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White tea served in a ceramic mug and pairing sweets

Discovering What Goes Well with White Tea: Flavor Adventures!

Nov 24, 2023

Shanika Dasanayaka

Dear Tea J Tea lovers! Welcome to another delightful journey into the world of tea and flavors! Today, we set our focus on the delicate and refreshing world of white tea and answer one ordinary tea pairing question: what goes well with white tea?

Of course, white tea is a drink that you can have without any additives, but how can you simply drink such a luxurious tea as it is? It certainly needs a companion. Let's find out how to make the taste of white tea more extravagant.

Tea is always an excellent beverage that can quench your thirst while refreshing your mind and body and bringing you more health benefits. Tea derives from the fresh buds of the tea plant. But based on the mode of processing, there are different types of teas available in the world, each with unique taste profiles and characteristics. Black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, pu-erh tea, matcha tea, and sencha tea are some of the most consumed tea types in the world by now.

Having something with a cup of tea is always pleasurable, rather than just drinking it. Yet, the flavors of the teas and foods must pair well to make your tea moment enjoyable. The art of tea making and pairing is almost addictive, as we naturally desire to explore more and more pairing possibilities. 

Let's learn what goes well with white tea and how to master the art of pairing white tea with foods.

What is White Tea?

White tea is the most luxurious and delicate tea variety among all the types of tea in the world. Its top quality and rarity make this tea an exclusive kind. The tea possesses an adorable, pleasant taste in the brew, along with a light yellowish or greenish cup color and a floral aroma. As you already know, white tea includes the bud of a tea flush and is harvested before the bud is fully opened and still covered with fine white hairs. The tea has a bright silver-colored appearance due to these white hairs. White tea holds the title of the healthiest tea type among the rest, as it contains the highest level of antioxidants. This tea skips the oxidation phase during its production and only goes through a light withering and drying step under the shade.

Types of White Tea

The first white tea made in China is still considered a true type of white tea. It originates from a unique tea variety where the bud of the tea flush is covered with plenty of white hair. This is the white tea type we call "silver needle tea". 

With time, new white tea varieties have emerged in the marketplace, and many countries outside China are producing their own versions of white tea. Now we can find white tea types with partially opened buds, no needle shape, fewer silver hairs, and many more. Let's see what types of white tea are produced worldwide. 

Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle)

Bai Hao Yin Zhen, or Silver Needle White Tea, is made in the Fuding and Zhenghe regions of Yunnan Province, China. The original tea varieties or cultivars of Chinese white tea are the sources that produce Bai Hao Yin Zhen white tea, and it represents traditional white tea. The large and full buds covered with a thick white downy hair layer become white tea after drying. This tea is considered the most luxurious of all white tea types, as it has a delicate taste and a beautiful silver needle-like appearance.

Bai Mudan (White Peony)

Bai Mudan white tea is a newly cultivated and introduced white tea variety in China, and it is also already grown in other tea-growing countries. This tea uses the tea bush that produces original Chinese white tea and several different tea varieties. White peony tea includes the hairy tea bud and unfurled or barely opened young tea leaves of the tea flush.

Monkey Picked White Tea

Though the tea plant cultivates and is maintained as a shrub, it is a woody perennial tree that grows similarly to other large trees. According to the legends, in the mountain regions of China, some areas still have wild tea trees descended from ancient tea plants. And the story says that the Buddhist monks who meditated in these mountains trained monkeys to pick the tea buds from the highest wild tea tree tops. They used to drink these teas after drying. However, don't worry! Today this monkey-picked white tea is not picked by monkeys anymore. But the term is used even today to denote a very high-quality Chinese white tea made from tender tea flushes.

 Darjeeling White Tea

Darjeeling white tea originates from a unique tea variety that is native to the Darjeeling region of India. This tea variety is not 100% equal to the original Chinese white tea plant. It has similar physical attributes to Chinese white tea but has less white hair and is smaller. Further, the taste profile of Darjeeling white tea is unique over Chinese white tea, though the tea processing method is the same.

Learning What Goes Well with White Tea 

White tea has a delicately mellow, fresh, floral, fruity flavor with a hint of melon or cucumber in the tea brew. Therefore, foods with similar taste profiles would pair well with white tea and enhance the taste of tea and the food. Selecting which food pairs best with white tea is always a challenge, but if you are creative enough, you may sense the better pairing options. Based on already-identified facts, let's see what goes well with white tea.

Fish

Fish is a food that possesses a mild-flavored and often slightly sweet taste. White tea also contains similar taste characteristics. Therefore, white fish pairs well with white tea, and the combination does not drown out the flavor.

Oatmeal/ Yogurt

Oatmeal tastes rather bland with some slight earthy notes, while yogurt tastes sweet, savory, sour, and rich. Both oatmeal and yogurt subtly impact the mouth, as does white tea. Therefore, the taste profiles match well, and each flavor does not overwhelm the mouth. Adding some fresh berries to the combination would make you feel surprised.

Strawberry Shortcake or Pastry Desserts

As white tea has a fruity taste, desserts with light and fruity flavors, like strawberry shortcake or other berry or pastry desserts, pair well with white tea. Combining similar taste profiles would bring an outstanding tea experience without surpassing each other.

Chocolate

Chocolate contains much sugar and milk, which would overpower the mild light taste of white tea. However, white chocolate gives a rich, buttery flavor with notes of sweet cream and a luxurious velvety mouthfeel that pairs well with white tea. The sweetness of white chocolate would retain in the mouth and enhance the slightly sweet flavor of white tea.

Fresh Cheese

Cheese has a complex flavor range that gives sweet, mild, milky, buttery, delicate, salty, sharp, acidic, tart, tangy, smoky, yeasty flavors in one bite. In comparison, white tea also gives a mild light taste. The flavor profiles combine and provide an excellent fusion when pairing the two together. Adding a bit of honey to white tea would add a perfect touch to the blend. 

Basmati Rice

Well-cooked basmati rice delivers a mild nutty and floral taste and a slightly sweet aftertaste. All these flavor characters matched well with the subtle flavor of white tea, resulting in a perfect pairing combination.

Vegetable Salads

Vegetable salads typically include cabbage, carrots, beans, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, etc. A common characteristic of these vegetables is light flavor. When combined together, a vegetable salad gives a beautiful mild flavor profile that pairs well with the subtle flavor of white tea. Adding a drop of lime would improve the feeling, providing a citrusy touch to the combination.

Final Thoughts on White Tea Pairing

Tea is always perfect when paired with refreshments, enhancing the overall tea experience. White tea is one of the most luxurious tea beverages in the world. It has a beautiful, appealing tea appearance and gives an elegant, mild flavor to the brew. Some sources state that white tea contains the highest amount of antioxidants that any beverage possesses. Therefore, it is considered a healthy tea beverage.

There are several types of white teas in the marketplace, and silver needle white tea, white peony white tea, monkey picked white tea, and Darjeeling white tea are highly recognized as quality white teas. When considering what goes well with white tea, there are already some food pairing options like white tea with fish, oatmeal, yogurt, strawberry shortcake, pastry desserts, chocolate, fresh cheese, basmati rice, and vegetable salads.

There is no hard rule for searching for what goes well with white tea, so you are free to be adventurous and try new pairings. Are you ready to be creative, accept the challenge, and create your own white tea pairing recipe? Start now with a cup of Tea J Tea white tea!

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