Why Tea and Chocolate?
There’s a similarity between ‘single garden tea’ and ‘bean to bar’ chocolate that begins even before tasting. Where we use the term ‘single garden’ to trace our teas back to the exact bushes that they came from, craft chocolate makers use the term ‘bean to bar’. Essentially these chocolate bars will be made using the same principles that we champion for our teas – high quality ingredients, direct trade, traceability and personal relationships.
Commodity tea and mass produced chocolates are often created from a blend of origins and ingredients for a generic taste. High quality tea leaves and chocolate bars, however, will have a distinct taste of place and character like no other. This means that you’re able to find unique tasting notes. Making the potential for pairings more fun as there’s even more flavours and textures to explore.
How To Taste Chocolate?
The best way to get the taste of chocolate is to break off a small piece and let it melt on your tongue. You might be tempted to chew. But trust me it’s worth the wait. As the chocolate melts you’ll taste through a range of notes often starting with the darker flavours that can transform into floral, fruity and unexpected tastes. Having a sip of hot tea after will also accentuate or contrast the with notes from the chocolate, and here’s where the fun begins.
Pairing Tea With Chocolate
After an amazing day at JING hq, experimenting with lots of combinations, we found so many pairings that worked. But there were three that stood out, that we think any tea or chocolate lover should try.
1. Organic Dragon Well & LAND 73% Nicaliso
Try this one if you want mouth-watering fruitiness.
Tea Tasting Notes: Hazelnut, Grass, Cream
Chocolate Tasting Notes: Citrus, Tannin, Spice
Green tea and dark chocolate? On paper it doesn’t seem like it would work. But the Nicaraguan Nicaliso cacao beans are full of rich and savoury notes. Phil does an excellent job to enrich the notes of black olive and citrus during the processing of the chocolate and the finish is full of citrus acidity. We found that the taste worked superbly with the fruity aftertaste of Dragon Well. While the upfront creamy texture from this spring green tea also helped to accentuate the meltingly indulgent mouthfeel from the chocolate.
2. Ali Shan & LAND 38% Toasted White Chocolate w/ Cocoa Nibs
Try this one if you’re a fan of rich, buttery biscuits with your tea.
Tea Tasting Notes: Apricot, Cream, Strawberry Leaf
Chocolate Tasting Notes: Biscuit, Oats, Butterscotch
When we first tasted this white chocolate it took me straight back to childhood and trying delicious, buttery shortbread for the first time. It’s not like any white chocolate you will have tried before, think Caramac bars, but on whole other level of taste. The crunchy, raw cacao nibs in this bar is also a fun way to break up the smoothness of the chocolate. Adding pops of dark intensity throughout. A creamy oolong tea seemed like a no brainer for this match up and Ali Shan’s natural biscuit notes were an instant winner. But it was the tropical, fruity notes that really made it special. The combination tastes something like a rich strawberry cheesecake and apricot jam biscuits. Need we say more.
3. Organic Yunnan Breakfast w/ oat milk & LAND 65% Malt Dark Chocolate
Try this one if you need an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast.
Tea Tasting Notes: Malty, Plum, Ginger
Chocolate Tasting Notes: Malt, Jam, Toast
We love our Yunnan Breakfast for its strong, malty taste, light fruitiness and sweetly spiced notes. With oat milk it’s even creamier and maltier. The perfect way to start the morning. Phil feels the same way about his chocolate, ‘In the morning, when chocolate is the first thing that your taste buds come across, it can make the flavour even more vibrant and interesting.’ With notes of malt and buttered toast with jam, we felt that this 65% Malt dark chocolate was the perfect companion for our milky Yunnan Breakfast. Perhaps it’s too indulgent to suggest tea and chocolate for breakfast everyday, but for Easter morning, this should be your go to.
Discover more about LAND in our meet the maker interview with Phil Landers. Learn where chocolate comes from, why origin is so important and how these delicious chocolates are brought to life from bean to bar.