The Art of Pairing Tea with Cheese

If you haven’t yet tried tea with cheese then you’re in for a lovely surprise. Pairing cheese with wine is an old tradition that is said to have originated in Italy and France. We’ve all tried and liked it. It, however, may be time to put down the bottle and pick up a pot of tea.

Before we get to the interesting part and lay out a few delightful combinations in front of you, let us first talk about the basic principles of pairing tea and cheese.

Wine and tea are very similar in terms of flavour profiles. A ‘like for like’ principle comes into play when pairing tea with cheese, much like when pairing wine with cheese. For example, a cheese that pairs well with a wine high in tannins would also go well with a tea high in tannins. At the same time, salty cheeses go with sweeter teas as well as they would go with sweet wines. So in terms of tannins and astringency tea and wine are surprisingly similar.

So if you’re a fan of tea or cheese or would just like to unlock a new, exciting tasting profile, read on.

Black teas are high in tannins and have a robust, bold flavour. When looking for a cheese to pair with black tea, one should opt for creamier, soft varietals. This will help to balance out the astringency of the black tea. Made from the milk of the Italian buffalo, Buffalo Mozzarella is the perfect complement to black tea. It is best served as a Caprese salad or melted on a pizza/bruschetta.

 As opposed to black tea, green tea contains fewer tannins and possesses an earthy, grassy flavour. Halloumi cheese goes well with the grassy flavour of green tea. Halloumi is a slightly more expensive cheese because it is made from sheep’s milk and is often aged. It is best served grilled with a sweet-tangy relish or fresh fruits.

As a general rule of thumb, cheeses that compliment white wines also go well with white teas. Minimally processed white teas work wonderfully with a cheese that is soft and creamy like Camembert. This light-textured pairing is delightful and soft on the tongue. It can be paired with crackers, hazelnuts, crusty baguette and pecans.


Oolong tea is somewhere between Black tea and Green tea in terms of tannins as it is partially oxidized. Depending on the way it is processed, Oolong tea can range from full-bodied, to floral and grassy, to toasty. It goes hand in hand with Jack, which is a semi-hard cheese with a mild flavour. Pair this with dried fruits and you're good to go!
  • Pu’erh with Aged Goat Gouda

 Pu’erh is a fermented tea with a unique flavour that usually includes an earthy aroma. Pair a nice aged Pu’erh with some aged goat Gouda, and you’ll be blown away. Aged cheese and aged tea seem to complement each other beautifully. It is best served with nuts and olives.

To sum up, sweeter teas go with saltier cheeses and heavier, more pungent cheeses go with robust, strong teas. What's your favourite tea and cheese pairing?

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