New survey reveals intriguing food and tea pairings among UK consumers

Skip that pint of beer with your next fish and chips — try a cup of black tea instead.

A new survey recently commissioned by Dorset, England-based Clipper Tea, delved into tea habits of 18- to 64-year-olds across the United Kingdom and uncovered some unexpected results. It is highly unlikely that I would try all the pairings, but some are certainly worth exploring.

The survey finds that a third of Brits love tea with their fish and chips, while one in five would have a cup of tea with quintessentially British meals like sausage and mash or a jacket potato. Among the more surprising tea and food pairings, one in ten respondents said they would drink Earl Grey with a curry, and a quarter would accompany one with a pasty (like an empanada).

Tea sommelier and Great Taste Awards judge, Angela Pryce, who partnered with Clipper Tea, revealed which tea types go best with some of the nation’s favourite meals, noting, “English Breakfast goes brilliantly with roast beef,” adding, “It’s fantastic to see Brits’ more interesting tea combinations – there really are so many great ways to pair tea with food.”

For example, Pryce said that lemon drizzle cake can be “harmoniously matched with an Earl Grey as their citrus characters complement one another, while green tea combines well with spicy foods because of its refreshing and cleansing texture.” (Green tea is Clipper’s segment-leading SKU.)

Camomile is apparently quite versatile, with Pryce sharing that it can be enjoyed any time of day or night, as it is naturally caffeine free. “This will work best paired with lighter foods – an egg custard tart sprinkled with a dusting of nutmeg would work a treat. For a playful combination, try a gingernut biscuit with a peppermint herbal infusion. The fiery heat of the biscuit works in absolute contrast to the pure coolness of the mint-tongue tingling magic.”

The survey discovered that almost a quarter of respondents like to be adventurous with different flavour tea. So, for ‘daring’ Brits looking for new tea pairings, Pryce suggested pairing green tea with lemon infusions and smoked salmon because it can add flavour, while rooibos is best served with cashew nut or coconut-based food.

Unsurprisingly, breakfast is the most popular meal to have with a cup of tea (82 percent), followed by 56 percent of respondents also having tea with their lunch and 63 percent with dinner. Of course, when choosing tea, taste was the most important factor per 87 percent of UK tea drinkers – with one in six adding that having a cup of tea is the highlight of their day.

“We’re a nation of tea lovers and foodies, and we love exploring how tea can be paired with our favourite meals (Roast beef and English Breakfast? Yes please.) as well as the dishes people are already enjoying with their daily brew,” said Bryan Martins, marketing director at Clipper Tea. “It’s clear that great tasting tea complements any meal and is the number one factor for people when choosing the perfect blend. There are so many tea varieties with distinctive tasting notes and aromas – a delicious cuppa can really make it better.”

The survey of 2,000 tea drinkers, conducted via OnePoll, also saw English Breakfast crowned the most popular tea flavour (56%), followed by Earl Grey (25%), green tea (22%) and a peppermint infusion (21%). Two thirds of those surveyed agree that tea is the most comforting drink with a further six in ten admitting a ‘brew’ was able to get them through the winter blues.

The survey comes following the recent launch of Clipper Teas’ latest consumer campaign, which saw it challenge people to ‘Make it Better’ and not settle — especially when it comes to tea (no matter what it is being paired with).

While I will not pair tea with fish and chips or roast beef anytime soon, a ginger cookie (‘biscuit’) and peppermint tea do sound tempting…

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