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An unlikely pair: Tea & cheese

By Kym Cooper. Posted
The Steepery Tea Co - Tea & Cheese paired evening

Whilst the idea of tea & cheese pairing is not a new idea in the culinary or tea world it is certainly something new in the Brisbane (Australia) market. When we share the idea of pairing tea and cheese together I am mostly met with some curious looks followed by questions about the absence of wine.

Whenever we work on a project involving tea the first criteria for us is to ensure that pure leaf tea remains the hero. We respect tea and the people that create the tea too much to play down the product to just some ubiquitous 'tea' ingredient. For us, bringing a Tea & Cheese pairing evening to Brisbane is about showcasing the diversity and versatility of pure leaf tea and making it more approachable to a larger demographic. We believe a well-executed tea and cheese pairing makes for a sensational culinary experience and showcases tea & cheese equally. Read on to learn about the tea that makes this pairing ever so perfect.  

The tea matters, a lot!

Let's make it clear from the start that the true tea we refer to here is what we call pure leaf tea: comprised of the buds and/or leaves from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. The Camelia Sinensis has many varieties and cultivars that are used in tea production that are also important details to take note of when identifying the tea you are drinking.

If you are familiar with wine perhaps you can think of tea like wine. Tea and wine connoisseurs have a few things in common. They use similar terminology when discussing the botanicals of their products and they appreciate the characteristics of the respective products in a similar way. 

The Steepery Tea Co. - Matcha Tea & Cheese pairing

Don't forget tea is an agricultural product, similar to wine, with many variables impacting the way the tea will taste, smell and feel in the mouth. Both the terroir (e.g., climate, soils & terrain) and the hands of the skilled tea makers will influence the final product. Due to the many variables in tea making (inc. cultivars and processing) the result is a myriad of tea types and styles being available (e.g., white, green, oolong, black or fermented teas). Each style of tea has a unique aroma and flavour that will be different for each harvest.   

Throw in some respectful tea brewing, taking into account the temperature and extraction times for the infusion to draw out the teas best qualities and you start to bring this tea and cheese pairing to life. As with wine, there are optimal temperatures and glassware that makes the enjoyment of this pairing extra special. During our tea & cheese pairing evening, I will personally be there preparing and serving the tea to ensure that it can be thoroughly enjoyed.

The magic really comes to life with this pairing with the introduction of the hot infusion of tea. This is something that tea has over wine! By taking a sip of hot tea first followed by a bite of cheese the warmth of the tea liquor softens or melts the cheese in your mouth and can bring out some subtle notes in the cheese or the tea that may otherwise go undetected. It really is delightful.

The Steepery Tea Co. - Tea & Food pairing with oolong tea

Of course, the cheese matters equally as much. We are thrilled to be collaborating and bringing this evening together with another local Brisbane business, Emile & Solange. We have worked together to create pairings designed to really excite the senses and have particularly been mindful of the tactile experience in the mouth. We will be sharing some of the tea & cheese pairings from our events shortly. 

We would love to see you at one of our Tea & Cheese pairing evenings. You can book your tickets here.

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