We all love biscuits just as much as we love a good cup of tea. It’s traditional English practice that now knows no boundaries. In fact, all over the world, tea lovers cherish the moment of calm and comfort that surrounds its taste and do not hesitate to add a gourmet touch to it.
But did you know there is a way to make your tea and biscuit breaks even more enjoyable?
The art of tea time and dunking
The type of biscuit and tea you choose, the length of the dunk, as well as the temperature of the hot drink all, play an important role in order to make the experience memorable.
In the British movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, one of the main characters explains the word dunking to her new employer during an interview, while drinking tea: “Dunking is lowering the biscuit into the tea and letting it soak in there and trying to calculate the exact moment before the biscuit dissolves when you whip it up into your mouth and enjoy the blissful union of biscuits and tea combined.“
Definitely, it is not just about sticking a biscuit into a hot drink until it gets soggy. Dunking is pure art that only practice makes it perfect. However, what we often forget is that tea and biscuits are very much a personal choice and that might be influenced by our age, too.
“Tea is a lifetime drink and as our life moves on and times change, so do our preferences and needs – says experts at Tea Journey Magazine –Historically, in midlife people are most likely to frequent traditional tea houses and enjoy high tea with all its trappings. It is very much the English tradition: Early Grey and English Breakfast with scones and jam“.
But what if you are over 50 and more of a biscuit lover? Then, there are plenty of alternative options for you to try as long as you know which type of biscuit goes best with which tea.
According to Dr Sharon Hall, Chief Executive of the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA): “it’s worth knowing that the delicate flavour of some teas can get easily overwhelmed by buttery or chocolatey biscuits, so there is definitely a science to choosing the right biscuit for your cuppa. Whether you prefer a mug of regular builder’s tea or enjoy a refined cup of Earl Grey, there’s a biscuit pairing for you”.
The Most Delicious pairings
Whether it’s herbal or classic tea, if you want to enhance your experience with this classic hot beverage, here are some top tips from Dr Sharon Hall to help you find out which is the best pairing.
- Regular Black tea
For the traditional British cuppa, taken with or without milk, Dr Hall recommends a Chocolate Digestive: “Pairing up the nation’s favourite tea with their favourite biscuit makes sense. Both are comforting and a good excuse to take 10 minutes out of the day”, he says.
- Earl Grey
The citrus flavour of the Bergamot oil used to make this historic tea goes beautifully with the orange tang of a Jaffa Cake. Dr Hall explains: “While the debate about whether a Jaffa is really a biscuit or a cake continues, there’s no doubt that this pairing will delight your taste buds”.
- Green tea
Used as a medicine in Asia for thousands of years, its low caffeine levels and beneficial antioxidants have led to it being viewed as a “healthy” option in the west, too. Now very popular at tea time, Green Tea, however, is not so easy to pair. Dr Hall advises: “The clean, grassy – and often sweet – notes of green tea can get overpowered by buttery or chocolatey biscuits so choose something fruity instead, like a fig roll or Garibaldi biscuit”.
Due to the gentle and light taste of the chamomile, you can pair almost any biscuits with this tea. Use Shortbread biscuits of your choice, they melt perfectly in your mouth after a few sips of tea. Try spicing it up by mixing regular shortbreads with the ones covered in nuts, glazed with lemon, or dipped in chocolate.
However, to fully enjoy the experience Dr Hall suggests elevating our game with an unexpected twist. “This soothing bedtime brew, with flavours of apple, vanilla and honey – he says- can be paired with a familiar, childhood favourite, such as a malted milk biscuit“.
Peppermint tea is naturally sweet and free of caffeine. It’s a cleanser, a refresher, and a downright tasty little treat to our taste buds. The only possible way to make it even better is when paired with a complementary, satisfying crunch.
“Mint and chocolate pairings go really well in other food combinations”, notes Dr Hall, “which is why an Oreo cookie is a tasty pairing for a refreshing cup of peppermint tea”.
- Red bush (Rooibos)
More people are opting for a caffeine-free red bush brew at night. Rooibos tea is a type of herbal tea with a bold and sweet flavour. That’s why this goes perfectly well with chocolate chip cookies.
However, Dr Hall suggests a totally different gourmet approach: “For those who fancy a nibble with it, the oats and syrup flavour of a hobnob complement the nutty, woody notes of rooibos”.
Liquorice root tea is made from the root of the liquorice plant known by the botanical name Glycyrrhiza glabra. It’s also commonly called liquorice tea or sweet root tea. The tea boasts a flavour similar to black liquorice and has notes of anise and peppermint, however, when it comes to pairing it, the choice is not so obvious.
“Putting a traditional slice of buttery shortbread with a cup of liquorice tea may seem unusual but it’s worth the experience”, says Dr Hall. “Liquorice has an aromatic taste and is vibrant enough to cut through the sugary sweetness of shortbread”.
Whatever biscuit or tea you like the most, be also willing to try new things. Tea breaks require appreciation and experimentation. Make them a part of your daily ritual; relax during your break, bring over some friends and most importantly – have fun discovering new flavours and textures.