Matcha-infused ice cream. Photo by Jer Chung from Pexels

Tea is not just for drinking. Just like wine, tea is as much a cooking ingredient as a drink on its own.

Sometimes we often overlook these fragrant leaves when it comes to cooking. Speaking to tea expert, Jessica Bonin of Lady Bonin's Tea Parlour on what the culinary world is creating with tea as a major ingredient at the moment, below is what she said.

Matcha

This has been widely growing popularity since 2015 and it does not seem to be slowing down. It is used in everything from ice cream to lattes to baking and even savoury dishes. Matcha is a finely ground “Tencha” green tea leaf specific to Japan. If it is not grown in Japan it is not Matcha, as the soil, method and atmosphere of Japan create the particular leaf that makes Matcha what it is.

Rooibos

Our local wonder plant is gaining incredible traction internationally. Because it is caffeine free and strong enough to mix with things like tea, it is not only a great replacement for black tea, but brilliant in its culinary use from biscuits to more savoury delights. It is also being used in iced teas and cappuccino replacements.

Kombucha 

This culture, an actual living organism, feeds of tea. We have seen an unbelievable surge in kombucha products not only in South Africa, but across the world. It is renowned for its benefit to gut health, the new brain of the body. Teas like black and green tea are some of the most popular ones used to feed the “scobi”.