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Tea has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Here are 10 unique new ways to use tea, extending its charm beyond the cup and into the kitchen:

How to use tea in your cooking

Use tea in your cooking by adding it to marinades
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1) Tea-infused marinades

Using tea as a base for marinades can bring a unique depth of flavour to a range of dishes. For example, you can use a strong black tea with its robust, smoky flavour as a marinade for red meat, enhancing the meat’s flavour while also acting as a tenderiser. Alternatively, a lighter tea such as Earl Grey, with its distinctive citrusy, bergamot notes, can provide an aromatic and delicate touch to poultry.

2) Tea-based soups

Instead of water or broth, consider using a brewed tea as the liquid base for your soup. The type of tea you choose can dramatically change the soup’s overall flavour. A hearty black tea can add an intense depth to a meat-based soup, while a lighter green tea is better suited to a vegetable- or tofu-based soup, adding a subtly grassy undertone.

Matcha tea cake is popular for a reason!
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3) Baking with tea
Infusing baked goods with tea can introduce exciting and unexpected flavour profiles. For instance, finely ground matcha (green tea powder) can be incorporated into dough or batter for cookies, cakes or muffins, giving a beautiful green hue and distinctive, slightly sweet flavour. Similarly, chai spices, with their warm and aromatic qualities, can be added to banana bread or apple pie recipes for an inventive twist.

4) Tea smoothies
Starting your day with a tea-infused smoothie can be a refreshing and healthy alternative to coffee. Brew a cup of strong tea (green tea or a fruity herbal tea would work well), let it cool and then use it as the liquid base for your smoothie. The tea not only adds a flavour boost but also packs your smoothie with antioxidants.

5) Tea-based salad dressings
For a unique twist on a salad dressing, try adding brewed and cooled tea. This is especially effective with tangy, fruity teas like hibiscus or berry blends. The tea can either replace the vinegar in the dressing or be used alongside it, depending on your taste preference.

6) Tea-infused rice & grains
Steeping rice or other grains in brewed tea instead of water can add an intriguing flavour. Jasmine-tea-infused rice would add an exotic twist to your Asian dishes, while quinoa infused with Earl Grey tea would make for a delightful and aromatic salad base.

Tea cocktails - the possibilities are endless!
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7) Tea in cocktails & mocktails
Using tea as a base for a cocktail or mocktail can open a world of possibilities. From a refreshing iced tea lemonade on a hot summer’s day to a warming spiced tea toddy in the colder months, the options are endless.

RELATED: Tea + beer! Hong Kong’s Moonzen’s Hazy Tea Cold IPA

8) Tea jams & jellies
For a creative use of tea in your cooking, try making tea-flavoured jams and jellies. Earl Grey, jasmine or any fruit-infused tea would be particularly effective here. These can be used as spreads or glazes, offering a fun twist on a standard breakfast or dessert dish.

Matcha ice cream is a popular way to use tea in your cooking
Photo by Shiho Azuma on Unsplash

9) Tea ice creams & sorbets
Incorporate tea into your desserts by infusing your ice cream or sorbet bases with a strong brew. Matcha, chai and Earl Grey would all add interesting flavour profiles to your frozen treats.

10) Tea in sauces & gravies
Adding a splash of strongly brewed tea to a sauce or gravy can help to deepen its flavour. This works particularly well with rich, meat-based sauces, but tea can also be used in lighter, plant-based sauces.

RELATED: Find all the classiest afternoon teas in Hong Kong listed right here

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