Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Food Pairing – Fruits and Puerh Tea (Be Aware, Be Warned)

Thailand produces exceptional fruits. The above picture shows but a fraction of the bounty of local fruits that are available in a given year. These wonderful summer fruits are a pleasure to enjoy but I would advise not together with puerh tea.

Whilst tea enthusiasts have become more wary of spicy and strongly flavored food and drink effecting their tea sessions, fruits often appear innocuous, unoffending and generally harmless causing us to easily overlook their effects. In addition despite the many tea that are fruit flavored, scented and blended with pieces of dried fruits I would advise those who are seeking to make the most of your experience and appreciation of puerh tea in its truest form to avoid consuming fruits shortly before and during a tea session. Fruits do not enhance a tea session unless your aim is to drink fruit tea. Furthermore in my experience fruits can be very disruptive by altering and overwhelming the more subtle characters of puerh tea.

I hope that by raising this issue and building awareness around this often overlooked subject, more people will seek out the natural appeal and purity within the leaves that make up this ancient form of tea. Such matters may appear insignificant but if you have the good fortune of being part of a special tea session that includes a 30+ year old puerh tea then you may wish to thread with care and do your utmost to maximize that experience.


  1. I have definitely experienced the detrimental effects of fruit on a tea session. The residual sweetness of an apple completely nullified the sweetness of a sheng puerh that I otherwise, usually, find very sweet. What was left was only bitterness. But not the "kuwei" that is prized, because I feel bitterness requires a balancing sweetness to become kuwei

    1. Hello Brian,

      Indeed, sweet and strong tasting fruits will simply overwhelm or quash the characters of sheng puerh.

      I also find fruits with tartness and high acidity that provides a lively and stimulating feel pair really badly with ripe and aged puerh tea which presents a more relaxing and calming nature. It creates conflict rather than the balance and harmony that is the purpose of a good food pairing.

      Best, VP

  2. Nice as I have noticed this in my pairings as well. Some accentuate and some are detrimental to the flavor profile.