All About Tea: Your Guide for Food Pairing and Caffeine Content

Do know your teas? Every tea offers different tastes and flavors that can pair with a variety of foods. They also range in caffeine content. So if you’re looking for a great pairing or would like to know which tea has more or less caffeine, read on.

White

White teas offer delicate, subtle, and complex flavors. The caffeine content is usually less since white tea is often steeped for a shorter time frame. It’s said to have about 30-55 mg per 8 oz cup.

White teas often pair well with  foods that are more subtle in flavor, such as rice, cucumber salad, or lightly seasoned seafood.  It’s probably best to avoid stronger flavored foods that may take away from the delicate taste of the tea.

Green

Green tea may have more of a worldly feel, because it’s known throughout many countries. Japanese green teas are often more of a grassy flavor. They usually pair well with mild foods such as seafood, chicken, fish, salads, and melon. However, Chinese green teas are often more smoky and can make a good pairing to pan friend poultry, potatoes, and some lighter stir-fries. But, this tea can also come in a fruitier flavor (Ceylon and Indian green teas) which can be delightful served with baked meats, chicken sandwiches, and fruit salads. This variety is also delicious as an iced tea.

Green tea often has a higher caffeine content than white, but less than Oolong. Its range is about 35-70 mg per 8 oz cup.

Oolong

You may want to drink Oolong tea all by itself. Because it can have a complex flavor. However, these teas can range from green to black, which may give you an option to pair. If you have a greener variety you can try it with lobster, scallops, or rich/sweet menu items. If it’s a blacker variety, then you may want to pair it with grilled meats or duck.

Oolong tea’s caffeine content usually weighs in around 50-75 mg per 8 oz cup.

Black

Black teas are a robust choice and can often be paired with foods that have fuller flavors. A fruity black tea will probably pair well with sweet desserts. These teas are usually more notable of India and Sri Lanka. Smoky black teas (often from China) are better pairings for dark meats and chocolate (but not overly sweet dishes). Earthy black teas (usually from Yunnan and Africa) pair better with blackened meats and mashed potatoes (but avoid the sweets).

Black teas are often higher in caffeine. They run about 60-90 mgs per 8 oz cup. This is less than coffee, which is about 150-200 mg per 8 oz cup.

Herbal and Fruit

There are other teas labeled as herbal blends or fruit infusions. They are more accurately called tisanes, because they are actually made from herbs, fruits, and/or botanicals that are brewed like tea. These are often caffeine free.

For more great pairings you can visit Arbor Teas or River Teas pairing guide.

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