Pairing Japanese Green Tea With Food

Pairing green tea with food
photo credit: Jad_23 via photopin cc

Have you ever paired wine with food?

You can do the same with tea.

There are different ways to pair Japanese green tea with food, as we’ll see next.

Pairing Japanese teas with food of similar flavor

In general, Japanese green teas such as sencha pair well with seafood and vegetables.

Most green teas in Japan are steamed, so that they have a vegetal taste and a hint of seaweed. That’s why seafood and vegetables make a good match.

Pairing teas high in umami (like gyokuro and high grade sencha) with food that’s also rich in umami is a good idea. This includes soy sauce, oysters, tuna, shiitake mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and obviously seaweed.

As for sweetness, you can have a kukicha with your dessert. The sweetness in kukicha is caused by its L-theanine content.

Finally, roasted teas like houjicha and kyobancha go well with smoked and roasted foods.

Pairing astringent teas with fatty food

Astringency cuts through the viscosity of the fat. How about drinking bancha with your cheese pizza?

Sometimes we need to clear our mouth from fat so that we can keep tasting different flavors. That’s one reason why green tea is served at sushi restaurants.


By the way, pairing an astringent tea with sour food isn’t recommended, because it easily becomes overwhelming.

Pairing bitter with sweet

matcha ice cream
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Kitchen grade matcha is much more bitter than ceremonial grade matcha.

For this reason, it is often made into matcha chocolate, matcha ice cream, and matcha latte.

Having sencha or matcha with sweets, such as the traditional wagashi, is also very common.

Japanese tea and rice

I’m not too sure why, but Japanese tea and rice make an excellent pairing.

The perfect example is genmaicha, a green tea with roasted rice. Both ingredients complement each other in a marvelous way.

This tea has such long history that it’s normally considered a type of Japanese tea, and not a mere blend.

There’s also a traditional Japanese dish with rice and tea called ochazuke. It has become my favorite food with green tea.


  1. Oca Ocani
    November 6, 2014

    Great Post.
    Dark chocolate accompany also very well high grade Sencha or Gyokuro or even Houjicha, in my opinion.
    Otherwise I really do love have a cup of Sencha combined with Gouda or soft cheese with wild salmon roe.
    Even dried tomatoes goes perfectly with Gyokuro, at least if you like dried tomatoes. ^^

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      November 6, 2014

      Hello Oca

      Thanks for the comment. Nice to meet a fellow tea blogger 🙂

  2. Dee Sallows
    November 9, 2014

    Hola Ricardo
    I like this too.
    I wonder why green tea isn’t used more in seasonings, since it is so versatile.
    Looking forward to your next post…:)

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      November 9, 2014

      Hi Dee

      I think that as green tea becomes more popular we’ll be seeing it more often in different dishes.

      I plan to make some green tea cooking posts next year.

  3. lochan
    November 10, 2014

    Hola Ricardo,

    On a slightly lighter vein, this is also a nice way of pairing Japanese food with Japanese tea. Have a look at my tweet of 05 November.

    There is quite a bit of move to pair tea with food. I first encountered this in Gion Kyoto at an Italian restaurant way back in 2007 when our tea was paired with sea food and Taiwanese oolong with meat.

    So this blogpost is a great update for all of us on the current state of tea and food pairing. Thank you!

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      November 10, 2014

      Thank you Lochan.

      I retweeted it just in case : )


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