Pairing Tea and…Cheese?



Most everyone is familiar with pairing wine and cheese, but pairing tea and cheese is much less well known and less understood. (By the way, that’s tea in the glass in the photo above, not wine.) Some tea drinkers may even find the idea of tea and cheese pairing a bit counterintuitive, if not a bit, well, odd. But at Talking Tea we’ve experienced some delicious pairings of tea with cheese, so we wanted to explore the issue more in depth. 

Joining us today to talk about pairing tea with cheese, and to do some pairings with us, is Lisa Boalt Richardson. Lisa is a tea writer and educator who has written and taught on the subject of pairing tea with cheese and other foods, making tea and food pairings accessible and easy to understand. We begin our chat by looking at the basic premises behind tea and food pairings from a common-sense perspective, and then we start to look specifically at pairing cheese with tea. Lisa explains why cheese and tea can pair very well together, and we chat about the importance of identifying levels of fat in cheese and astringency in tea, as well as other elements in the flavor and mouthfeel of each, in order to create excellent pairings. We discuss different goals in creating pairings, as well as different methods of tasting the tea and the cheese we’re pairing. And then we do two pairings together: a triple-cream cheese paired with a first flush darjeeling, and then the same cheese with an assam, as we talk about the reasons Lisa suggested these pairings, the results of the pairings and why some pairings are likely to work better than others.

More information about Lisa Boalt Richardson, including info on her book Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage (referenced in the episode), is at her website, lisaknowstea.comYou can  also find Lisa on Facebook at lisaknowstea. Lisa is also an instructor at the World Tea Academy; info on their courses and programs is at

The cheese used by Talking Tea was St. Stephen’s triple-cream, made by Four Fat Fowl and purchased at DiBruno Brothers in Philadelphia. The teas Talking Tea used in our pairings were purchased at Camellia Sinensis Tea House and at Tea Dealers.

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken  

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.

Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

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