Time to start making Thanksgiving plans, beginning with the menu. Turkey ― check! Cranberries ― check! Stuffing ― check! Sweet potatoes ― check! Green bean casserole ― check! Tea ― che… uh… huh?
Tea with your Thanksgiving feast sure isn’t usual here in the U.S. despite the growing awareness of tea for enjoyment and possible health benefits. You can buck the trend by making that first step in your Thanksgiving menu preparations the selection of a tea or two to serve. If it’s a tea that has a fairly general appeal, then you’ll find more of your guests saying, “Sure, I’ll have a cuppa!”
Four tea categories are acknowledged by Nibble.com as going well with turkey: Ceylons, Yunnans, Darjeelings, and Oolongs. Of course, within each of those categories you have a plethora of choices.
- Blacks ― Most often found in blends such as English Breakfast Blend No. 1 (one of my personal faves and great to have any time of day) and Angels Dream, but also available on their own such as the tea from Lovers Leap Estate and Sylvakandy Estate.
- Greens ― A spicy Green Chai made from Ceylon gree tea might appeal to a variety of your friends and family members. Or stick with straight Ceylon Green Tea.
- Golden ― Go for the “regular” Yunnans such as Golden Heaven Yunnan China Black Tea.
- Pu-erhs ― Avoid the aged, earthy pu-erhs that many tea newbies (or those who drink tea only occasionally) are turned off by. A flavored pu-erh might have a wider appeal and go well with the rest of your menu. Try the Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea.
- Blends ― A blended Darjeeling will usually have a more consistent flavor than a Darjeeling tea from a specific estate and of a specific flush. So, you’ll know what to expect.
- Specifics ― Going for a Darjeeling tea from a specific tea estate can be a good bet, especially if you are seeking out that distinctive Muscatel grape character this type of tea is known for. Mim Estate, Soom Estate, and Margarets Hope Estate are three good choices. These teas are good as is, but some of your guests might want a bit of sweetener in them.
- Taiwanese ― Try some Formosa Oolong Estate tea with its smooth and slightly sweet flavor. It will go well with the foods you serve up.
- Chinese ― One of the best known Chinese oolongs is Ti Kuan Yin Iron Goddess. It has a light flavor that won’t overwhelm anyone’s tastebuds after all that sage, thyme, garlic, and other spices in your vegetable and meat dishes.
- Cranberry ― A popular fruit for the Thanksgiving feast is the cranberry. A tea like Cranberry Orange Flavored Black Tea can be a great accompaniment, therefore, to that turkey and stuffing.
- Pumpkin ― Another common flavor this time of year, and so a natural choice is Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea.
- Spiced ― Tea with spices are called simply “chai” (or many in the U.S. call them “chai teas”) and vary from more of a sweet taste to more sharply spicy. On the sweet end of the scale is Vanilla Chai. A more holiday-ish character is to be had in Holiday Spiced Tea and a more traditional flavor with Indian Spiced Chai.
So many options. Pick one you like and that you think the majority of your guests (even those who usually drink coffee) will like. Then, relax and focus on cooking that bird to perfection!
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