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Experimenting with various types of tea and combining them with other flavours can be a really fun experience. With thousands of ingredients and spices available around us, choosing the right pairs to incorporate in your baked goods will result in a flavour combination that a single ingredient can never produce.
Sometimes these combinations are as common as matcha and white chocolate, but they can also be unique and surprising like white tea and camembert. To know whether or not a flavour combination works, try taking a sip of the tea, and take a bite of something that contains the other flavour. Does it make you cringe, or does it create an entirely new and enjoyable experience? If the latter happens, the chances are that the flavour combination will work in any type of baked goods.
You can use any brand of tea while trying to find the right combinations, but we recommend getting high-quality ingredients to produce satisfying flavour pairings. Also, don’t be afraid to try combining flavours you don’t enjoy in their pure form – there’s a huge possibility that you’ll start enjoying them once you pair them with the right stuff and create an entirely new flavour combination!
One of our favourite flavours in our favourite cookie — Earl Grey w/ Dark Chocolate Cookies
Various flavours can either complement, contrast, or enhance the taste of tea. A pair that doesn’t have the same characteristics but is still compatible will complement each other, like the combination of matcha and white chocolate. When two contrasting flavours such as Genmaicha and Citrus are combined, the flavours will highlight the differences, making your baked goods taste unique and offers a nice surprise.
And obviously, you can combine two flavours with similar characteristics such as Hojicha and Nutty flavours to develop a more robust but earthy flavour profile. An ideal flavour combination should not make any of the flavours get overpowered by the other ones.
How To Use This Tea Pairing Guide
Check out the tea flavour combinations below and try incorporating them in your baked goods.
Bake a tea-infused cake and make buttercream with a flavour that complements it. Or flavour a cookie base and add on toppings that complement it. We have included some information on where to get the some of the best quality for each of these teas in Singapore, so start exploring and baking some tea-licious stuff!
When tea leaves are grown under shade, they grow larger. It makes them produce more chlorophyll, and this is what gives matcha its bright green color and characteristic flavour. Instead of drying them up, these tea leaves are ground to a fine powder. Don’t confuse matcha with green tea – they’re different, and regular green tea won’t give your baked goods a rich flavour as matcha does.
Matcha pairs really well with white chocolate since its bitterness contrasts with the sweetness of the white chocolate. When these contrasting flavours are combined, a third “umami” flavour will emerge. Consisting of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar, white chocolate gives a smooth and creamy mouthfeel by the time it starts melting in your mouth. It’s a wonderful combination that works well in virtually any dessert, which is the reason why bakers and pâtissiers all over the world create stuff with this uniquely sweet flavour combination.
Premium Uji Matcha Powder from Tea Cottage ($18.90/20g)
100% Organic Matcha from T2 Tea Society ($30/30g)
Just like matcha, Hojicha is another Japanese tea that has a distinct color and flavour. However, hojicha has an entirely different flavour profile than that of matcha. If matcha’s taste is bright and clean, hojicha's nutty, earthy, and smoky. The nutty taste of hojicha can emphasise the flavour of nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts in your desserts or baked goods. Other than nuts, hojicha also tastes great with black sesame, maple syrup (!), chocolate, and caramel.
Want to learn to make this Hojicha Black Sesame Gateau? Join our baking school, and get a Class Pack to attend this class without having to get excess ingredients!
Incorporating culinary-grade hojicha powder is the best option when you’re making hojicha-flavoured treats. Loose-leaf hojicha infusion isn’t concentrated enough, and other flavours will probably overpower it. Use hojicha powder in place of coffee or matcha powder in any recipe – brownies, pancakes, you name it. You’ve got yourself some deliciously nutty stuff.
Hojicha Powder from Hvala ($38/100g)
Hojicha Powder from Matchaya ($16.90/30g)
Fine Hojicha Powder from Ette Tea Company ($12/30g)
3. Masala Chai
Masala chai is a type of Indian tea mixed with various spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. The complex, rich flavour of masala chai leads to the creation of chai-themed drinks and desserts. You might think it’s tricky to find a flavour combination that works well with masala chai since it’s already spicy and full-bodied by itself. Nonetheless, it’s still possible to pair masala chai with other flavours in baked goods.
Think of milk chocolate — This exotic tea tastes great mixed with sugar and milk, so it’ll undoubtedly make a marvellous combo when it meets milk chocolate in your baked goods. We were amazed by the way they complement each other as soon as it starts coating your tongue.
Masala Chai from Clipper Tea Co. ($20/100g)
4. White Tea
There are lots of white tea variations in Singapore, and they generally taste delicate, lightly, and mildly sweet. You might have never thought of combining tea and cheese, but white tea pairs wonderfully with ricotta! Ricotta will enhance the tea’s sweetness, while the tea’s flavour mellows out any excess saltiness from the cheese.
