading tea types in the world that gives a blackish tea particle color and a bright dark reddish cup color after brewing it.
There are several black tea types in the world, like Assam, Darjeeling, Kenyan, and Ceylon. The black tea brew possesses a malty, slightly astringent, bitter taste profile, and these tastes differ depending on the tea type. The different types of black tea that have different taste profiles pair well with foods that have similar flavor profiles. In general, when considering what goes well with black tea, the food items like fruits, flowers, nuts, desserts, and Chai are already identified food items, and you are totally free to be adventurous and introduce some more to the list on your own. So, what will be your answer to the question, "What goes well with black tea?"