Tea has an impressive diversity of natural flavours. For example, green tea is often delicate and sweet while black tea is just as often brisk and bold. When it comes to flavour, these two styles are just the tip of the iceberg.
What happens when you blend tea with flowers, fruits, and spices? Magic.
Today, we’re talking about how everyday kitchen ingredients can enhance your tea experience.
Before you blending tea with other ingredients, it’s important to understand the nature of the tea you’re using. Remember, there are many types of tea styles with wildly different flavours!
For example, if white tea is made at low temperatures with short steeping times, it has a delicate flowery flavour. At higher temperatures and higher steeping times, white tea is bold and “woodsy”. This is because white tea is typically harvested during early spring when tea trees just begin their bloom. White tea contains unprocessed leaves and buds that often still have their downy fuzz.
What therefore goes well with white tea? Fruits such as peaches, pears, and wildberries -- ingredients that enhance the organic blooming flavours of white tea.
Sencha green tea is very different from white tea in that is savory and umami. The longer you brew sencha, the more intense these flavours become. Puffed rice is therefore a great ingredient to blend with sencha, and brings out nutty notes that is world renowned as the genmaicha blend.
Our advice for picking a base tea? Go with a flavour you like, and consider ways you can enhance it.
Certain ingredients work well with select varieties of tea, but that does not mean they work well with all varieties. Milk, which is a beloved companion with black tea, isn’t so great in white tea. Mint is amazing with green tea but isn’t so amazing with pu’ehr.
A great rule of thumb in picking your ingredients is choosing what precise qualities you want to emphasize. Do you want something full-bodied? Pick a brisk tea and add toasted rice or barley. What about something fruity? Pick a delicate tea and add coconut with lemongrass.
You can actually add as many ingredients to your blends as your like. Traditional masala chai is often blended with as many as 12 ingredients, including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, peppercorn, and milk. All these ingredients bring out the rich spiciness of Assam black tea, and the taste is legendary.
Tea blends come in many varieties, but so do taste preferences. What someone claims is their ideal cup of tea might be a nightmare to someone else. Or maybe you might be of the opinion that a blend everyone swears by can be better with some additions.
Our friends at Aromatica Fine Teas are a case in point. All over the world, people love the famous Earl Grey blend of black tea and oil of bergamot. With some additional experimenting, Aromatica enhanced traditional Earl Grey tea by adding vanilla, hibiscus, and lavender petals. The results are terrific.
What tea blends are yet to be discovered? Perhaps the next time you gaze into your kitchen, you might find ingredients to enhance your typical cup of tea. By following your curiosity, you might enjoy something that nobody’s ever tried before.
Who knows? You might be the inventor of the next famous tea blend.