Tag Archive | tea

Coffee vs. Tea: Dual book review! The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery vs. The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella

image from teawitty.com

Coffee and Tea

Oh how I love thee

Ok, maybe I’m not a very good poet. I’ll stick to reading. And what better with a good book than a cup of something delicious and warm? One might proclaim themselves a “coffee person” or a “tea person”. I say: can’t we all just get along? I love you both. Both have long storied histories. Both are powerful plants, medicinally, historically, and often personally. Both have their merits and their dangers, both so bitter and alluring.

                        

Camellia sinensis vs. Coffea spp.

I couldn’t decide which book to review, so I decided to do both. Both very different, but maintaining the highest respect for these two similarly loved plants in a way I have rarely seen in fiction.

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery is the captivating story of an American girl trapped and alone in Japan. It explores the nature of the Japanese tea ceremony from the perspective of both the american girl a family that has been practicing and teaching tea for centuries. It’s exotic in all the right ways, but the heroines struggles are very real and relateable; trying to find where you fit in,  learning to love and to trust.

The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella is the story of a young passionate poet in London. Struggling to find paid work, he is hired by a coffee magnate to help write a guide describing the various attributes of different coffee beans. His new line of work takes him in and out of love, and into the heart of Africa. A journey in which he finds himself along the way.

So both are stories of self discovery, and of learning to love. One about a young man, one about a young woman. One takes place in London and Africa, and one in America and Japan. They are about as different, and as alike as coffee and tea themselves. Exotic, enticing, passionate and beautiful.

If you are a tea lover I think you’ll really enjoy The Teahouse Fire. It is the more gentle and subtly sweet of the two.

If you love coffee, try The Various Flavors of Coffee. It is bold, rich and intriguing.

Or if you’re like me, you like books and beverages of all flavors and you’ll enjoy both. Different but equally as satisfying.

 vs.

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery vs. The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella

Want to know more about the stories and histories of our two favorite hot drinks? Follow up with a few of these…

Tea:

Coffee:

Know any other wonderful coffee or tea fiction? I’d love to read more!

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian- Book Review

 The cover of this one caught my attention immediately; quirky and fun. Kinda like the book it’s self. Is that a Gargoyle holding a whisk you ask? In fact it is.

Zoe, is a 300 year old herbalist, antiques dealer and retired alchemist.  In an attempt at a new start, she buys a fixer-upper in Portland, Oregon. While unpacking her things she is surprised by a French stowaway, Dorian a living, breathing, and gourmet cooking gargoyle. When 14 year old Brixton, the neighborhood trouble maker, who just knows the house is haunted, spies the gargoyle through window while snooping around, Zoe tricks him into helping her clean up the house, in exchange for not pressing charges. After all she can’t let him tell the world about their secrets.

Dorian is convinced that Zoe is the only one who can help him decode his ancient book and save him from returning to his stone state forever. Zoe is not so sure she can help, she has, after all given up on alchemy. Then one day she comes home from a  walk to see the handy-man she hired dead on her door step surrounded by an odd smell. She may have to reopen her alchemical lab, and painful past memories, to figure out what is really going on.

The unlikely murder mystery solving trio team up to investigate. They delve into the city and it’s resident tea shop patrons secrets. Soon there is another attempted murder, this time on someone they know and care about. Dorian is dying, and there’s a murder on the loose. Things start to get more serious, and they all could be in danger. The police investigator assigned to the case suspects the new girl in town, and in return Zoe thinks she might be falling for him…

It’s a mystery, so I’ll leave it at that. No spoilers here. It was a fun read, and as an herbalist it was refreshing to see the few herbal references were researched and not unrealistic, as were the historical alchemy references. Though I thought Zoe was bit too much of the stereotypical herbalist type (we’re not all like that!) What really brought it all together for me was reading the afterword. The author shares her story of the writing of this book as a tool to help her through her cancer. She also thoughtfully shares a few of the recipes from the book (and a link to her website with more!) I haven’t made any of them yet, but plan on it. They sound pretty good! I am certainly looking forward to the continuation of this series.

Did this book encourage you to explore more? Wanna read more about plant alchemy or maybe you’d like to try a few more vegan recipes? Here’s a few recommendations you might enjoy.

The Alchemists Daughter by Katharine McMahon

The Chemical Choir: A History of Alchemy by P.G. Maxwell-Stuart

A Druids Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants by Jon G.Hughes

Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way  by Chloe Coscarelli

Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz