Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Poor Tea-Food Pairing: Shou Mei + Spicy Foods

Last winter I wrote about an outstanding and surprising tea-food pairing of a Darjeeling that I otherwise did not like, that I found went well with spicy foods.

Today I discovered the opposite: one of my favorite teas that just did not work at all when consumed after spicy foods. Today I'm drinking some shou mei white tea, the specific tea is my favorite shou mei, Upton's ZW23: Shou Mei Classic Organic. Shou mei is one of my favorite types of tea, but I am finding the experience of drinking a cup of tea to be completely spoiled by the burn in my mouth from eating a very spicy (and delicious) lunch.

Shou mei is not a bland tea: I often find it stronger and bolder in flavor than most white teas, but its flavor and aroma are soft and rounded, and I find it somehow gets completely bowled over by hot pepper. But, like the example of the Darjeeling above, I had to try it out to learn this for my own. I have yet to develop a good intuition for pairing tea and food, it's still all trial-and-error for me.


  1. Better. Spicy food and cooked puerh. Good and slightly aged, not the swill from Chinatown of course.

  2. I assume you mean the Pu-erh, not the spicy food. =)

    I'm often surprised at some of the lousy Pu-erh I've been served with really fantastic Cantonese food. But...other times restaurants surprise me. Here just outside Newark, DE, Little Saigon (which has outstanding Vietnamese food) serves some surprisingly good whole-leaf tea. They just throw it loose in a big metal teapot, but it's astonishingly high-quality tea.

  3. Oh I know what you mean. I am still stumbling way around tea/food combos.