Outside of tea, one hobby I’ve picked up is baking. So, the idea of pairing tea and food was an enticing idea to me. Therefore, I was ready to learn more about flavour pairings!
Description: “Explore the science behind of tasting food and drink.”
This course was a part Nomad Tea Festival from a few months ago. This was a pre-recorded session from the Brewin Tea Festival, which is a Melbourne-based event. Cheryl was the speaker for the course and is a Certified Tea Master. She has travelled around the world and was the winner of the 2017 Tea Master Cup (Australia and New Zealand) in the Tea Preparation category.
Cheryl first outlined what is flavour which is comprised of taste, aroma, mouthfeel, and “X” factor. The course was broken down into four smaller sections the components of taste followed by how to start creating your own flavour pairings. Each section had short lessons and three accompanying experiments!
Cheryl broke down the various tastes: salt, bitter, sweet, umami, and sour and how each interacted with one another. The experiment was to see how salt and sugar would affect the taste of over-brewed green tea, which was bitter. It was interesting to experience how even a little bit of sugar and salt would affect the overall taste of the tea and remove some bitterness!
The aroma is what is perceived by the nose and Cheryl gave a mini science lesson on how we smell. The experiment was to chew on a jelly bean with your nose pitched. When your nose is blocked, you only get the sweetness from the candy but when you release your nose and exhale, you get a burst of flavour! This is why I always avoid doing tastings if I ever have a stuffy nose because everything tastes bland!
The experiment to highlight mouthfeel was tasting blueberries and raspberries with green and black tea and how it was perceived in the mouth. The “anti-pairing” was the green and raspberries. However, I (thankfully) didn’t get the astringent reaction the host, Kishan, and Cheryl had! So, I need to try this one more time. Cheryl did share one of her favourite berry and tea pairings, fresh raspberries piped with dark chocolate ganache with tippy black tea which sounds divine!
4. Flavour Pairings
The last part of the course was putting it all together and considering how to do flavour pairings using the concepts of weight & intensity, Flavour Bridges, or balancing of flavours. When using Flavour Bridges, Cheryl suggests tasting a tea and using it as a starting point. This includes flavours from the dry and leaf and liquor and pairing that with other flavours. She recommended using the book, the Flavour Bible, which outlines hundred of ingredients for flavour matching.
This was my first-time “meeting” Cheryl and she was lovely! While some of the science did go over my head, I liked how tea was explained through the lens of science. Sometimes when attending workshops, I feel like I don’t get enough guidance on how to start, so I appreciated her tips and suggestions. I did find it sometimes hard to follow along as the course was more free-flowing, so I wish we had a worksheet or handout*. Still, a very fun course if you want to learn more about tea and how to start flavour pairings (3.5/5 rating)!
* Cheryl reached out and mentioned there was a handout that was initially a part of the workshop but was not sent out by the festival. As noted in my other recap of another course I attended during Nomad Tea Festival, there were a few technical issues, the biggest being no links were provided to attendees to join the Zoom workshops during the event. Since this was a pre-recorded event, Nomad Tea Festival did send me a replay link after I requested it.
The question of the post: What are your go-to tea and food pairing?
Liked this review of Flag & Spear’s Finding Flavour? Pin it!