Drinking tea

Pairing tea and cheese: tips from Steffi

Move over, ‘cheese and wine night’—tea is taking the stage from now on! You probably already know that I drink tea with everything. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you in my blog post “Why Tea Pairs Better with Food than Wine” that tea is a superior match for food compared to alcoholic beverages. In this blog post, I take on the challenge of serving tea with your next cheese platter.

Lately, I’ve delved into the world of cheese because it pairs so wonderfully with tea. I wanted to experiment with this and, I must say, the results are phenomenal! Cheese is the perfect candidate to amplify the taste of both the tea and the cheese itself, either making it stronger or softer. Heat also plays a role, by the way. Anyone who has compared the taste of cheese both cold and heated, grilled or melted, knows that there can be significant differences. Tea’s temperature plays a role here too, allowing for experimentation not only with which tea goes with which cheese but also whether to serve it warm, cold, or lukewarm.

What I also find fascinating is to serve two types of tea with one cheese, which really highlights the differences between the teas—a true revelation for gourmets!

For cheese pairings, we usually opt for pure teas to bring out their complex undertones—through the combination with cheese, these flavors come to the foreground. While some blends and infusions also pair well with cheese, it’s primarily the ‘real teas’ from Camellia Sinensis that shine in this context.

Soft Cheeses

For these, we choose a Camembert, preferably a Camembert di Bufala. We use floral notes in our tea to complement this slightly salty taste. White teas, especially Bai Mu Dan and Shangri La, are perfect for this pairing.

Serve the white tea at 80 degrees Celsius. Both freshly brewed and cooled, these teas harmonize beautifully with the cheese.

Semi-Soft Cheese

Think of a French Chaumes, for instance. Its soft flavor pairs perfectly with Japanese green teas like our strong-flavored Sencha Fukujyu. Sencha also works wonderfully with cheese, whether served warm or cold.

Hard Cheese

For hard cheeses, I chose a Comté. With its unique and spicy flavor with nutty undertones, I like to pair it with an oolong tea. Our Jin Xuan from Thailand, with its milky and floral tones, creates a delicious balance with this cheese. It’s a great combination, both hot and lukewarm.

Soft Blue Cheese

Soft blue cheeses are traditionally paired with black tea, particularly Darjeeling from North India. Any blue cheese matches well with this tea. For those looking to be a bit fancier, a first flush Darjeeling is a prime choice—if you can get your hands on it. However, it’s not just Darjeeling that works well. I experimented with a creamy Blue de Bresse with blue mold and went off the traditional path by pairing it with an Earl Grey blend, where black tea meets bergamot oil, which also complements the cheese harmoniously.

Hard Blue Cheese

Hard blue cheeses appeal to the adventurous, and for those who dare, pair it with one of the boldest tasting teas in the tea world: Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang is a smoked black tea. Its combination with the distinctive flavor of blue cheese is akin to pairing chorizo with cheese.

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese also finds its match in tea pairing. Green tea, served lukewarm, pairs well with it. I experimented with various green teas, and our Korean Woojeon stood out in particular. If you’re a fan of comparing teas or want to delve deeper into the subtle tones of tea, choose two green teas, like the Korean Woojeon and a Long Jing, to further explore the delicate nuances of tea.

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