Glass of iced tea next to a burger

Tea and Food Pairings for Summer Barbecues

It's grilling season, and what better way to elevate your delicious barbecue feast than exploring the world of tea and food pairings? I know, some of you want to know the best teas to pair with burgers, chicken, grilled fish, hotdogs and sausages… And there are teas that will go especially well with these items. While we won’t get into the specifics, we can make some simple recommendations:

Summer is here!

While the summer is great - the warm weather, blue skies, and days at the beach don’t mean much of anything without the classic barbecue (or BBQ if you prefer) with family and friends. If you think about it, no American summer is complete without the smells and sounds of grilling meat coupled with the sweet taste of apple pie and the crunch of our favorite chips.

And let’s not forget what most people consider the absolute best part of any cookout… standing there as you smell the burgers, steaks, chicken, and dogs grilling with an ice-cold glass of a refreshing beverage in your hand. This drink is, of course, specially designed and brewed just for you and your taste buds. How can you BBQ without your glass of…

Kettle Iced Black Tea

This Kettle Iced Tea is inspired by a Southern Sweet tea recipe straight out of Texas. It's a well-balanced, full flavored black tea blend with that bold black tea flavor, enough to withstand the sweetness needed for classic Southern sweet tea. Of course, sweetness is optional so if you prefer it the Northern style, unsweetened - this is the perfect iced tea! (Read below for an easy Sweet Tea recipe!)

Tea and Food Pairings

It's grilling season, and what better way to elevate your delicious barbecue feast than exploring the world of tea and food pairings? I know, some of you want to know the best teas to pair with burgers, chicken, grilled fish, hotdogs and sausages… And there are teas that will go especially well with these items. While we won’t get into the specifics, we can make some simple recommendations:


Who doesn’t love a well-prepared medium rare steak that is just lightly charred on the outside? Use a little salt and pepper, and when done right, you don’t need any type of a sauce with it. However, the choice of beverage goes a long way to ensuring that you get the most flavor out of each succulent bite of beef. The best teas for steak? Generally speaking, these are going to be straight black teas - like our Kettle Blend Iced Black Tea! For a boost, add a splash of lemon and boost the sweetness with your favorite sugar or honey. However, flavored iced teas like Casablanca or Superfruit also complement a rich and hearty steak dinner.


Possibly the most classic of the BBQ foods, the burger is often paired with a cold beer. Most people are good with this and call it a day. While there is nothing at all wrong with this flavor combination, there are a number of different options that are available to you. Why else would restaurants offer to fix your burger two dozen different ways if flavor combinations didn’t matter? When you want to chow down on a burger, think of the strong flavor of the meat, the bite of the pickle, the freshness of the lettuce, the soft buttery taste of a grilled bun, the creaminess of the cheese and mayo… it all just comes together, but it lacks something… even if you aren’t sure what it is. Why not try to find out?

Burgers go great with tea, and pair nicely with bold black teas like Happy Valley Darjeeling and Lover's Leap (Orange Pekoe). A fruity black tea like Vineyard Peach Strawberry or Mango Passionfruit can also make a great accompaniment to your burger.


Whether you enjoy seafood on the reg or you're on a summer vacation with fresh seafood available to you, tea pairs great with your fresh catch. Light, vegetal green teas such as Gyokuro, Sencha Supreme, or Dragonwell are a great pairing for seafood. The umami flavors do a great job enhancing the flavor of seafood without overpowering it like a black tea would.

Hot Dogs & Sausages

Remember that the flavor profile of these is unique, and toppings and condiments can make an impact on taste. This is where bold flavors can unite in harmony. Consider a bold, fruity tea like our Blood Orange or Mango Passionfruit. For hot dogs with sharp, vinegary toppings, consider a slightly citrusy tea like Golden Yunnan Royal Grade.


Chicken tastes plain without any seasonings - but when grilled, marinated, sauced, or prepared in other ways, it can take on different flavors depending on how it's prepared. That being said, think about how it is being cooked and plan your iced teas accordingly!

