I love tea. In fact, I’m pretty obsessed with it. Since discovering herbal tea I’ve really developed a taste for a wide variety of flavours. I love trying out new ones both at home and in cafés and tea rooms. I used to only drink your classic British cuppa (builder’s of course), but there is so much more to gain from tea if you open yourself up to the different loose leaf tea blends available.
One thing I love doing whilst drinking tea is reading, and I’m sure I’m not alone there. However, I’d never before considered that certain genres would work better with different types of tea. Until I discovered Miss TeaSmith, that is, who offers a selection of gorgeous tea blends intended for specific experiences.
***This is a sponsored post however all thoughts are my own***
Miss TeaSmith Loose Leaf Tea Blends
“Born in Sri Lanka, I call London home, and forged a rewarding career in financial services. But even still, the dream of owning and cultivating my own Tea House stayed with me, and grew from a dream to a goal.
We source teas from all over Sri Lanka – from the cool mountains to the hot and abundant plains. The terroir of these different regions naturally leads itself to blending teas with subtle and fuller flavours.
Just like it takes an excellent sommelier to recommend the perfect wine for a meal, it takes a deep understanding of tea to blend it and add other flavours. We combine some of the worlds’ most sophisticated teas with dried flowers, herbs and spices to give them a unique and exciting character. From Sri Lanka to your home.”
(Taken from the Miss TeaSmith website)
I was gifted five unique flavours by Uma from Miss TeaSmith (four loose leaf tea blends and one teabag-based). I figured the best way to review them would be to focus on them individually. We worked together to pair each one with a book genre and nibbles to create the perfect reading experience.
I started off my tea journey with Ceylon Chai, which came in a pyramid tea bag. At the time of testing, I was halfway through reviewing the brilliant For Love Or Money by Clodagh Murphy and thought this would be a great pairing.
Something about the combination of flavours within this blend had me wanting comforting, spicy food. I wanted to go with a sweet option as I don’t often drink tea alongside savoury food, so settled on a Banbury cake. For those that don’t know, it’s similar to an Eccles cake – filled with currants and spiced allspice, nutmeg, and rum. This worked really well, with all flavours offsetting each other perfectly.
As for the book pairing, Ceylon Chai made for a very positive experience. For Love Or Money is a romantic comedy, but with a bit of mystery thrown in, and I loved how the tea allowed me to really get into the story. It was warming and comforting, and I felt it worked best with the more romantic parts of the story.
Ceylon Chai would also work well with:
- Any other types of romance novel, such as romantic suspense
- A light mezze lunch and a book outside
Empa-Tea is a really interesting blend as I found it quite diverse. It’s a simple blend, but seems to work well with several opposing reading experiences.
Empa-Tea is a herbal infusion of ginger and lemongrass. On the Miss TeaSmith website, it’s described as the right tea for “when you’re feeling blue”. Uma introduced this one to me as best drunk after an indulgent meal in the evenings and night.
I completely agree with this description, but I wanted to experiment with it. Upon opening the tin for the first time I really noticed how zingy and zesty the blend was. It had a certain energy to it – definitely uplifting, but also motivating in a way. I decided to try and pair it with a thriller book to see if those energetic notes would lend themselves to a more exciting literary experience. The book I went for was Hold Tight by Harlan Coben, a thriller author I love who never fails to create a fast-paced and absorbing reading experience.
Uma suggests something savoury for drinkers of this tea, perhaps cheese and crackers or something with seafood. Being vegan this wasn’t an option for me, so I went for something sweet instead. I made my own lemon shortbread biscuits to pair with it which, although didn’t work quite as well as savoury, added a nice sweetness to the experience and really brought out the ginger. I could really sense that savoury herbal snacks would work, so as soon as I’m able to access a supermarket that sells vegan cheese I’ll be pairing this one with cheese and rosemary crackers.
And my experiment with a thriller novel? It 100% worked. The zestiness of the tea paired excellently with the excitement of the storyline. It’s bizarre, because I drank this another time with a self-care book and it also completely worked. So I’m a big fan, in all, as this blend caters well for several different experiences.
Empa-Tea would also work well with:
- An evening read of a self-care book
- An uplifting or motivational podcast
- A sick day, especially if you’re nauseous or feeling down
Summer Cup is a blend that hasn’t launched yet but, as the name suggests is gorgeously light and summery. It contains chamomile, lemon balm, rose, mint, lavender, rosemary, and cornflower, and has such a floral and aromatic smell. Plus it’s so pretty to look at!
I thought this would be a perfect afternoon tea during our lovely May weather so took this one outside in the garden one Sunday. It inspired me to make some apple crisps which went well, really bringing out the flavours. The tea was too light to warrant a cake or dough-based snack, so this was the perfect way to get some nibbles in that didn’t detract from the tea.
I actually struggled to find a book to pair with this one – not because it was hard to pair, but because I tend to gravitate towards dark and complex novels. That didn’t feel right, so in the end I settled on Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong, a literary domestic fiction piece exploring Alzheimer’s in a more lighthearted way. The book is an easy read, with short chapters and breezy humour (despite the difficult topic), and it was exactly what I was looking for. Summer Cup is a really great tea for drinking in the warmer months (and it could even work iced) – I’d urge tea drinkers to get in quick with this so you can enjoy it over what will hopefully be a lovely and warm summer.
