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Richard Kilgore

Tea with food?

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I'm trying to get into the habit of serving tea with my evening meal, actually. If I'm serving Japanese food, I'll use some genmaicha, and I have a traditional-style oolong I serve with most Chinese dishes. I'm a little worried about the caffeine content some evenings, so I'd like to get some mugi-cha - is that barley tea? Which I think complements meals nicely. My neighbourhood restaurant serves a chamomile tea in the evenings, with full whole buds - I'd never been a fan of chamomile until I tried that.

I also have a few sachets of lemongrass tea I pull out if I've made a Thai or Vietnamese dish.

My parents always had tea after a meal when I was growing up, big mugs of builder's tea with evaporated milk. I don't think I could handle that.

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You may find this topic on Barley Tea of interest. Maybe also this one on Korean Roasted Corn Tea.

I drink chamomile quite often in the evenings, but not with food. What foods do you think it pairs well with?

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When I make any type of Asian food--Chinese, Viet or Japanese--I like beer or tea. Well, more likely beer in hot weather. But one of my favorite meals is home-made potstickers and a pot of tea. Until recently, when caffeine as well as acid content was not an issue for me, I liked Genmai Cha or Chinese Jasmine Green tea, a particular brand that's cheap and delicious that I buy in Chinatown here. Lately I've been drinking White Peony Jasmine tea, which is typically brewed weak and seems to have minimal caffeine. If money was no object I would be drinking Jasmine buds or pearls. A friend received a lavish gift of just pearls and it was heavenly.

I went through a phase two years ago where I became addicted to this meal for lunch during the fall and holiday months: pear or apple, Stilton on buttered crackers (talk about rich) and Earl Grey. I switched every few months or so between Earl G with lavender, and Earl G with bergamot, always with milk.

Other nice pairings: Rice pudding and Keemun. Steel cut oatmeal and English Breakfast tea.

As for chamomile, well, I have a hard time with that one. It seems like something a goat or sheep would graze on. Maybe with buttered wheat toast, a jar of apricot baby food and a couple of Advil?

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I drink chamomile quite often in the evenings, but not with food. What foods do you think it pairs well with?

It seems to cut the oil in a lot of the fried dishes I end up ordering. I'm going to experiment more, and see what goes best with it.

As for chamomile, well, I have a hard time with that one. It seems like something a goat or sheep would graze on. Maybe with buttered wheat toast, a jar of apricot baby food and a couple of Advil?

I used to agree with you, but when they serve it in china, they use several spoons full of whole dried blossoms. The flavour is delicate, but not pallid or grassy.

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Yes, the quality of chamomile varies widely. Most I see in grocery stores, from Asian groceries to the high end Central Market, is pretty pitiful looking. I have been getting superb Chamomile for years from The Cultured Cup; they have been great at sourcing the best. A heaping teaspoon per cup for five minutes or two or three teaspoons for two or three minutes, both good.

I'll be interested to see what you find out as far as chamomile pairing goes, Erin.

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I more often drink tea by itself, or make it according to what tea I'm interested in drinking at the time. I've never deliberately paired it with food. If what I'm eating doesn't pair well with the tea I have ready, I drink water until the food is gone, then resume with the tea.

I have noticed, no surprise, that almost any tea goes well with bland buttery cookies, but not all teas stand up well to strongly spiced curries. That's about as far as I've gotten.

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The 2009 Spring Norbu - Lao Mansa Sheng Pu-Erh Tea that we are tasting hereis the fist tea I've had that begs to be enjoyed with food. I have enjoyed it with buttered toast with jam and today I had it with a little bit of crab with butter that I had for lunch. I like this tea very much on its own but with food it is even more enjoyable.

There is one Chinese restaurant that I frequent in Cleveland and I have taken to drinking their "flower tea" (chrysanthimum) with my meals there. They usually serve a low grade jasmine tea but I don't care for that with food. Some how I stumbled across the fact that they serve chrysanthemum tea and I'm glad I did.

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I've found that tea and wine and food have some fantastic synergies. Just wine and tea can complement each other and bring out nuances... Try a NZ Sauv. Blanc after a few sips of a ginseng ooling for a real shock of pleasure to the taste buds.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I had a really cool tea/food pairing occur spontaneously last night. I was drinking a very nice Da Hong Pao sample I was sent a while back while making stock and doing some general kitchen work, and I ended up cooking up a link of Morcilla de Cebolla (Spanish blood sausage with onions) that I found at Central Market as a treat. Morcilla is one of my favorite occasional indulgences when I can find it, but I never tried to pair a tea with it because I just assumed its assertive, super irony & mineraly flavors would overpower any tea. Well, long story short, I took a bite and then sort of absent-mindedly took a sip of the Da Hong Pao and was very pleased with the results. Something about the mineraly flavor of the morcilla went perfectly (to my taste buds at least) with the earthy/mineraly/woodsy/fruity flavors of the tea. In the oolong topic, people have been discussing a hard to describe mineraly "rock" taste in the Wuyi oolongs, and this pairing really highlighted this aspect of the flavor profile that my palate tended to accept and overlook as just a part of the flavor of the individual tea cultivars. This was totally unexpected, but it looks like I'm going to be pairing Wu Yi teas with more irony dishes containing game or offal or whatever else that has a mineral component in the taste from now on. I love happy accidents like this.


