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Kali Mireva

Unique Tea Pairing Options for Michelin-Star Restaurants

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Earning a Michelin Star for your restaurant is a great honor. Many business owners dream of it and strive to receive a Star (see: what is a Michelin Star). They invest time and energy in finding the perfect interior design, planning the beverage program, and hiring great chefs (see: Michelin Star chefs). 

What’s truly important, especially if you wonder how to earn a Michelin Star, is to serve unique, quality dishes. The anonymous reviewers will rate the flavors of the food, the ingredients' quality, and the chef's mastery. Beverages are not part of the rating process. You can also read our article on how do you lose a Michelin Star to get more in-depth information.

However, to offer a complete, enjoyable experience to guests, as a restaurant owner, you should think about the beverages too. From the wine lists and beer pairing options to the tea service, cocktails and mocktails, it’s all important to plan out. Focus on quality, instead of quantity. Especially if you can’t afford to source a wide variety of drinks as of now. 

We already covered the topic of Michelin Star restaurants cocktail menus, but let’s discuss something else. The ever-so-popular, favorite of many drink - the tea! Tea pairings are not as easy to achieve as some classic food and wine pairing options, for example. 

In this article, we are going to cover some common tea pairing options. Take advantage of this knowledge if you want to a part of the next Michelin Star Guide!

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The Art of Food and Tea Pairing

For years, sommeliers and different types of chefs have paired specific wines with specific foods. Most of us know the basic rules. Red wines go with rich, red meat dishes. White wines go with white meats, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Dessert wines are for desserts, of course.

Pairing tea is typically done with scones, small sandwiches, and sweets. But as a matter of fact, tea can be paired beautifully with so many other foods. In the East, they have drunk tea together with their meals for a long time.

The art of tea pairing is still new to the people in the West. But just like good wines can bring out the unique flavors of your food, tea can do the same! The right type of tea can enhance the taste of your dish and if you get the pairing wrong things can go badly for your taste buds. 

Key Takeaway: Creating great tea pairing options is an art that deserves more attention. Tea can complement the flavors of different dishes in a unique way, creating a one-of-a-kind customer experience.

Main Rules of Tea Pairing

The abundance of wines available today can be very confusing and overwhelming. The same goes for the types of tea. So to make a good food and tea pairing, you need to know some basic rules. 

  • Black teas and their robust flavors go well with hearty, rich foods. Roast meats like lamb, beef, and venison. Even heavy pasta dishes like lasagna.
  • Green teas have earthy, vegetative palettes that combine well with vegetarian dishes. They also go with salads, mild green curries, and light chicken dishes.
  • White teas are usually very gentle. If served with food too rich, they will seem tasteless. But it would be a shame to miss out on the white teas’ subtle aromas. So it’s best to pair these teas with very light foods like white fish,  mild cheeses, and desserts.
  • Oolong teas typically vary but are in general smoky and complex. Therefore, they pair perfectly with smoked cheeses and meats, fruity desserts, and herby dishes.
  • Fruit and scented teas are the right choice for complex desserts, cakes, and dark chocolate. Some even go perfectly with spicy meats. For example, Earl Grey.
  • Full-bodied Chai teas pair well with exotic Turkish sweetmeats and Indian pastries.
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What Are the Latest Trends

The whole idea of food and tea pairing options is evolving fast in Western countries. So rapidly that there are now tea sommeliers. Becoming one involves serious training and an understanding of different blends and flavors. 

Tea can be paired with various dishes, but it can also be included in some. Teas can be added as ingredients in curries, desserts, and even a signature cocktail. This trend is becoming increasingly popular in the latest years. 

Leading restaurants in the USA have started employing tea sommeliers, aiming to improve even further the customer experience. Because the concept is fairly new for the people of the West, they approach the food and tea pairing options with skepticism. But when paired right, the flavors of the tea and the dish will complement each other and unleash their full potential.  

If you are a restaurant owner, who wants to be running a Michelin restaurant, it’s worth it to look into tea and food pairings and do the inventory organization accordingly. Adding more flavor and creating a unique experience for the foodies coming to your restaurant will surely take you ahead of the competition. Having a faster service will take you ahead of the curve as well.

Frequently Asked Questions about Food and Tea Pairing 

Since the concept of pairing dishes with tea is new for many, there are quite a few questions people ask. From customers to Michelin Star restaurant owners. It’s normal to be confused about it if you haven’t heard of it or tried any of the unique combinations we discussed in the article. 

Check out our Michelin Star Restaurant eBook

Are Restaurants Serving Tea? 

Yes, you usually can get a cup of tea at a restaurant. Although not many people in the West combine their dishes with tea as of yet, they like to finish their meals with a warm beverage. Also, restaurant owners who have build a diverse beverage program, make sure they have a variety of teas available. 

If you are a restaurant owner yourself, and you are wondering whether to include tea in your assortment of drinks, better do so. More and more people drink tea due to its many health benefits but also for enjoyment. Not to mention that you can make food and tea pairings at your restaurant a competitive advantage. 

Which Are the Best Teas to Include in a Restaurant Menu?

Black teas, green teas, white teas, herbal teas, and fruit teas are great to incorporate into your restaurant menu. These are the basic types people most commonly like to drink. 

However, if you want to take your business to the next level, search for more unique varieties and flavors. Try to match the teas with the dishes in your restaurant so clients can try unique food and tea pairings. 

Can You Combine All Food Types with Teas?

Yes, there is tea you can drink with any type of food. But it’s a true art to know what type of food goes with specific varieties of tea. That’s why there’s a new position in some modern restaurants in the USA where you can get great recommendations from a tea sommelier. 

You can also dive deeper into the art of food and tea pairing by reading our article, as well as checking out charts that show tastes that complement each other.

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