Just as you pair
wine and cheese, you can pair tea and honey. While there are no hard
and fast pairing rules, the flavors of certain teas and honeys work
particularly well together.
White tea is pale with a slightly sweet, silky flavor and mellow
creamy or nutty qualities. Pair mild White tea with equally mild
Fireweed - Fireweed honey is light in color and has a delicate,
sweet flavor with subtle tea-like notes. Firewood honey is found in
Northern and Pacific states and Canada.
Wildflower - Light in color, Wildflower honey is mild with floral
overtones that vary by region. Wildflower honey is available in most
areas of the United States.
Green tea is
greenish-yellow in color with a grassy, astringent quality similar
to fresh leaves. The grassy notes in Green tea pair well with honey
varietals that share similar earthy flavors:
Blueberry - The aroma of Blueberry honey is similar to
green leaves with a touch of lemon; it has a fruity flavor and
delicate aftertaste. Blueberry honey is produced in New England and
Sage - Sage honey is white or water-white in color and
has a mild, delicate flavor with a light, floral aftertaste. Sage
honey is produced in California.
Robust in flavor,
Oolong tea is full-bodied with a smooth flavor that ranges from
light and floral to rich and sweet depending on the color of the
tea. The full flavor of Oolong tea pairs well with slightly sweeter
Orange Blossom - Orange Blossom honey has an appealing
aroma that reflects its citrus origin. It also has a light but
fragrant citrus flavor. Orange blossoms are the leading honey source
in southern Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.
Tupelo - This white or extra light amber colored honey
has a smooth flavor with complex floral, herbal and fruity flavors.
Tupelo honey is produced in the southeastern United States.
give black tea a dark color and intense flavor. Earl Grey and
English Breakfast are members of the Black Tea family. The hearty,
assertive flavors of Black tea pair best with robust honey
Basswood - Basswood honey has a distinctive, biting
flavor that is more sharp and complex than most honeys. Basswood
trees are most often found in the Midwest.
Sourwood - Caramel and buttery notes highlight the up
front flavor of Sourwood honey. It also has a pleasant, lingering
aftertaste. Sourwood honey is generally produced in the southeastern
varietals such as Clover and Wildflower have a mild flavor that
pairs well with all tea varieties; these varietals are widely
available in most grocery stores. For more information about the
honey varietals discussed here, visit
www.honey.com. To find a locally produced or special honey
Here are two
recipes from the National Honey Board.
Homemade Chai Tea
Makes 4 cups
2 cups water
2 black tea bags
1/2 cup honey*
2 cups milk,
soymilk or milk substitute
To make Chai Tea
Base, in medium saucepan, combine water, tea bags, vanilla, ginger,
cinnamon, allspice and honey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and
simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat,
cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags. Cover and
refrigerate Chai Tea Base until ready to serve.
To serve, combine
equal parts of Chai Tea Base and milk. Heat on stovetop or in
sourwood honey pair particularly well with black tea.
Hot Spiced Tea
Makes 4 cups
4 cups freshly
1/4 cup honey*
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
4 lemon or orange
honey, cinnamon sticks and cloves in large saucepan; simmer 5
minutes. Remove from heat and pour into cups; garnish with lemon or
orange slice. Serve hot.
*Use a honey
varietal that pairs well with the tea.