Tea’s the season: Pairing Tea and Food with Pure Leaf Tea

When the months begin to end in –BER, I start to go BRRR! From September on, as a tropical transplant to the Netherlands, I’m focused on one thing: surviving fall and winter. My weapons of choice tend to be cozy knits, thick socks, fluffy sweaters… and ridiculous amounts of tea.

No shame in confessing it: I’m just not a coffee person. As a tea freak with no less than 14 different kinds of tea at home, I can easily have four to five cups of tea a day. I’d gladly take tea leaves over third wave, pu-erh over pour-overs, or Earl Grey over espresso any day of the week.

So it was with great pleasure that I joined a tea tasting session introducing Pure Leaf tea to the Netherlands. As tea lover, I generally find supermarket teas in the Netherlands mostly undrinkable. There are a few good ones, like Clipper and maybe Yogi, but for a good tea experience, it’s off to a tea room (there aren’t many in Amsterdam) or blow the bank account on an upscale imported tea.

Thee drinken bij T’s Teas in Amsterdam West

I was quite curious to see if Pure Leaf tea would fulfill its promise: to bring the experience of a boutique tea salon to the supermarket. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised! From scent to color to taste, Pure Leaf offers a high quality but affordable alternative to sad, tired, flavorless supermarket teas. I already know which ones I want to restock at home.

At Instagrambloggers we believe that the only thing better than food or drink is food and drink together! So for the BRRRRRR months ahead, with some help from Pure Leaf tea sommelier (dream job!) Joyce Muendo, here’s a crash course on what to eat with different types of tea.

For this blog post we got to taste seven Pure Leaf tea blends. Read on and let us know which one you’d like to try.

Black Tea with Vanilla Notes

What’s in it: Pure Leaf uses black Assam tea and Madagascar vanilla in its tea blend. The vanilla smells heavenly! Enjoy it with: Caramel, vanilla, or chocolate-based cakes and desserts. Or why not a dessert with all three? #yolo Good to know: Pure Leaf’s Black Tea with Vanilla also pairs well with fine quality beef. Good news for the meat lover in your life!

Earl Grey What’s in it: Earl Grey is black tea usually blended with bergamot, a citrusy herb. Enjoy it with: White chocolate (this was a revelation! I don’t normally like white chocolate, but now I think I’ll be having more of it) and lemon-based desserts. Good to know: Bergamot can overpower the taste of black tea when the blend isn’t right. Good thing Pure Leaf has the balance of flavors down to a science, so it doesn’t taste too bitter.

Styling from a food photography workshop by Sacha de Boer

Chai What’s in it: Pure Leaf blends a mix of Kenyan and Ceylon black teas, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and mint. It also contains peppercorns for a nice warming effect. Enjoy it with: Indian food, of course! Good to know: Indian chai is traditionally strong and sweet, taken with lots of milk and sugar. I personally found Pure Leaf’s Chai very light, so you can skip the milk and sugar.

Camomile What’s in it: Strictly speaking, this is an herbal infusion, not a tea, made with camomile flowers. Enjoy it with: Your bedtime snack. Hands up if you have a nibble of chocolate before bed. I can’t be the only one! Good to know: I personally found Pure Leaf’s Camomile blend smooth with a touch of honey-like sweetness, not grassy like many camomile blends tend to be.

Ginger with Orange Blossom What’s in it: This herbal infusion contains ginger root and orange blossom. The orange blossom gives it a floral fragrance that made me want to bury my nose in the jar. Enjoy it with: Crème brulee, custard-based desserts. Good to know: I drink a lot of non-caffeinated tea at night, and this is quickly becoming my favorite. It’s not aggressively gingery, just subtle and light with a pleasant heat. The orange blossom aroma is the best thing about it! Joyce also suggests serving it cold on a hot summer day for a light, refreshing iced tea.

Green Tea with Jasmine What’s in it: Unlike black tea, green tea leaves are fixed after picking, so they stay green and never turn brown. Chinese and Japanese green tea use different methods (pan roasting versus steaming) to keep leaves green and lock in flavor. As a result, Chinese green tea tends to taste more nutty and roasted, while Japanese green tea has a more seaweed-like, umami flavor. Enjoy it with: Fish and rice dishes Good to know: Quality green tea is clear and bright in color. If you see a cloudy green tea, be warned. You may not be getting the best of the lot!

Green Tea with Mint What’s in it: Pure Leaf uses gunpowder green tea, named for the bullet shape it takes when the tea leaves are rolled and dried. Enjoy it with: Fresh, light foods such as delicate fish, chicken, and berries Good to know: Pure Leaf sources its gunpowder green tea from the Gunung Tilu conservation area in Java, as Indonesian-grown green tea tends to taste smooth and not bitter.

What’s your favorite kind of tea? And which tea spots should we try? Tea-ll us please in the comments!

Pure Leaf tea comes in jars of 16 pyramid tea bags and is now available at Albert Heijn.