Tea is a beverage that is infused with history. There are records of people brewing and consuming tea possibly as far back as the 2nd century BC, but the drink was not popularized until the Tang Dynasty of ancient China. It has been used as currency, exported in trade, and the tea plant—Camellia sinensis—was transplanted throughout the world and cultivated to produce different varieties. With experimentation and development of cultivars and processing techniques, this resulted in the wide selection we have today: from the delicate flavors of white tea to the strongly-fermented and aged Pu-erh.
During the process of working on A Magic Steeped in Poison, I was inspired by the ritual of preparing a cup of tea in the Taiwanese tradition and I also paid homage to its origins as a medicinal ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a drink that is present in my daily life, and I had so much fun imagining various magical properties that a practitioner of tea magic would be able to utilize. There were so many different types of tea that I encountered during my research that I wished I could have incorporated.
Here are a few of my favorite types of teas and five books that I would pair with them to enhance your reading experience!