Bookish Post – Tea and Book Pairings

books

What tea would you pair with your favourite books?

It’s National Tea Day in the UK and I wanted to do something to celebrate. I first wanted to write this post years ago when I worked in a tearoom. I was part of a group aiming to help their social media presence and I thought a book/tea pairing post would be great. Obviously, I never wrote it but it’s been on my mind ever since. So, why not write it now? I admit, writing this post has taught me that I know less about tea than I first thought but never mind. I think I did okay.

Assam Tea

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Assam tea is a black team from the Assam region of India. It is known for its full body and malty flavour. It is strong and has a certain level of bitterness to it. Yet its rich colour, strong aroma and brisk taste make it a much-loved option.

Why are they perfect for each other?

For one thing, George Orwell believed Indian tea leaves were superior, so he’d definitely have enjoyed a mug of Assam. Animal Farm is also full bodied and strong. I’d also say there was a fair amount of bitterness undercutting this allegorical novel. Orwell is reflecting on the Stalinist era and offering a warning for the future. It is also wonderfully written and offers some strong imagery. The perfect match I think you’ll agree.

Chamomile Tea

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Chamomile tea is known for its delicate and gentle flavour. This floral tea has a sweetness to it and a silky mouthfeel. It is a refreshing drink and wonderfully soothing. Chamomile is also renowned for its sleep-inducing properties and other health benefits. It’s a great drink to help you relax and is perfect to have before bed.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Well, you didn’t think that I could write a post about tea and not mention Alice in Wonderland right? I know that Alice might not seem like the most delicate or gentle novel but I think it works. Plus, Wonderland is pretty much a dream world, so what better to get you ready for sleep? Then there’s the floral elements. We’ve all seen the “do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” quote.

Darjeeling

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Second Flush Darjeeling tea is a black tea but offers a much lighter flavour. Known for its “muscatel” quality, this tea has a musky-sweet taste. It can be delicate, fruity, and vegetal. This refreshing tea is less bitter than most black teas and should be enjoyed as it is.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Who else would you pair with the delicate sweetness or a Darjeeling but Agatha Christie? She offers the same delicate sweetness that this tea provides. Snuggling up with a Christie novel gives you the same comforting feeling as a refreshing cup of Darjeeling. She is fruity and there is a slight bitter edge to her novels. Why The Body in the Library? I imagine that the titular library would have had a pretty similar muscatel quality to it.

Earl Grey

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Earl Grey tea is an absolute classic. Traditionally, black tea is flavoured with bergamot oil to give the tea a light citrussy taste. It is quintessentially British but it isn’t for everyone. It has the full-bodied flavour and bitterness associated with black tea but offers a fresh and sweet undertone.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Well, for one thing, Adams was a big lover of Earl Grey tea himself. Like Earl Grey, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy won’t be for everyone and a lot of people won’t immediately pick it up. Yet, there is a refreshing zing to this novel thanks to Adams’ humour. It is also quintessentially British. I think Arthur Dent would certainly approve if you read his story with a mug of Earl Grey in your hand.

Jasmine

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Jasmine tea is a blend of tea leaves and jasmine blossoms. It will most commonly be infused into green teas but can also be mixed with black or white. Jasmine tea has a delicate and subtle flavour. Jasmine tea offers a relaxing and refreshing drink that to its perfumed aroma mixed with the slight sweetness and floral notes.

Why are they perfect for each other?

The Secret Garden would definitely be a perfect match for Jasmine tea’s floral perfume. The book certainly offers plenty of sweetness and charm. It is a book that celebrates simple pleasures and the healing powers of nature. Reading this book will give you the same warm feeling as a cup of Jasmine tea. This much-loved classic would make a refreshing and delicate change from contemporary novels.

Lapsang Souchong

A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin

Lapsang Souchong is not a tea for the fainthearted. This black tea has a unique smoky flavour and a dark colour. It isn’t particularly full bodied for a black tea and can have a slight sweet taste. It is a deeply layered and rich flavour that won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Dark and deeply layered? What does that remind you of? George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is certainly dark and deeply layered. With the arrival of Dany and her dragons, the smoky element certainly starts to pick up. It takes a certain type of tea drinker to enjoy a cup of Lapsang Souchong just as it takes a certain kind of reader to enjoy George RR Martin’s series.

Lemongrass and Ginger

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Lemongrass and ginger tea has a bright and invigorating taste. It’s fresh and is the perfect tea for when you’re not feeling 100%. This is a tea with a good citrus kick and a subtle spice from the ginger. If you’re looking for an uplifting and rejuvenating tea, then this is the one for you.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Eleanor Oliphant is definitely a bright and invigorating novel. The story isn’t all light and fluffy but the ending sure is uplifting and rejuvenating. Eleanor herself is certainly zing and refreshing but there is a definite heat to this novel. It has an edge that is perfect for lemongrass and ginger tea. I can’t think of a better novel to pair with this tea. It will make you feel better and give you hope for the future.

Peppermint

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Though not actually tea, a peppermint infusion is a wonderful thing to drink. It provides a cool, clean and refreshing taste. It is uplifting and very good for you. A mug of Peppermint tea will be slightly sweet and a just a little bit peppery. This minty little number is clean and invigorating.

Why are they perfect for each other?

This may not be a novel but I guess that’s fitting for this non-tea. A snowy North Pole landscape is the perfect setting to enjoy a cooling cup of peppermint tea and what could be better than Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters. They are sweet but there is a hint of his wicked sense of humour within them. They are also easy to digest and will make you feel really good about the world when you’re done.

Silver Needle

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Silver Needle is a type of white tea which means it has a delicate and light flavour. White tea leaves are younger and less processed than green and black teas. This results in a more subtle and lighter tea. Silver Needle is a premium tea leaf and boast a floral and vegetal taste. The tea is slightly sweet and definitely uplifting.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy might be an epic fantasy but The Hobbit is very different. The earlier work is lighter and more playful in tone. It is a sweet story that will definitely uplift you. The landscape of Middle Earth is the perfect setting for such a floral and green tea. And, let’s be honest, Tolkien is definitely premium fantasy whichever book you’re reading. Why not splash out on the best tea?

Yorkshire Tea

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

As a native Yorkshireman who used to work for the company who make this tea, I may be a bit biased but I couldn’t not mention Yorkshire Tea on national tea day. Yorkshire Tea is a blend of black teas that offers a strong flavour. As with all black teas, there is a malty and slightly bitter edge to the tea but it gives a smooth finish.

Why are they perfect for each other?

Does this have something to do with Emily Brontë being from Yorkshire? Yes. But does it also make sense? Just think about it. Like the tea, Heathcliff is a strong and bitter. Like the tea, Wuthering Heights is also warming and comforting in its own way. This is a well written novel that is a perfect match of Yorkshire’s finest tea.

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