Greg

www.norbutea.com

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I had a happy accident today, eating garlic potatoes with some of my favorite white bud sheng puerh from norbu. There is so much garlic in these potatoes that I ca still taste it, and it blends brilliantly with this puerh.

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I had a really cool tea/food pairing occur spontaneously last night. I was drinking a very nice Da Hong Pao sample I was sent a while back while making stock and doing some general kitchen work, and I ended up cooking up a link of Morcilla de Cebolla (Spanish blood sausage with onions) that I found at Central Market as a treat. Morcilla is one of my favorite occasional indulgences when I can find it, but I never tried to pair a tea with it because I just assumed its assertive, super irony & mineraly flavors would overpower any tea. Well, long story short, I took a bite and then sort of absent-mindedly took a sip of the Da Hong Pao and was very pleased with the results. Something about the mineraly flavor of the morcilla went perfectly (to my taste buds at least) with the earthy/mineraly/woodsy/fruity flavors of the tea. In the oolong topic, people have been discussing a hard to describe mineraly "rock" taste in the Wuyi oolongs, and this pairing really highlighted this aspect of the flavor profile that my palate tended to accept and overlook as just a part of the flavor of the individual tea cultivars. This was totally unexpected, but it looks like I'm going to be pairing Wu Yi teas with more irony dishes containing game or offal or whatever else that has a mineral component in the taste from now on. I love happy accidents like this.

That is very interesting. I would have thought that the minerality of a tea like that would have made the iron/minerality of the sausage too much. Cool that it worked so well together.

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I had a happy accident today, eating garlic potatoes with some of my favorite white bud sheng puerh from norbu. There is so much garlic in these potatoes that I ca still taste it, and it blends brilliantly with this puerh.

I like that white bud sheng pu erh from Norbu. I had it last week with a very rich brunch and it was a nice pairing.

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That is very interesting. I would have thought that the minerality of a tea like that would have made the iron/minerality of the sausage too much. Cool that it worked so well together.

The mineraly component of the Da Hong Pao is pretty subtle to my taste, so I didn't think it was too much at all. Frankly, I had never thought of some of the flavors of a tea like Da Hong Pao as "mineraly" at all until I read some of the posts on the oolong topic. I just accepted it and considered it an unnamed (or perhaps un-reflected-upon by me) part of the Wu Yi Yan Cha flavor profile, so after thinking about the "rock/mineral taste" I wasn't surprised to see some harmony emerge with an assertively irony dish like blood sausage. I really didn't focus on how the subtle sweet/fruity aspects of Yan Cha really set the morcilla off in my post, but, to make a comparison to the wine world, I imagine this tea paired up with it just like a red wine with some fruit and mineral components would have. I should say that I really like uber-assertive & bold flavors, though (which is why I cook & eat like a Szechuan/Korean grandmother with an iron stomach most of the time), so this pairing might not be suitable to everyone's tastes.


Greg

www.norbutea.com

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Some people may wish to note that the tannins in tea interfere with the absorption of non-heme iron, so that those suffering from iron deficiency are advised to wait an hour after meals before drinking tea. However, there is some evidence that regular tea drinkers adapt by secreting high levels of proteins in the saliva which bind with tannins so that they no longer interfere with iron absorption. As an iron-deficient lover of tea with meals, I was very happy to learn that the answer may be to DRINK MORE TEA.

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As Richard knows, I am far less sophisticated than he is. But I don't think I have shared with him the fact that a traditional British fish and chip "supper" would not be complete unless accompanied by a pot of black tea, served with milk, of course. Darjeeling would be my choice.

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The depth of knowledge among the members of egullet never fails to astound me!

I spent a bit of time on a farm in Germany (Schleswig Holstein) years ago, and the evening meal, Abendbrot, was often eaten with tea. I only remember people taking it black, usually with sugar and often in glasses rather than cups or mugs. Abendbrot was always a variety of cold cuts, cheeses, etc (maybe also a cold boiled egg leftover from breakfast or a piece of meat from lunch) eaten on bread as an open sandwich with a knife and fork.

I still enjoy a cup of tea with rye bread and cheese or ham or salami. It works with a wide variety of teas, but I like it best with something lighter and slightly fragrant. Lady Grey is my current favourite. The flavours of the food are strong, but the tea seems to enhance it rather than be swallowed by it.

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