Pairing Books with Tea; Or Why I Started Kaitlyn’s Cup of Tea

When I started Kaitlyn’s Cup of Tea back in 2019, I was always reading with a mug of tea (or coffee) in hand. Shortly after, I had a great idea of pairing books with the tea I was drinking. So how do I decide what tea gets paired with a book? There are a few things that I take into consideration before I start pulling teas.

I start off by reading a couple of chapters, depending on the length of the book, to get a “feel” for the book – I tend to pair teas with longer books, about 300 pages.  I base these chapters on asking these questions to myself:

What’s the prose like, does it draw me in right away with beautiful writing, or is it more generic? Is there a certain character that stands out to me as a light funny character, or are they more dark and mysterious?

Once I have a sense of what the book entails and the tone of the book, I go through my tea collection. The teas come from a variety of places, but I like to keep them within Canada and local to me. I’ll pull the teas that I think pair well with the book. I’ve also started to catalouge the teas I drink in a book along with any notes about the tea, this helps me to quickly find the teas and to narrow down the selection. 

And now…

I dig through my mug drawer and pull as many mugs as I need. Sometimes I only need 2-3, other times it’s more like 10. Once my teas have steeped (I make about 3-4 mugs at a time) according to their type, I go back to my book with one mug in hand and read a chapter while sipping on the tea.

Sometimes I can immediately tell if a tea will or won’t work for a book. If the tea works, I set it aside with the packaging and I’ll make a note of why it works with the book on my phone’s notes app. If a tea doesn’t work I’ll drink it immediately and put the packaging away. Then I’ll get another mug of tea I’ve already made and read another chapter.

Once I’ve gone through all the teas I’ve selected (this can take a day or two), I’ll go and remake the teas that I thought would work and find the best one for that book. It’s a very involved and time-consuming process, but I want the tea to be a nice complement to the book.

If you’re ever in need of tea recommendations I’ve got you covered! Let me know in the comments what you drink when reading.

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