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A brilliant brew: Image 1 Alcohol consumption in the UK is the lowest it's been in the past two decades, as we lead more and more health-conscious lifestyles, shares Kim. So, it's worth considering the alcohol-free options at your wedding. Tea probably makes for the most versatile (and healthy) of all alcohol-free options. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, paired alongside food to provide an enhanced flavour experience, and even chosen to fit the theme of your wedding.

Here, Kim shares her expertise on providing the perfect brew...

A brilliant brew: Image 2 Tea and food pairings what tea you should choose to go with your meal of choice?
When thinking about tea and food pairings there are two main guidelines: balance and complementary flavours. Balance means you want neither the food nor the tea to overpower the other. So lighter teas like green tea tend to go better with lighter dishes like chicken or seafood and bolder teas like black Assam tend to go better with richer dishes like beef or chocolate. Beyond balance, you're looking for that extra dimension of flavour that is added by the pairing; in the way that the lemon notes in Citrus Grey complement smoked salmon, or the spices in a Turmeric Chai complement the fragrancy of a rich curry. Beyond these guidelines you can let your palate and your creativity be your guide. Remember tea works equally well alongside savoury dishes as is does with desserts or cake. Here are some ideas for delicious savoury pairings:

  • Pair pan-fried Dover sole, scallops and pea tartare with a creamy Oolong tea that is blended with peppermint and cacao shells. The creaminess of the fish and the tea are in perfect balance while the pea and mint notes combine into an additional layer of complementary flavour.
  • Duck confit with blackberry puree pairs beautifully with a black tea with freeze dried raspberry and cacao. The bold Assam black tea balances the richness of the duck, while raspberry and blackberry notes complement and bring freshness.
  • Seabass ceviche tastes great with a herbal infusion of lemongrass, lemon verbena and freeze dried mango.

A brilliant brew: Image 3 Warm or cold?
A big plus of tea is that it can taste great both warm and cold. If you serve warm tea then to get the best results let the tea cool to lukewarm rather than hot. Also, within a table setting, warm tea looks most elegant in cups without handles. Either ceramic ones Japanese-style or insulated glass ones to blend in seamlessly with the other glassware on the table. Should you decide to serve the tea cold, you can opt for either coldbrew or iced tea. Coldbrew may give you a more mellow result, however it will require a brew time of around 14-16 hours depending on the tea. To make iced tea you can simply brew the tea as usual and chill it down. You can create a sparkling cold tea by using half the normal amount of water to brew a more concentrated tea. Then top it up with sparkling water prior to serving. Iced tea makes for great mocktails and you can add a slice of fruit to dress it up. Lemon, orange and strawberry slices are all great options.

Pairing the tea to your wedding
If you want to adapt the tea you serve to the feel of your wedding, then consider the following tips and ideas:

  • The time of year you're getting married might impact your flavour choices. While you might like a Melon Berry green tea for a summer wedding, a Spiced Blueberry Rooibos might suit better in winter.
  • The location of your wedding. For urban nuptials, an iced Earl Grey in a high glass with a wedge of lemon will look sleek and sophisticated, while a Paradise Punch green tea is just the ticket at beach-side dos.
  • Your wedding theme. If you've chosen a countryside feel for your decorations, a herbal infusion containing a variety of different flowers that look very colourful and pretty in the teabag is a nice touch. If you have been inspired by Bollywood, consider a Turmeric or Masala chai.

A brilliant brew: Image 4 Get the absolute best from your tea selection
There are three key things to pay attention to in order to achieve the best from your chosen tea. First off, the quality of the water you're using. Tea is, in essence, infused water. So it's not surprising the quality of the water matters a fair bit. Unless you live in an area with extremely pure tap water, filtered water is best. It will give you a much nicer flavour and the tea will look clear in the glass. Next, different types of tea require different types of water temperature. Black tea and herbal teas are easy at just off boiling point. Oolong, green and white teas are more delicate and require cooler temperatures. Whilst very precise temperature guidelines exist for most type of tealeaves, an easy to remember rule is: black and herbal at 100c and all others at 80c. If you don't have a temperature-controlled kettle available you can add some cold water, about one-third room temperature water to two-thirds boiled water. Finally, how long are you brewing it for? How long you brew your cuppa comes down to personal preference in the end. Assuming you're using good quality wholeleaf tea, three-minutes is a good guide. But you might prefer your tea more or less strong and that is up to you.

Bear all of this in mind and you will be able to serve tea at your wedding which goes perfectly with your perfect day!

About the author...
Kim Havelaar is an accredited tea sommelier and the founder of Roqberry, a new brand focused on bringing big flavour to tea. With high-quality ingredients, hand-blended in the UK, Roqberry offers both unique flavoured blends as well as top quality artisan varieties. Flavours include fresh expressions of classic blends, such as smooth and sunny Citrus Grey, as well as extraordinary new fusions like savoury Sushi & Spice. There's a naturally caffeine-free infusions range from spiced Turmeric Chai to floral Bloom Box, and the speciality Tea Legends include artisan varieties like Jasmine DragonPearls that remain true to tradition. Check out www.roqberry.com

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