Pairing Notes: Books and the Teas That Love Them

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

I was all set to write a super summery post about my favourite summer hobby: reading. Reading at the beach, reading in the park, reading on my balcony. Summer is a season of reading and prepositional phrases for me.

But it isn’t summer here in Vancouver. It’s some kind of winter weekend transposed into early May. It has poured and poured and poured for the last two days (there have been reports of light snow in some parts of the city). So my thoughts have been less about summer fun and more about, well, tea. Because when it pours outside, it pours inside, too. Teapot, meet book nook. I know you two will get along famously.

I drink a lot of tea, and I read a lot of books, and lately I’ve noticed that some go very nicely together. So here are some pairing ideas for books and teas. These are all ones from my collection (I’m writing this while I stare at my tea cabinet) so I know I’ve missed some good ‘uns — don’t keep them to yourself! Meet me in the comments with your best additions to this list.

tea and books

If you’re reading Shakespeare, try Bard’s Blend from Friday Afternoon. It’s a ginger and vanilla black tea lightly sweetened with sugar crystals that look like sparkles. The name is a perfect fit for reading The Bard to End All Bards, of course, but I think especially well-suited to an afternoon of flipping through the sonnets.

If you’re reading romance, try Organic Green Seduction from DavidsTea. A green tea with pomegranate and rose hip, it has a really sensual aroma and it will keep you lightly caffeinated as you power through the pages.

If you’re reading dense literary fiction, try Cozy Caramel Rooibos from Murchie’s. Sometimes you need a hint of sweetness when things are getting dark in the depths of an adventure with Jonathan Franzen and his buddies. And the warm flavours will comfort you when the literary marriage you’re reading about inevitably fails.

If you’re reading fantasy, try Organic Dragonwell Tea from Mighty Leaf. First of all, the name sounds plucked from the pages of high fantasy. But it’s also a charming but powerful green tea with just a touch of nutty sweetness.

If you’re reading poetry, try Really Goethe by SerindipiTea. Ok, again, the name. I couldn’t resist. But I also can’t think of many poems that wouldn’t be enhanced by the scent of jasmine and rose (ok, maybe the Beats).

If you’re reading YA, try Mango Fruit “Tea” from Harney and Sons. This herbal and dried mango and hibiscus tisane has the look and scent of fruit punch but without the cloying sweetness. A perfect pairing (and sharing) for nerdfighteria.

If the weather ever warms up here, I’ll share with you some of my favourite summer cocktails and mocktails for blissful afternoons reading in the sun. But for now, I’m curled up with my tea if you need me.