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Beyond the Cup

Cooking With Tea

Discover the possibilities

Of course tea is a pleasure to drink, but did you know it has been used in culinary applications for centuries? In Asia, tea is traditionally used in smoking poultry. Today, chefs around the world use steeped, cooled teas in marinades and brines; hot, brewed tea for poaching and pickling; and ground dry tea for infusions and rubs.

Playing with the subtle flavors and complexities of tea is a creative way to supplement your spice cabinet. Tea can be used to balance or intensify flavor, acidity, sweetness or richness of your favorite recipes. Here are some helpful hints for cooking with tea:

  • The quality of ingredients is directly correlated to the outcome of a dish. Much like wine, cook only with teas that you would also drink.
  • When preparing a tea concentrate, increase the amount of the tea leaves versus a typical drinking steep. Increasing the steep time or water temperature instead will result in a bitter brew.
  • To add tea to baked goods or for use in a rub, grind the leaves finely with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Make sure your tools are clean and dry before you start.