If you're thinking of throwing a tea party, consider mixing things up with your own custom tea blends. For a take on a traditional High Tea, serve your custom blend of strong, hot tea in the late afternoon along with a hot meal. Afternoon Tea is more of an upper-crust tradition that pairs hot tea with dainty cakes and sandwiches.
Basics of blending tea
Start with a high-quality loose tea as a base. The options include:
- White tea. This tea is minimally processed and has a delicate, subtle flavor.
- Green tea. Quickly processed after harvesting, this tea can be mild, grassy or nutty in flavor.
- Oolong tea. Complex, floral and aromatic, this tea is only partially fermented.
- Black tea. Made from the same plant as green and oolong tea, black tea is fully fermented and has a rich, tannic flavor.
You can make a blend by mixing the types above together or get especially creative with a vast array of flavor choices. The key to a successful mix is balance. Delicate floral flavors would be overpowered by robust black tea, for example.
If your base is black tea, mix it with intense flavors like spice, mint and cocoa. Think of chai tea as an excellent example of a winning black tea blend.
Zingy accents pair well with green teas. Citrus and ginger flavors work very well with this milder type of tea. If your green tea base tends to be on the bitter side, fruity berry flavors can balance the pungency of the tea leaves.
There's a wide variety of flavor with oolong teas. If the oolong is mild, follow the tips for green tea, and if it's strong, treat it like black tea by blending it with spicy or sweet additives.
Just as with blending teas, pairing them with food is an art. A general rule is to match like with like. For example, pair a delicate white tea with mild tasting food like basmati rice. Black teas, with their intense, tannin-rich flavors, go well with hearty, flavorful dishes like meat and curries. Green tea has a subtle, vegetative flavor that's excellent alongside mild-flavored foods, such as seafood, rice, salads or poultry.
Tea and chocolate go together as naturally as wine and cheese. Like tea, chocolate has varying levels of richness and notes of flavor. Milk chocolate can pair wonderfully with black tea and milk. Jasmine green tea is a superb complement to dark chocolate with floral notes. Green tea also goes well with orange-imbued chocolate.
Whether you're planning a cozy tea party for two or a large get-together with all your friends, the possibilities for customized tea blends and pairings will keep you endlessly entertained. Visit a tea house like Clumzy Clover Teas & Treasures for more great ideas.Share