How to Pair Tea and Chocolate
Are you a chocolate and tea lover? Discover how to combine your two favorite indulgences with our ultimate guide to pairing cocoa-infused candy with hot tea. Whether you're in the mood for an afternoon pick-me-up or hosting a party with guests, our tips will help you create a delightful tasting experience that reveals new and exciting flavor notes.
If you love them both, then you’re in luck! This guide will provide the basics for pairing your favorite cocoa-infused candy with your favorite hot beverage whether it’s for a movie night alone at home or an afternoon party with guests.
Just like wine, teas have a variety of flavor profiles that can complement or balance the flavor notes in chocolate. Also, like pairing wine with food, pairing tea with chocolate requires a bit of strategy. You can choose a tea that complements the flavor notes in the chocolate, or you can pair to balance or enhance a particular characteristic. Indulge in your favorite guilty pleasures and elevate your tasting experience with our guide to pairing chocolate and tea.
What is Cacao?
Before we dive into the best chocolate and tea pairings, let's take a moment to learn more about the origin of cacao. Cacao is cocoa that is raw and minimally processed. It comes from pods harvested from cacao trees found in South America, West Africa, and some parts of Asia. These pods go through a multi-step process that includes fermenting, drying, roasting, extracting, and grinding to create the best decadent chocolate treat. After the process of fermenting, drying, roasting, extracting, and grinding, a non-alcoholic liquor is produced. Cocoa butter, the primary ingredient in a candy bar or box of Russel Stover's, is extracted from the liquor. What’s left is dried and ground into cocoa powder. The amount of cacao liquor used determines how dark the chocolate is and the percentage of cacao in the product. The kind we are most familiar with becomes your favorite candy bar through the addition of cocoa butter, sugar, cacao liquor, and powdered or condensed milk.
Pairing Tea with Milk Chocolate
For those who love milk chocolate, it's important to choose a tea that complements its creamy taste. Since milk chocolate has a lower cacao content (usually between 10% and 40%), black teas that go well with milk are great choices. Popular options include Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or Chai. Fruit, nut, and spice blends can also work well, such as those that include raspberries, strawberries, oranges, or almonds. Think of combinations like raspberries, strawberries, oranges, and almonds. If you prefer green teas, try a Japanese sencha, which is a stronger green tea, but only slightly astringent. Remember to be careful when adding milk to your tea when tasting milk chocolate, as it can alter the flavor pairing.
Pairing Tea with White Chocolate
White chocolate is characterized by its sweetness and low cacao percentage. High-quality versions are not only sweet, but smooth and creamy. When pairing teas with white chocolate, avoid adding sweeteners to your cup and consider flavors traditionally found in a white chocolate bar or truffle. Nutty and fruity tasting notes, coconut, and lemon are likely good selections. For example, our Nutty Green loose leaf, 901-of-A-Kind Coconut Almond (black tea), or Memphis Meadow Lemon Cream (rooibos) would pair well with white chocolate.
Pairing Tea With Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains over 40% cacao and has a rich, bitter taste with fruity flavor notes. For example, we have recently introduced two Ritual chocolate bars each boasting 70% cacao - The Fleur De Sel with French sea salt and the Mid Mountain, which is a blend of cacao from a variety of origins. These bars, like other high-quality ones, are rich, bitter, and full of fruity flavor notes. Suggestions for pairing include a full-bodied Indian Assam, a Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling with its hints of cocoa and fruity muscatel, or the Raspberry Vanilla rooibos.
Most Important Part
Have fun! The flavor combinations are almost endless. Make a mistake? Simply try again. After all you’re tasting chocolate and tea, so how bad could it really be? To get an idea for the variety of options, visit our website, read the descriptions of our teas and easily purchase them in our online store.