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DIGEST | Contemplating Tea Snacks

By this point, many of you may know us as much for the pineapple linzer cookies as for our oolongs. In fact the linzers may have been what first introduces some people to Té and later to Taiwanese oolongs–and that was the point.

The Pineapple Linzer: A Brief History

Afternoon tea is usually the first thing that comes to mind as a model for pairing food with tea, and with all the baked goods involved it only makes sense. In fact, the linzer was inspired by pineapple cakes, a traditional Taiwanese pastry. And but for the shortbread cookie–we admit, it was inspired by British–we’ve continued to take inspiration from Taiwanese and Chinese tea culture.

We first started making the pineapple linzers back when Té was still a stall at the New Amsterdam Market as a way to lure new customers into trying our teas. After all, who doesn’t want to try a little cookie enticingly bedecked in lime zest and flake salt?

Branching Out

The linzer was our first creation, and it was also the most creative. Chinese tea snacks are as varied as its tea culture but there are some throughlines, and we like to stick to the classics.

Nuts and nut candies, for instance, are a mainstay accompaniment in Chinese tea culture, and especially peanuts. Texture and flavor profile are often as important as the snack itself: crunchy or chewy, sweet, salty, or spicy.

Each time we begin to develop a new snack, we take those same tenants into consideration. Anyone who’s spent time in the tearoom won’t be surprised to hear that Frederico is a perfectionist, which is part of the reason we produce all our snacks in small batches.

It keeps everything up to our standards and gives us an opportunity to tinker with recipes until we’re 100% happy with them. If we’re being totally honest, it also sounds pretty good and who doesn’t love a two-birds-one-stone situation? Small batch snacks made with organic ingredients and French butter–fancy, no?

Another thing you may have noticed if you’ve been to the tearoom is that the snacks, and even the desserts, aren’t particularly sweet. Before you start worrying, it’s not because we’re all on some diet or even think sugar is evil, although it’s not quite our savior either.

It’s because sugar is only one dimension of sweets, not all of it. It’s also possible that Frederico actually doesn’t like the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum, but we can forgive him for he makes such delightful confections.

Serving In The Tearoom & Virtually

When the tearoom shut down last March, we quickly realized that we had to rethink the tea experiences we aim to make. No amount of manifesting was going to change how different curating a home experience is from the tearoom.

Who wants to think about the postal system, for instance, let alone your snacks going through it? Not us. But like everyone else, we had to adapt, and luckily this is where small batch production comes back in: producing snacks to order means that they’re as fresh as possible for everyone.

Some of you may know this already, but a lot of us in the food and beverage industry are perfectionists. If it’s not exactly what we want exactly the way we want it, it’s gone (very New York, no?).

That meant we had to rethink the snacks program–you can’t exactly mail a slice of cheesecake, after all–and curate a different, more transportable concept. And thus: shortbread, brittle, and nougat. All delicious (if we do say so ourselves) and all great paired with tea. Add a cute dessert plate (or, if you’re a fanatic like us a snack plate), your favorite teacup, and some good music, and it’s basically eating out.

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