The vegetal flavor of green teas like Gyokuro make a great pairing for a lighter chicken dish. Citrusy green teas such as our Strawberry Orange green tea also go great with lighter chicken dishes. Sweet tea can be a delightful addition to barbecued chicken, offering a touch of sweetness to balance the savory flavors. For more robust chicken dishes, pair it with bold, hearty teas such as our English Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong, or Pinhead Gunpowder.


Much like coffee is a classic after dinner pairing with dessert, matcha does the same! The warmth and bitterness of the matcha pairs well with ice cream, another summer classic. If you prefer the classic taste of coffee, try pairing your dessert with a cup of Java Bean tea instead!

But really, what goes better with dessert than a dessert tea to pair it with? If you're enjoying a slice of pie (or slices), think about pairing it with a warm glass of Earl Grey Cream, Blueberry Crumbcake tea or Angel's Dream Maple Blackberry tea.

Recommended Iced Teas

Vineyard Peach Strawberry

An absolute favorite among the guests at The Whistling Kettle, the Vineyard Peach Strawberry tea combines two classic summer flavors with the refreshing bite of black tea. Full of caffeine, this tea will help your stomach settle after eating that half pound burger (you know you are going to do it) in front of you while the flavors of strawberry and peach dance on your tongue and bring you back to a simpler place while you forget your worries and just think about enjoying the here and now. Have a love of peaches and strawberries? Check out our video showcase on this tasty black tea blend here


No, we don't mean the movie! This colorful fruit tea, or tisane, is an addictive combination of berries and tropical fruits. If you love this combination and are looking to make a statement - look no further! Not only will our Casablanca tea blow you away with its pungent, fruity flavoranyone who takes a sip of this as an iced tea will not be disappointed. If you really want to make your drinks sing at your next summer event, you could consider substituting a fruit juice with Casablanca iced tea. (Add sweetener, too, if you'd like!) 

Gojiberry Blueberry Pomegranate

Our wonderful Gojiberry Blueberry Pomegranate green tea blend is a perfect mixture for sitting out on a sunny day. Get a bit of an energy boost from its tangy taste before jumping in the pool or sip it slow next to the grill while you flip burgers. Tastes great with a plate of watermelon or plain potato chips. 

For more recommendations, click here

But how do I make iced tea?

Our Conflicted Brewer is the quintessential kitchen item for iced tea this summer, and you are definitely going to want to take advantage of our sale on the brewer before the month is over. Our iced tea brewer is simple to use and has recipes printed right on the glass for ease-of-use. You won't have to worry about losing a recipe or missing a step. Just follow the instructions by the type of tea you have and done! We also have a post with step-by-step instructions on how to hot brew, cold brew, and even sun brew your tea at home.

Here's a free recipe you can use at home:

This recipe is made for The Conflicted Brewer, but can also be altered for home use in a pitcher. Things you will need:

  • The Conflicted Brewer (or 46oz pitcher of your choosing with a medium to large tea infuser or filter*)
  • Kettle Iced Tea Blend loose leaf tea
  • Cold, filtered water
  • Liquid Sweetener - your favorite sugar syrup or honey
  • Optional - half a lemon, hand squeezed. (Make sure to remove the seeds before squeezing!)

Southern Sweet Iced Tea (Cold Brew)

  1. Add 3 tablespoons of Kettle Iced Black Tea into infuser or filter
  2. Top off with cold filtered water
  3. Steep for 6-24 hours in the fridge. Remove filter and discard used tea leaves when the tea is at your desired strength.
  4. Mix in your sweetener. (About 3-5 tablespoons for most people is just right.)
  5. Optional: Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and stir!

A Final Thought…

Some of you might not be sold on the idea of using a new flavor profile to enhance the flavor profile of your favorite barbecue food. We recall that many people wish they could watch their favorite movie again for the first time. Why not try to use the flavors of tea with your barbecued foods to TASTE your favorite foods again for the first time? Your health, your tastebuds, and yes, your family will thank you for considering something new. Until next time, to your health! 

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