The Unique Tea Pairing To Try With Your Next Plate Of Fried Chicken, According To An Expert

Tea and chicken may not sound like a match made in heaven at first glance, but you'd be surprised at how well these two can pair together. We've already declared our love for using sweet tea to make fried chicken, which can amp up the flavor and juiciness of your crispy poultry. According to Tony Gebely, world-renowned tea expert and certified tea master, choosing the right cup can create a refreshing pairing to sip alongside any style of fried chicken as well.

On his YouTube channel and award-winning blog, Tea Epicure, Gebely offers his expertise on the world of tea, including guidance on how best to drink it. He gave us the inside scoop with his recommendation for a fried chicken pairing: unsweetened, iced Japanese Sencha. "The vegetal notes of the iced Sencha create a delightful juxtaposition against the rich, savory flavors of the fried chicken," Gebely told Tasting Table. "This contrast not only refreshes the palate but also enhances the depth of flavors in both the tea and the chicken, making for an unexpectedly harmonious pairing."

A light, refreshing Japanese green tea

While we'll commonly only see green tea or matcha listed on an American coffee shop menu, the world of Japanese green tea is vast. Sencha is one of the 12 types of Japanese tea we've profiled and, although it isn't as popular in the U.S., it's one of the most beloved varieties in Japan. It's a green tea made from whole leaves that are typically grown in the sun and then are steamed, rolled up, and dried. Unlike matcha, which is a powder you'd whisk into hot water, Gebely recommends steeping four grams of high-grade sencha leaves in two ounces of water for just over a minute. This option is a lower caffeine alternative to matcha as well, with only 30 mg per cup at most.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the two (and why Gebely recommended sencha as a fried chicken pairing) comes down to flavor. While matcha is earthy and slightly bitter, sencha is lighter and more refreshing, with grassy, oceanic notes — perfect for contrasting with heavier, crispy fried chicken. In case you're not in the mood for poultry, Gebely also advises pairing this Japanese tea with goat cheese and cheddar on a charcuterie board, where its freshness will perfectly balance out the tanginess of the former and the sharpness of the latter.