April 21 is officially National Tea Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by pairing tea with some delicious cookies. That’s why we put together the ultimate guide to tea and cookie pairings below. Regardless of your tastes, we think you’ll find a tasty cookie and tea combo below to inspire some special moments with tea in your own life.
But that said, National Tea Day is about more than just sweet afternoon treats. So let’s start off by taking a closer look at the tradition that inspired it all...
What is Afternoon Tea, and What Can We Learn From It?
Breaking for tea and a snack in the middle of the day isn’t a mere guilty pleasure. It’s actually a time-honored tradition going back many hundreds of years.
In England specifically, where the tradition still exists today, afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. The Duchess would often become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon, and ask for a tray of tea, bread and butter. When this became a habit, she later started inviting friends to join her.
Soon after, the traditional afternoon tea became a popular shared social event. In London, several hotels (including the Ritz and the Savoy) still pay homage to this tradition by continuing to serve afternoon tea today.
This idea of “breaking” in the middle of the day may seem strange to Americans, but many cultures participate in something like this. The Swedish Fika or Mexican Siesta are other examples.
As Americans, we can sometimes glorify being fast-paced and focusing on productivity, when these qualities aren’t always necessarily healthy. Afternoon tea and other afternoon breaking traditions are a reminder that rest is actually a key part of sustainable productivity (after all, that’s the reason we sleep, have weekends, and take vacations).
6 Delicious Tea and Cookie Pairings
We worked with our friends at Buddha Teas to discover the best tea and cookie combinations. Tea and cookies can be enjoyed separately, but for this challenge we actually dunked the cookies into the tea. Because of that, we chose to focus on our crispy cookies, which hold up better in tea and provide a really nice texture contrast to the tea.
Here are the best tea and cookie pairings we found:
Spicy, Bold Tea & Cookie Pairings
1. Speculoos Cookies with CBD Cacao Fusion
Speculoos cookies and coffee are a time honored tradition. So much so that Lotus named their speculoos cookies Biscoff, short for biscuits and coffee.
But Speculoos also goes really well with tea. We tried a wide variety of Buddha Teas and were surprised to find that the CBD Cacao Fusion was our top choice. Our Speculoos cookies are full of flavor, so it takes a bold tea to make the pairing work. The CBD Cacao Fusion is just that! Bold, earthy, chocolatey.
2. Speculoos Cookies with English Breakfast Tea
Our second favorite pairing with Speculoos was with English Breakfast Tea. English Breakfast is bold and slightly bitter. When paired with our sweet and spicy Speculoos cookies, they really bring out the best in each other.
3. Speculoos Cookies with Japanese Cherry Blossom Tea
A surprising find was that Speculoos paired well with Japanese Cherry Blosson tea. This black tea combined with preserved cherry blossoms was a unique floral and spicy combination that we loved.
Light, Delicate Tea & Cookie Pairings
4. Chocolate Chip and Assam Tea
For those that prefer a little chocolate in their snacks, we found several teas that went well with our Chocolate Chip cookies. Our favorite Chocolate Chip pairing was Buddha Teas black Assam tea.
Assam is a black Indian tea with a brisk, malty flavor. Paired with the sweet, crisp Chocolate Chip? Perfection!
5. Chocolate Chip and Earl Grey
Earl Grey is perhaps the most popular tea on earth, so it's no surprise that it pairs well with the most popular cookie flavor. It's delicious and has a satisfying bergamot zing that enhances the chocolate flavor, but it's not so strong that it overpowers the cookie.
6. Chocolate Chip and Chamomile Flower Tea
Chamomile is another tea that is light enough that that is doesn't overpower the Chocolate Chip cookie, but interesting enough that it stands out when paired. The real fun in this pairing is the floral accents. It's a bit like eating a chocolate chip cookie that's been laying in a flower field!
The Bottom Line
The most important aspect of pairing tea and cookies is that it is indeed a true pairing, meaning neither the cookie nor the tea take a backseat.
You should be able to taste and enjoy both equally.If you have a light cookie, it needs to be paired with a light tea and a bold or spicy cookie needs a bold tea, but you might need to try several different kinds to find the perfect match.
And don't be afraid to play! We found that both our lighter cookie and the bolder cookie did well with floral teas, and our favorite match for the speculoos was a complete surprise.
How to Celebrate National Tea Day
Now that you know some great cookie and tea pairings for National Tea Day, it’s time to celebrate.
We encourage you to use National Tea Day as an excuse to incorporate an afternoon break into your day. Don’t overthink this: it can be as simple as taking a break and enjoying some Maxine’s Heavenly and an iced tea.
And don’t feel this has to be exclusive to National Tea Day - take a moment each day to yourself!
Want to try some of these pairings? Use code TEADAY20 at maxinesheavenly.com and buddhateas.com for 20% off your order!
Code expires 4/30/2022.