Tea Pairings by Season
Green tea is to black as spring morning is to winter night, or flute is to cello, or as white wine is to red. Even though each type of tea has a very different character, all teas come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. The difference in type of tea produced has everything to do with how the tea leaves are processed once they are picked. The most natural, and often most successful, pairings in gourmet food are those which take advantage of seasonal and regional splendors. The same is of course true for tea. The newest, freshest leaf tips and buds are most appreciated in Spring, when we step outside and are reminded of fresh growth by budding vegetation, increased sunlight, and birds calling. This is also the time, of course, when fresh green and white teas are available from the current year’s harvest. Summer calls for gracefully scented teas and fresh floral oolongs. Fall is most interesting, as this is the season that brings the most complexity to food products, as they ripen and age. And Winter is the time to best present the richest, darkest and most robust of teas.