Sip These 9 Delicious Pounds Paired With The Perfect Tea
The truly curated reading experience comes with a drink. Now that it’s finally warm tea season in the Northern Hemisphere, I’m ready to settle into my comfy reading chair with a nice cup of tea by my side. If I may make a suggestion, treat yourself to a huge handmade mug made by a potter who is near you. A teacup should feel good in your hands, in part because you met the hands that made it. And because I like the finer details of conservation, the tea in this cup has to go with the book. Not in a very literal sense, though. We do not match countries of origin for teas and authors. These are vibrations that we organize here.
Brew yourself a cup – or a whole jar! – of tea before you sit down to read is the perfect transitional experience. Brewing tea is a calming ritual, and for best results, you can’t rush it. Making tea gives you a chance to clear your mind and set your intentions for the reading experience you are about to embark on. While many of us have to snatch our reading time between leftovers among other responsibilities, we all deserve a proper break. Whether or not you’re looking for a caffeine pick-me-up, I’ve got teas for you. Likewise if you like flavored or pure tea. And then you have to choose your book. Can I suggest one?
Pair with Genmaicha
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Genmaicha is one of my favorite teas. Adding puffed rice gives it a savory flavor reminiscent of popcorn. Blended with bright green tea, the result is energizing and fun. It makes me want to read something cinematic. The Lost Apothecary is a dual-timeline novel, one contemporary and the other historical, centering on an artefact found during a mudlarking expedition on the Thames. Although it features a female-run apothecary who dispenses poisons to bad guys, it doesn’t take itself seriously. I thought it was a crazy story.
Pair with David’s Tea S’mores Chai
Two parts sugar, one part murder by Valerie Burns
Every time I make this tea within reach (is that a thing?) of a co-worker, people always comment on how good it smells. Sweet and cinnamon and just a little smoky thanks to the pu-erh tea base, s’mores chai is the perfect tea to accompany a cozy mystery, especially with culinary themes. This book follows Maddy Montgomery to her surprise inheritance in Michigan, where she now owns a bakery. When the town’s mayor is dead and Maddy’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon, she must clear his name. And yes, the book contains recipes.
To associate with an Oolong tea with milk
Violence by Delilah S. Dawson
Oolong tea with milk is a tea that surprises me a little. Where does this creamy flavor come from? It’s also extremely satisfying. One book that I found both surprising and satisfying this year was Violence. Inside, there is a post-COVID pandemic that is causing intense flashes of violence among those infected. The story traces the effects of the pandemic on three generations of women from the same family. It’s shockingly violent at times, unsurprisingly, but it lands somewhere that I found so thoroughly engrossing, even oddly heartwarming.
Pair with Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea
The risk of joint tenancy by Talia Hibbert
Hot cinnamon spice tea is magical. It’s so intensely cinnamon, like drinking an atomic fireball candy. This is one of my favorite winter beers. Naturally, something so sweet and invigorating has to be associated with romance. The risk of joint tenancy was the first Talia Hibbert book I read, and it holds such a special place in my heart. Jasmine moves in with her best friend Rahul after a plumbing disaster at her house. But Rahul has always loved Jasmine, and that trope of forced closeness grabs me every time! Tension for days.
Pair with Sloane Fine Tea Merchants Heavenly Cream
Half-blown rose by Leesa Cross-Smith
When I want to feel classy and elegant, I turn to my Heavenly Cream tea. It’s basically Earl Gray with the addition of a little vanilla. And it tastes absolutely indulgent. A perfect book to go with it is Half-blown rose. Vincent is a woman living her absolute best life in Paris following her husband’s betrayal. As she tries to rebuild her life, she meets a sexy young man named Wolf and things get both complicated and delicious. This book has the leisurely rhythm of a stroll through Paris, where you take the time to notice every little thing. The book even organizes the reading lists for you in the text.
Pair it with a vanilla rooibos tea
The blue castle by LM Montgomery
For me, vanilla rooibos tea is pure comfort. It’s what I drink when I’m past the caffeinated hour of the day, and I want something hot and a little sweet but not sweet. This is the tea to associate with your reading comfort. For me, it’s The blue castlethe romance novel written by the author of Anne of Green Gables. It’s a story of a marriage of convenience between Valancy Stirling and Barney Snaith. Valancy tries to get away from an overbearing family and she lands with a mysterious, dreamy man whose secrets are slowly being revealed. Pure delight.
Pair with Turkish Apple Tea
How many of these hills is gold by C Pam Zhang
The first time I had Turkish apple tea was unforgettable. I was in Istanbul, shopping in a bazaar. I was standing outside a carpet store when the owner invited me in, showed me a seat, and sent someone to get me some tea. Sipping the fragrant tea while being dazzled by its beautiful wares was like something out of a novel. For this tea, you want a haunting storytelling. So I chose this book, which weaves a mythological tale from the story of two newly orphaned children finding a place to rest the remains of their dead father in the era of the Rush to the West.
Pair with a Scottish breakfast
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
Of all the breakfast teas, Scottish is perhaps the strongest. Sometimes I need a tea that a spoon can stand in, a tea that can take a healthy dose of cream and sugar. If I’m looking at a hard day, I want fortification. Likewise, if I’m going to read something really difficult and potentially heartbreaking, a fortifying tea is a good match. Migrations is the story of a woman who follows arctic terns on what may be their last migration. Climate change and extinction are really hard pills to swallow, so if I’m going to leave this scary stuff in my brain, I want some strong tea to get me through it.
To associate with a Moroccan mint tea
The Hacienda by Isabel Canas
Moroccan mint tea is the one I love iced, with a little rose syrup if you have it. It’s so crisp and refreshing, the perfect drink to sit down after sweating while raking the leaves. I like to pair it with a book that brings something really refreshing to a well-rehearsed story. The Hacienda follows a plot very similar to Daphne du Maurier’s gothic classic Rebecca. A second wife arrives at a house haunted (metaphorically, or perhaps literally) by the first wife, a haunting that needs to be exorcised. The Hacienda makes this story incredibly fresh and exciting by setting the story in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, adding a hot wizard priest – yes, a hot wizard priest!!! — and make the themes of colonialism incisive and explicit.
Please enjoy these refreshments. Then find even more book and tea pairings, complete with mysteries. Stay warm and happy reading, friends.