Updated: Jan 16
Besides water, tea is the beverage that is drunk the most around the world, and is quickly rising in the ranks of popularity in the US, but what most tea drinkers don't know is that tea can be more than a drink. Tea is a versatile ingredient in cooking and flavoring foods as well. In a later article, Cuppa is excited to share more ways to use tea in cooking including recipes to try at home, but today we're going to talk about a simpler version of using tea in your foods: tea salts. Tea salts are just as they sound, tea and salt mixed together.
Tea salts add an extra dimension of flavor to cooking and flavoring everyday foods including popcorn, meats, roasted vegetables, and anything else your creative taste buds can think up. Making tea salt is super easy. Just choose your favorite teas, and your favorite salts, blend together and let sit in a sealed container overnight. The longer the tea and salt are together the better the flavor will be. You can also use a chunkier salt, like flaked or sea salt, add the tea and crush with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to better incorporate the flavors and make a finer sprinkle of salt.
We've paired a few common types of salt with our favorite tea match-ups below:
Table Salt: Table salt is the most readily available form of salt, found at grocery stores, and most likely already on your table.
Sea Salt: Sea salt, made from evaporated sea water is the second most common type of salt available. This salt is usually chunkier, though you can find fine ground versions of it in grocery stores.
Himalayan Pink Salt: This salt is the purest form of salt in the world, and contains more than 84 natural minerals. Pink salt has a stronger salt flavor than table or sea salt.
Sel Gris: Also known as Grey Salt, this salt is harvested from tidal pools, this salt has a naturally brine flavor. This salt is naturally still a little moist which adds to it's unique flavor and texture.
Black Hawaiian salt: This salt harvested from the Hawaiian islands is a dark black color due to the addition of activated charcoal. It's unique color makes it a great finishing salt sure to impress.
When it comes to recipes for tea salts, the possibilities are endless. Find a flavor tea and salt you enjoy, blend, and add it to whatever foods your little heart desires.
There are plenty of other ingredients you can add to your tea salts as well, including citrus zest, herbs, and spices. To start, below is a simple tea and salt combo chart that pairs types of teas with the salts mentioned above.
Table salt and Earl Grey tea: Good on roasted vegetables, stews, pork, and in homemade stocks.
Add orange zest, fresh ground black pepper, sage, or rosemary to give your tea salt an added flavor element.
Sea Salt and Jasmine Silver Needle tea: Great with rice dishes, finishing on salads, fish, and steamed vegetables .
Add ground white peppercorn, ground ginger, or garlic powder.
Himalayan Pink Salt and Rooibos: Sprinkle this mixture over fresh watermelon, finish on salads, steaks, and add to caramel for a distinctly different salted caramel experience.
Blend with ground rose petals, cacao nibs, or crushed red pepper flakes to amp up the flavors in this tea salt.
Sel Gris and Sencha Green tea: Due to it's natural brine-y flavor, Sel Gris pairs well with vegetal Sencha Green tea. Use this blend on fish dishes, and steamed vegetables.
For an extra touch add fresh grated lemongrass or horseradish, lemon zest, ground green peppercorn, or a bit of mint.
Black Hawaiian Salt and Lapsang Souchong tea: The naturally earthy flavor of the Black Hawaiian Salt and the bold smoky flavor of the Lapsang Souchong black tea make this pair a perfect match. Use this salt in BBQ rubs, grilled vegetables, and red meats.
Add chili spices, cayenne, black pepper, thyme, or rosemary to really make these flavors pop.
To blend your combinations we recommend 2 parts salt to 1 part tea, then add in desired amounts of additional ingredients, and they should be used within a month for best flavor.
The flavor combinations are absolutely endless when it comes to Tea Salts. Drop a line in the comments and let us know what you combined and what you cooked it with!