The Perfect Pairing, You Young Whippersnappers

I’m over tea pairing with food. Ho hum. All I hear some days is “Lord Devotea, what tea should I have with my Mars Bar foie gras?”

Listen folks, we don’t have to be as dull as wine folk. Their product is just old grape juice. They need to oversell. “Please, please drink Chardonnay when you’re eating a ham sandwich. We beg you” . It’s undignified.

That’s not to say there is not a place for educating the ignorant. If people have not taken the time to try a few hundred teas, they may be unaware of the options for a nice tea to go with their filet mignon or bag of doughnuts. Even though in this case the ignorance is their fault, a little gentle coaching now and then is acceptable. So, as an example when kind-hearted people like @jopj offer a class so that the truly ignorant can better themselves by learning about pairing tea and chocolate, then I can be charitable.

But for those of us who make, blend, write about, sell, review or serve tea, to pair tea with food is such a narrow thing.

Tea is for pairing with LIFE ITSELF!

I have previously remarked that the best pairing in the world is a cup of Lord Petersham and a new episode of Downton Abbey. This I wholeheartedly believe. And judging by an upswing is sales each time it comes on, I’ve managed to pull that off.

So I could expend another 3,000,000 words giving you ideal tea pairings for everything from delivering sextuplets to learning Hungarian, from your first driving lesson to committing bank fraud.

I could, and you know I could, and it’s probably making you nervous, so let me calm you down by saying I won’t.

However, it seems I have a certain reputation for ranting, Who knows why, I’m usually pretty reasonable. It’s been ages since I’ve advocated setting fire to anything or anyone.

Nevertheless, I am going to offer now a selection of rants, and a tea to go with them. Strap yourselves in!


Why is the world suddenly being run by young people? Back in my day young people were basically half-formed semi-sentient creatures who barely got up by the crack of noon in time to fill the fridge with beer. Now they are heading soulless accounting firms, running on-line businesses selling unproven products and even standing for parliament. How can you stand for parliament if you have to be home by 10 pm weeknights and need to borrow $20 from Dad every day because your clapped-out car chews through the petrol? Young people should be wasting their lives at university earnestly discussing how they will fix the world, not poncing about in three piece suits with over-sized wristwatches or hanging about clubs wearing $2000 designer skirts from a ‘designer’ who just staples pipe cleaners together.


There’s an undercurrent of bitterness and lost opportunity in that rant, so let’s counteract it with a nice, smooth mellow Mokalbari East or similar Assam.


Look, that guy is smoking in public. Why is he smoking out here? Or at all? It’s the 21st century! Surely there are small coffin-like spaces we can shut smokers in endlessly recycling their smoke back at them ’til they die? Or apply a public beating at least.


A lovely Lapsang Souchong is called for here, or a Russian Caravan if you’re chicken. Prove to the world that you can get a bit smokey without offending those around you. Set a dignified good example, and ignore the knocking sound, growing ever feebler, from the wooden box full of bound and gagged smokers in your basement.


Why is this TV station showing the same commercial twice in the same break? Do they not realise how annoying that is? No wonder piracy is the new TV. What sort of idiots are they? Even if I ever want to buy a new car / sanitary product / loaf of bread / annuity /  ear wax remover, I’ll buy one from a brand that hasn’t annoyed me in 30 second installments 57 times in one episode of SVU.


You might think you need soothing, but I say NO!! Fan your rage with a highly caffeinated, over-steeped dark Keemun. An extra minute takes these teas from being the perfect gentlemen in your cup to a snarling beast climbing the sides. Use it to fuel your righteous anger. Three cups and your living room will look like a hotel room that The Eagles have just left, circa 1979.


I ordered tea. I didn’t order milk. And the milk I didn’t order isn’t on the side, it’s in the damn tea. What’s wrong with you people? What if I had stapled a live tarantula onto the fiver I just handed over? You didn’t ask for it, but hey, you got it.


Now, that’s tricky, as you already have tea. The perfect answer here is to just ask for hot water, reach into your jacket pocket or handbag and pull out your emergency tea-sac full of good tea. I always carry Fleurs de Provence, as it has an aroma that people love and makes them jealous. But whatever you’re carrying, it’s bound to be better than whatever they have just served you.

And there you have it.

So, for your homework, I’m going to list five obvious opportunities to rant. Let me know your options for dealing with any or all of them.

  1. Colleagues who eat tinned fish at their desk
  2. Drivers whom you politely let in in traffic and who don’t acknowledge that with a jaunty wave
  3. Hall and Oates on a jukebox
  4. People who use the wrong word repeatedly, like “pacifically” for “specifically’
  5. Medical receptionists who act like er, well, medical receptionists.

