How to pair chocolate with tea

3 Oct 2022

Chocolate Knowledge Food + Drink

Enjoying a good cup of tea is the ultimate quintessentially British pastime – now it’s time to elevate your brew with some delicious chocolate

Us Brits get through five cups of tea per day on average, with an outstanding 84% of the UK population drinking at least one cup every single day. From the morning cup that starts your day to a celebratory afternoon tea, this delightful drink is a treat we adore.

We all know that coffee and chocolate are a favourite combination, but how about pairing chocolate with tea? Here are some of our favourite ways to unite these delicious treats.

Tea cup with dried tea leaves, sugar cubes, and squares of chocolate

Chocolate and tea: a delicious pairing

Tea and chocolate are more alike than you might first think – they’re produced in a similar way. Factors like climate, altitude and soil affect the flavour of the tea leaf – much like cacao. And just like chocolate, the best tea is a work of craftsmanship.

There are thousands of flavours, strengths, aromas and scents of both, all of which depend on the terroir, environmental aspects and methods of production. To get the best experience of pairing tea and chocolate, it is important to understand the flavour profiles of both – and blend them accordingly.

Some tea flavours lend themselves perfectly to the sweetness and indulgence of milk chocolate, while others are great for balancing the deep notes of high-cacao dark chocolate. Rich, creamy chocolate can be the perfect partner to a full-bodied tea. Nuanced dark chocolate, on the other hand, can be a leading accompaniment to a mild and floral cup of tea – ideal for an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s noticeable how your usual favourite brew can take on a whole new flavour profile with a cacao counterpart.

And who could forget the classic snack of tea and biscuits? A mid-morning office staple, or work-from-home ritual to get us through the afternoon. Whether you’re team dunk or no-dunk – it’s widely agreed that biscuits must contain chocolate in one form or another!

Which tea pairs best with white chocolate?

Our dreamy white chocolate is brimming with cacao butter, creating a delicious melt-in-the-mouth texture. The mellow creaminess is undeniably sumptuous and makes white chocolate the perfect treat for younger cacao fans.

You might be tempted to pair white chocolate with a sweeter tea. However, the gentle bitterness of matcha green tea makes it a fantastic companion for white chocolate. This diverse pairing has been ever popular in sweet treats such as ice cream and macarons.

White chocolate can leverage other less-sweet flavours too, such as lemon, berries, macadamia nuts or coconut. Certain green teas that harbour flavours of chestnut and hazelnut notes are an excellent pairing for white chocolate.

If you like the sound of offsetting white chocolate with deeper teas to cut through the sweetness, why not try chai with an earthy rooibos base or tisanes with a lemongrass base? The natural acidity and zing of lemongrass balance the white chocolate’s sweetness. It’s ideal for palate cleansing at the end of a meal.

Alternatively, if sweet moments are more your thing, pai mu tan white tea and lightly roasted oolongs with a slightly sweet, nutty and toasted notes are a great match to enhance the vanilla notes of white chocolate.

Green tea in a brown tea pot

Which tea pairs best with milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate contains varying levels of cacao. At Hotel Chocolat, ours vary from classic 40% to 65% Supermilk recipes and everything in between.

Milk chocolate is the most popular chocolate in the world, and also the most versatile for tea pairing. It works beautifully with spicy chai blends and smokey black teas.

Generally speaking, most black teas work well with milk chocolate. You might like to drink them black (without milk) as the already-creamy milk chocolate brings enough melt-in-the-mouth richness.

A high-grown Nepalese black tea or a roasted Japanese green tea work well. Their warm, toasty notes bring a hint of salted caramel when paired with a decedent milk chocolate and can open up new flavours to discover.

For those of us that love a ‘builder’s brew’ and prefer our teas (and chocolate) a little less complicated, a traditional English breakfast blend or Earl Grey works well with milk chocolate. Darjeeling black tea – considered the ‘champagne’ of teas – is also a great option.

Closeup: pouring hot water over tea leave in a strainer

Which tea pairs best with dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate contains the highest levels of cacao, making it a deep, luxurious treat for the senses. This robust flavour is best complemented by similar bold flavours, without the fear of being overshadowed. However, you could also try contrasting it with sweeter teas or brews with a spicy hint.

Tannic-heavy teas can withstand the intensity of dark chocolate. High-quality green teas, rich Chinese black teas like puerh or earthy black oolong pairings also complement it well. Dark Sumatra roasts and cinnamon-rich Indonesian oolongs hold bold flavours, which are perfect for bitter dark chocolate.

If you prefer a sweeter tea, why not pair your favourite dark chocolate with blends featuring honey notes? Ceylon black tea is a perfect example of a lighter, fresher tea as opposed to its darker Assam counterpart.

Alternatively, ginger herbal blends bring light refreshment to an indulgent Dark Chocolate Baton. Mint tea is also a wonderful pairing for dark chocolate. Its lively tingle on the palate makes it the perfect after-dinner treat and balances the bitterness of dark chocolate fantastically. Mint and ginger chocolate varieties are also delicious…

Mint tea and biscuits

Enjoy luxurious chocolate from Hotel Chocolat with your favourite tea

If we’ve inspired you to take time out of your day to discover new chocolate and tea flavour pairings, why not explore our full chocolate collection?

And if you want to make an occasion of it, discover our Hotel Chocolat Afternoon Tea of the Gods at Rabot – the perfect cacao twist on the quintessential tea party. You could even create your own afternoon tea at home to treat someone special. Get ready to put the kettle on.