A Tea Expert's Favorite Pairing For Decadent Cheesecake

Few desserts are better than cheesecakes, like our New York-style cheesecake with a raspberry swirl, but admittingly, they can sometimes be a tad decadent. So when a bite of cheesecake feels a little too rich in the mouth, we feel it's time to slice through all that richness with strong coffee or a good cup of high-quality tea. But what exactly is the best tea pairing for decadent cheesecakes? To answer this question, we spoke to Tony Gebely of Tea Epicure, who is also the author of "Tea: A User's Guide. "

Gebely stated, "A shou pu'er goes great with heavy foods or dairy, such as cheesecake. This tea will really bring out vanilla notes in the cheesecake." Shou pu'er is a type of pu-erh tea, a widely-consumed black tea with many purported health benefits from the Yunnan province of China. Shou pu'er tea has gained popularity since its inception in the 1970s. It is a dark tea, and all its flavors are quite developed since shou pu'er tea leaves undergo an accelerated fermentation process. 

Tea drinkers describe shou pu'er as a little smoky, earthy, and woodsy, with notes of vanilla. All these notes make it the perfect tea to pair with cheesecake, as Gebely recommended.

Rich cheesecakes call for robust and stronger teas

When you have a decadent dessert, like our baked ricotta cheesecake, or the king of rustic and rich cheesecakes, like La Viña's basque cheesecake, reach for a cup of robust black tea like Tony Gebely's favorite shou pu'er. Shou pu'er, while darker and complex in flavor, has mellow tones and goes down silky smooth, perfectly balancing rich cheesecakes. Just note before you enjoy the shou pu'er tea with your cheesecake, you should note the best temperature for brewing black tea first.

But what if you want to enjoy a lighter cheesecake, such as a Japanese cotton cheesecake? Unlike a dense and creamy cheesecake, this cake, out of the oven, has a chiffon and souffle-like texture. What tea should you choose to pair with this less decadent cheesecake? In this case, we would still follow Gebely's suggestion. Since he recommended we pair decadent cheesecakes with a richer tea, by the same logic, we should pair a lighter tea, like white or green tea, with a lighter cheesecake. If you need a recommendation for green tea, we've ranked the 15 best green tea brands