Please share your thoughts in my comments. I plan to rant about those who don’t, accompanied by a nice silver needle.



  1. Behold: for this is my comment, the first of more than one.
    If I were capable of admiration or respect for any other than myself, I would hesitate but agree to admire your rants and (provisionally) the teas you’ve imagined pairing with them.
    I still have the sour, tinny taint of some grossly oversteeped supermarket black/green/herb blend pairing with this comment, and as it fades I shall rejoin your post with the CORRECT pairing.
    I am sure that you are looking forward to learning the truth from me, as I look forward to seeing my wisdom once again writ on the monitors of the world.
    P.S. May all of the unsavory woe in the world wrack you, should you ever make me the object of one of your “rants.” Consider yourself advised.
    P.P.S. I paired with this postscript a rapidly cooling splash of competition grade bi luo chun, the delicacy and grace of which inspires you to a healthy and appropriate jealous rage.

  2. To start with, here’s one suggestion for food/tea pairing for colleagues who eat tinned fish at their desk:
    Send work pal to the boss’ office with flimsy excuse. Take a very large teabag, empty contents into bin, replace with canned fish bits, stuff to the max, close with staple, drop into cup of hot water. Upon colleague’s return from fruitless visit upstairs, offer him the fine cuppa, with just the tea bag tag peeking out of the mug. Voila. Fish goes perfectly with any tea bag!

  3. 1. Colleagues who eat tinned fish at their desk
    I am this colleague. To those who decry the solemn and delicious ritual of my morning sardine, I toss a boiling cup of whatever is handy, and watch them tussle with the question “how do I catch a cup of mediocre tea without causing myself injury?” (Please note: I keep my office door closed when partaking, and coworkers only smell the fishies if they dare interrupt me.)
    2. Drivers whom you politely let in in traffic and who don’t acknowledge that with a jaunty wave
    To this affront, I simply offer a false smile and a one-fingered wave. I pair this with no tea at all, which is what they deserve.
    3. Hall and Oates on a jukebox
    After putting in my quarters and selecting my personal anthem, “Maneater,” I retire to the bar for a sickeningly sweet but, in the end, unfulfilling Thai Iced Tea with extra condensed milk on the side. Everyone else in the place falls in love with me, but I am in my happy place and acknowledge no one.
    4. People who use the wrong word repeatedly, like “pacifically” for “specifically”
    Coincidentally, I spent all afternoon listening to idiots in the courthouse waiting room confuse the words levees, levies and Levis, quite sure that they also wouldn’t be able to tell the objects themselves from each other. I considered inquiring whether they knew the difference between homophones & homophobes, but knew that I would be wasting my precious breath to do so. Instead I took the opportunity to practice as much of my self-prescribed Primal Scream Therapy as possible before the bailiff… interfered.
    5. Medical receptionists who act like er, well, medical receptionists.
    I leave this tasty rant in your capable hands, Mr. Godden (if that really is your name).

    • Mr Teacup is new here, and as such must be commended for finishing his homework. Clearly some of the answers are wrong, but he will learn.

      • Devotea, I suspect you are having difficulty locating the errors in my post. If I can be of any assistance, please message me.

  4. @johnnyteacup – all I can say is “Who are you?” And I dare say; Mr Godden now has the fiercest competition. Wonder who will win the battle of the clever words? I will sat back and enjoy my cuppa with this double dose of rant. Bravo!

    • “Who am I?” A long-time tea-drinker, amazingly beautiful and as clever as a gizzard. I have been known to fraternize with “Tea People” in Seattle including Cinnabar Wright, Brett Boynton, Ricardo Cruz, Michael Coffey, Christopher Shaw, and a cat named Vinnie.
      My first tea was Lipton, and my first good tea was Competition Grade Tieguanyin which still knocks my socks.
      I enjoy using tea to foster hostility in myself and others. My arch-nemesis (and oldest love) is the bear on a package of SleepyTime tea.

  5. @jackie: Thank you for your support.
    @thedevotea: You are mistaken: I cannot learn. Ergo, I am always right.
    I encourage you to try schooling me in these matters, such an exercise would be a fine way to pass the time & ism certain that your frustration with me will serve your ranting impulses well.

  6. It seems someone is ranting with the same strength (or so it seems) as our dear friend @thedevotea 😀

    To be honnest, I never thought of pairing teas with the events you describe but I might give it a thought now that you opened the door.

  7. My favorite part of this post is when you say… “Tea is for pairing with life itself.” 100% Agree!

    After that it is all just icing and fun.

  8. I think this is the best tea pairing I’ve ever read.