The Wine Lover's Guide to Tea

One might not think tea and wine have a lot in common, but these two complex beverages share a similar language—light and bright, balance and body, astringency and tannin. Our resident wine expert and tea buyer, Sara Kaufman, recently sat down with Forbes' writer Courtney Schiessl to discuss how one's wine preferences can help them navigate the world of tea.

Read on for excerpts from the article along with Sara's top tea recommendations for the wine lover.

Tea Buyer Sara Kaufman

Fresh whites like Vinho Verde and Riesling

Both early spring teas, Sencha (a Japanese green tea harvested just south of Mt. Fiji) and First Flush Darjeeling (the iconic Northern Indian tea) have a liveliness akin to the bright acidity of these fresh white wines. Sencha leans slightly more vegetal, with distinct salinity, while First Flush Darjeeling is more floral and complex, with a mouth-watering effect.

Rich whites like Chardonnay

Bai Mu Dan has a creamy, soft mouthfeel just like Chardonnay, and is buttery and almost apple-like in flavor. It is produced in China using either the bud or top two leaves and bud of the tea plant. Pale in color and delicate in flavor, this white tea is slightly sweet and creamy with a clean, lingering aftertaste.

Elegant Pinot Noir

Since Pinot Noir is so complex, covering many different flavor profiles, it relates to many different teas. Jasmine Pearls is highly prized and nuanced, just like fine Pinot Noirs, while Bai Hao Oolong has a nutty, toasty, fruity profile that lovers of Pinot Noir often take to. Lovers of young, fresh, easy-drinking Pinot Noir might like the lively, bright flavors of Earl Grey teas and especially enjoy our Lord Bergamot blend. 

Spicy Syrah, Malbec or Zinfandel

This palate type belongs to a person who adores explosions of flavor. Masala Chai is the perfect match for these types of wines. It is spicy and rich with an indulgent edge. 

Bold Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or red blends

Caffeine-free rooibos, also known as red bush, grows near the South African town of Clanwilliam. In mid-January to April, the tender, topmost leaves are carefully hand-picked and processed for a sweet, creamy, tea-like flavor.

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