With both flavours having a light texture and mouthfeel, baked goods made with a combination of white tea and ricotta will be very comforting in terms of taste, especially when eaten as a dessert after a heavy or spicy meal. Besides ricotta, other types of fresh cheese such as burrata and mozzarella also pairs well with white tea.
1837 White Tea from TWG Tea ($17/50g)
5. Lapsang Souchong
This tea gets its robust, deep flavours from the smoke-drying process carried out using pinewood fires. Having dried longan aroma and smoky flavour, it will give your baked goods some flavours that can’t be achieved with any other types of tea. The flavours you find in Lapsang Souchong tea will complement sweeter flavours such as salted caramel.
It’s a common notion that the more flavour profiles a food contains, the more palatable and flavourful it will be. This tea can also mellow out the tanginess of citrus flavours, so don’t hesitate to try pairing it with lemons or oranges.
Imperial Lapsang Souchong from TWG Tea ($11/50g)
What we love the most about Genmaicha is the distinct nutty flavour of well-toasted brown rice (genmai), which also gives Genmaicha a cute alternative name – “popcorn tea”. The brown rice reduces the bitterness of the green tea it’s mixed with, which makes it a great choice if you’re aiming for baked goods with a sweeter taste. It has a relatively mild flavour, and that’s why most flavours combine well with Genmaicha. You can try combining Genmaicha with yuzu in one dessert to get an exciting combination of strong citrus flavour and roasted fragrance. Vanilla also pairs great with Genmaicha; these two aromatic ingredients will bring your baked goods to a whole new level!
7. Earl Grey
This bergamot-infused tea often gets a bad rep for being too acidic or too flavourful that it overpowers anything that gets combined with it. Well, that’s not true at all! Different types of Earl Grey have different notes – some are fruity and floral; the others are creamy and dark. If your earl grey is on the lighter side or has some fruity notes, it would make a great pair with floral flavours (e. g., lavender) or other fruits, fresh or dried, such as bananas or raisins. If the earl grey has a darker characteristic, try combining it with dark chocolate in a fudgy brownie, or make an Earl Grey-infused panna cotta that combines creaminess with the intense taste from Earl Grey.
French Earl Grey from TWG Tea ($9.75/50g)
Earl Grey Gentleman from TWG Tea ($11/50g)
Darjeeling gets its name from its origin, which is the Darjeeling region in West Bengal, India. This tea is often described to possess a wine-like profile, which gets the nickname of “the champagne of teas”. It has a unique, musky sweetness that can’t be found on any other type of tea.
Its intense flavour and aroma, combined with the fruity and floral notes, make Darjeeling black tea provide a pleasant contrast when it’s combined with sweet, creamy flavours in your baked goods. There’s actually a science behind this compatibility – the tannins contained in black teas such as Darjeeling cleanses any unwanted mouthfeel, only leaving the enjoyable sweetness. Darjeeling also pairs well with vanilla, rose, honey, or even spices like coriander.
Royal Darjeeling from TWG Tea ($14.75/50g)
Finest Darjeeling from Clipper Tea Co. ($24/50g)
9. Assam Black Tea
If you’ve ever had a cup of English Breakfast tea, the chances are that you’ve tasted Assam black tea. The popular orange-tinged Thai tea also uses Assam black tea as a base. It’s brisk, malty, and strong character, which also indicates a high caffeine content, makes it perfect for a wake-up drink. You might also find the roasted flavours in black tea somewhat reminiscent of bread. And of course, you can always make some black tea-infused baked goods for breakfast on-the-go!
The aromatic profile of Assam black tea is rather complex. To get the most of this tea, combine it with honey to get some bold-tasting baked goods that still have a lingering sweetness. Another great option is to pair it with fruits such as banana, strawberry, and pear. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins will also work well with black tea.
Assam Black Tea from Clipper Tea Co. ($20/100g)
There’s a reason why Pu-Erh teas are always in high demand. The long fermentation process carried out to produce Pu-Erh tea with the best quality gives them a deep, soothing, and fresh aroma. Pu-Erh tea has a complex combination of flavour notes, consisting of earthy and woodsy aromas that remind you of nature. Although these aromas are quite intense before the tea is steeped, it will mellow out and give you a smooth, refreshing sensation once it’s ready.
Combine the earthiness of this tea with dark chocolate, possibly those with bright and floral notes. In baked goods that contain dark chocolate, Pu-Erh can almost act like coffee, giving extra complexity and depth of flavour.
Imperial Pu-Erh ($13.75/50g) from TWG Tea
Golden Pu-Erh ($20.75/50g) from TWG Tea
If you haven’t thought of what you should bake with tea, check out our best-selling baking kit — Earl Grey w/ Dark Chocolate Cookies, or join our Bakestarters Live-Virtual Baking School and make something completely unique like this Hojicha Black Sesame Gateau shown below.
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