What Music Pairs Well With Your Favorite Tea? A Few Harmonic Suggestions

Classical music hosts Jessie Jacobs and Anjuli Dodhia drinking tea from mugs in front of a poster of musical history.
What could be better on a rainy day than tea and music? CREDIT: Anjuli Dodhia/NWPB

If it’s time for you to put on the kettle, ask this: What music do you choose to match your tea?

We once matched composers and cocktails, but let’s face it — not everyone wants an adult beverage at 9 a.m. So here we go: let’s match some music to tea varieties!

Ceylon Teas

Ceylon tea stands out for its rich color, strong aroma and bold, fresh taste – perfect for iced tea, or milk tea.

Such an accessible, full-bodied tea has to be associated with a Classical-era style called Sturm und Drang – “storm and stress.” The idea was to heighten emotion with minor keys, angular melodies and pulsing rhythms, all while keeping hold of a memorable, and hummable tune. Here’s a prime example: Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G minor. A “tempest in a teapot,” so to speak!

Jasmine Green Tea

Some varieties are strong, but for the most part jasmine is bright and easy to drink, good for everyday sipping, or with dinner…kind of like Baroque music. On the surface, both are light and easy, but settle in and you’ll discover layer upon layer of complexity.

Green tea only takes two minutes to steep, so while you dip your leaves into the water, listen to “Omnes generationes” from Bach’s Magnificat:

White Tea

Made from the buds and young leaves of the tea plant, why not pair it with music by child prodigies? Both begin their careers young, and the product tends to be sweet and bright. Check out Mendelssohn’s energy-infused Octet, written when he was 16.

Darjeeling

The Champagne of tea, according to some connoisseurs. It has a distinctive, nuanced flavor, often fruity or floral, and a light golden color. A perfect match for the sonically rich yet delicate piano music of Debussy. Sure, Clair de lune is his most famous piano solo, but for as much musical variety as Darjeeling offers in flavor, listen to Debussy’s Preludes.

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