Summer Cup would also work well with:
- The lighter side of romance, found within rom-com and chick lit
- A comedy book or podcast
- A light poetry book on a summer’s day in the park
I’d specifically mentioned to Uma before collaborating that I wasn’t a fan of tea blends involving chocolate. Because of this, she deliberately sent me her Dark Romance blend, which features cocoa. I’m glad she did though, as I’ve been converted (exactly like she predicted!).
I’ve drunk a couple of loose leaf tea blends involving chocolate before and I found them quite strange – the flavour didn’t work as I wanted it to, and it just felt wrong. Generally I’ve found them a bit sickly and, frankly, odd. Dark Romance does not fit this description though, thankfully. Described as a “mint chocolate dark tea blend”, it combines the flavours of cocoa, peppermint, and liquorice to create an indulgent and powerful experience.
As the name suggests, Dark Romance is an excellent blend to drink whilst reading romance. I love romance within chick lit but felt this warranted something a bit more intense, so ventured into erotica for the first time. It’s a genre I’ve steered clear of, not because I’m prudish but because I’ve seen too many novels within it that just aren’t written well. I love books that have depth to them, and although I find relationships fascinating I have no interest in a story that focuses purely on just the sexual side. I need complexities, side plots, and powerful writing, and so many reviews I’ve read of the books within this genre point to them lacking in these departments.
After nearly an hour of scouring various titles on my Kindle I settled for Explicit by Roxy Sloane, which seemed to be more up my street compared to the others. (I gave the Covid-19 erotica ones a wide berth, for obvious reasons). And I was pleasantly surprised, with both book and tea turning out to be enjoyable.
The Dark Romance blend was perfect for such a book. It was intense and indulgent, feeling like a rich dessert rather than just a cup of tea. I deliberately didn’t pair anything with it because it didn’t need it, however being ever-hungry I did experiment with some dark chocolate buttons and those worked excellently alongside it. The tea was satisfying to drink, replicating the excitement and intensity of the book. Thankfully it didn’t feel like the watery chocolate experience I was worried about. This one is a must for romance and erotica readers!
Dark Romance would also work well with:
- Lighter romances that have some sexy scenes going on
- A sensual audiobook, some candles, and a hot, steamy bath
Earl on the Moor
Like the others, I had a pretty good idea of what Earl on the Moor would suit just from the name. It conjures up something more formal, something historical and explorative.
Earl on the Moor has such a powerful aroma – not as intense as Dark Romance, but still rich and consuming. It’s a Sri Lankan black tea blend with blood orange, plus hints of apple, lavender, safflower, rosehip, and hibiscus. “Earl Grey with a wild side”, as labelled on the tin. I was quite taken by it when I first smelt it, and even my herbal tea-averse partner liked the smell of this one (though he said it reminded him of orange wine gums).
Without a doubt, this blend had to paired with historical fiction. And a particularly rich one, at that. I’ve been longing to make a start on The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry for ages as it’s set in my hometown of Colchester, and this was the perfect excuse. Set in the late 1800s it combines mystery and romance and was a very good choice to pair with this tea. For a snack I wanted something just as rich, so chose a generous slice of homemade mandarin upside-down cake. I’d been craving this ever since opening the tea blend, if I’m honest! I loved the combination, and this particular experience was such an indulgent and enjoyable one.
Earl on the Moor would also work well with:
- Deep and complex books read in solitude
- Any sort of non-fiction writing
- An evening spent listening to an audiobook or podcast of choice (perhaps a crime podcast, or something historical or anthropological)
Deliberately pairing loose leaf tea blends with nibbles and book genres has helped me to appreciate the drink even more than I did already. Each of these teas created a different atmosphere and allowed me to experience my books in a way that I hadn’t previously.
For those that read a lot, I’d wholly recommend having a go at tea pairing. You don’t just want your cheap boxes of teabags from the supermarket though – you want something special and refined that will bring your reading experiences to life. Miss TeaSmith’s blends are absolutely perfect for this.
I’m certainly not a snob with tea and will happily go for those cheaper teabags if I want, but sometimes you’ve got to have a bit more quality in your life. Sometimes you need to treat yourself and indulge in a bit of self-care. Using tea blends helped me do just that, and these selections are a great addition to any reader’s tea cupboard. Especially for other book bloggers – reading can become a chore for us at times, and this is a great way to bring some life back into it again. There’s something to love for everyone within this selection from Miss TeaSmith.
If you’d like to buy any of Miss TeaSmith’s tea blends then you can explore the whole range (including samples) on the Miss TeaSmith website. All UK orders over £25 have free delivery!
Now it’s your turn! What loose leaf tea blends do you enjoy? And what are your favourite combinations of genre, tea blend, and nibbles? Share below in the comments! Also, don’t forget to like this post if you enjoyed it and save for later on. Here are some other great products to pair with your tea and book experiences: