Book & Tea Pairing 101

...because instead of experiencing the journey of the narrator, you feel it with them.

British National Tea Day is coming up on Saturday (April 21st), and let's face it: books and hot drinks go together like highways and fast cars. But not all teas go with every book. Sleepy Time probably isn't the best match for a high-intensity thriller, and English Breakfast isn't the best choice alongside that feel-good novel you read before bed. So, in honour of the Brits, here are some book and tea pairing recommendations sure to keep your toes, belly, and heart warm. 

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Action & Adventure: because who doesn’t want to stop crime and solve mysteries in their spare time? Dog-Eared Books is based in Ottawa, and if you live here, or have been hearing about the weather this week (an ice storm in April… April) you’ll understand us saying that we were desperate to get out of the house, without actually having to get out of the house

Thankfully, High-Heart-Rate Action pairs perfectly with Mint Tea: let the mint calm your nerves, while the story gets your heart racing. 

Try: Pure Peppermint by Tetley for a classic, or Spearmint from David’s Tea if you’re looking to expand your horizons. Pair it with with The Dog Who Cried Snake by Larry McCloskey for a combination that’s sure to get your mind racing to figure out the puzzles right along with Max, followed by Lowis Lowry's The Giver for a journey sure to make you think.

 Titles from top to bottom: "The Dog Who Cried Snake" by Larry McCloskey, "Crushed" by Tanis Browning-Shelp, "Growing Home" by Susan Prosser, "Unspoken" by Larry McCloskey, "Crash Course" by Tanis Browning-Shelp.

Titles from top to bottom: "The Dog Who Cried Snake" by Larry McCloskey, "Crushed" by Tanis Browning-Shelp, "Growing Home" by Susan Prosser, "Unspoken" by Larry McCloskey, "Crash Course" by Tanis Browning-Shelp.

Coming of Age: In a sense, none of us ever stop coming of age. We do it in different ways, over and over again—discovering new things about ourselves, and what makes us tick. The books that brave to tell these stories are the ones we get to come back to, discovering new meaning for the book and for ourselves, every time.

The crisp flavours of Citrus Infusion Teas will mirror the decisions characters are making. Pair with Crash Course by Tanis Browning-Shelp; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis; or the Harry Potter series to explore new facets of yourself, and compelling characters on the venture of self discovery.

 From left to right/top to bottom: "Valerian Nights" by David's Tea; "pure peppermint" from Tetley; "Earl Grey Classic" and "Smoky Earl Grey" from Fortnum and Mason, UK.

From left to right/top to bottom: "Valerian Nights" by David's Tea; "pure peppermint" from Tetley; "Earl Grey Classic" and "Smoky Earl Grey" from Fortnum and Mason, UK.

Poetry is a very different reading experience, because instead of experiencing the journey of the narrator, you feel it with them. It’s just as easy to read through a collection in an afternoon as it is to spend weeks pondering over each line break, em-dash, and syllable. The beauty is that the amount of meaning doesn’t change based on which you do—all that matters is what you need at the time.

Pair your poetry collections with Earl Grey—lavender to sooth your soul, and a caffeine hit to make sure you catch every word.

Try: Twinnings Earl Grey Tea, or David’s Tea Cream of Earl Grey if you’re feeling a bit flush. Pair with T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock Series, anything by Dorothy Livesay, or (my personal favourite) Magic Animals by Canadian poet, Gwendolyn MacEwan for something a bit off the beaten track. 

Nonfiction books have a special place in my heart. The stories and characters are just as compelling, but you get to walk away knowing that they are also about real people, living real lives. 

Pair with Herbals Blends: the stakes are always higher when it comes to real life, no need for caffeine to fuel that fire. Pair your favourite zen-inspiring blend with Susan Prosser's Growing Home to gain some incredible insight into yourself, or Life by Keith Richards for a first-hand look at what the Rolling-Stone Lifestyle was like on the inside. 

Try: any kind of chamomile, or for something a bit more special, Valerian Nights from David’s Tea, which contains valerian root, coconut, and just a touch of mint, it's sure to set your mind as ease. 

Our memories and experiences are undeniably linked with our senses: the smell of a first love's cologne, or the coffee mom always made on Saturday mornings; the taste of grandma's cookies; the feel of the sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace at the cottage. Pair your books and teas responsibly, everybody--how the adventure turns out could depend on it.


All books listed in these pairings are available through Amazon!


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Lynette is a writer, musician, and oxford comma purist by night, and a coffee-drinking fiend by day—in that order. For her, compelling characters make the world go round, one cracked-spine, marginalia-filled, dog-eared book at a time.