Books. Tea. Cats. Scribbling.

State of the Tea Cabinet, 2018

Holy crap, it’s New Year’s Day. Wow.

It’s 2018, and now Books & Tea is 2.5 years old. 2017 was kind of a mess for my mental health and organization/time management skills so I didn’t post as much as I wanted. On the plus side, right before the holidays, I finally got a diagnosis for the digestive issues that have been plaguing me for the past few years: Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

I’ve been reading up on IBS for the past week or so as a result. I’ve also been learning about the low-FODMAP diet through things like the Monash FODMAP app and low-FODMAP cookbooks. For the first few months of the year, I’m going to try an elimination diet (to the best of my ability) to determine what my food triggers are.

One wrinkle to this is that the research on how tea relates to low-FODMAP diets is unclear. Here’s what the Monash app tells me when I search for recommendations about tea:

  • Green tea is considered “safe” to drink in the low-FODMAP diet.
  • Black tea can be considered safe, unsafe, or of moderate safety depending on whether it’s brewed weak or strong, or whether it’s brewed with water or with milk — and depending on whether it’s straight black tea or a masala chai blend.
  • Oolong tea is considered unsafe to drink.
  • Rooibos is safe, but chamomile isn’t.
  • Fennel tea is unsafe to drink, but fennel bulbs, fennel fronds, and fennel seeds are all safe to eat.

In other words, it’s all over the map! I’m especially curious about why green tea is good and black tea is okay, but oolong is considered bad, even though oolong is in between black and green tea in terms of oxidation. It makes very little sense.

So I’m not sure how many tea reviews I’ll write this year. I certainly have a backlog of teas to taste and reviews to finish, so I’ll try to do what I can. But I will continue to write about books; in particular, I’ll be interviewing a bunch of Canadian SF/F authors, talking about their recent and upcoming works, and letting you know about cool new releases.

In the meantime, with the holidays in full swing, I got a chance to sit down, relax, and do a full inventory of my tea collection.  The last time I did this was 2 years ago, and things have not gotten any better since then. In fact, it’s even larger and more unwieldy. So let me show you my shame: here’s my cleaned-out cabinet in all its glory.

A white plywood cabinet with four shelves inside. Each shelf contains several boxes of loose-leaf tea, and each box belongs to its own category.

Top shelf: teaware and herbal teas. Second shelf: green, yellow, and white teas, plus some random yerba mate blends. Third shelf: black teas. Bottom shelf: pu’erh, oolong and rooibos teas, plus filters and a container for scoops and picks.

Total number of teas in my cabinet: 166

Total weight of all teas: 5,226 grams, 1 blooming tea, and 129 individually-wrapped bags. That’s about 11.5 pounds!

Breaking it down even further, here’s what things look like:

Tea Type Number of Varieties Weight in Grams
Herbal 24  1156.9 (plus 26 bags)
White 11  167.24 (plus 16 bags)
Green — Unflavoured 3  19.9
Green — Flavoured 17  517.5 (plus 24 bags and 1 blooming tea)
Black — Unflavoured 10  466.1 (plus 5 bags)
Black — Flavoured 32  665.1 (plus 58 bags)
Pu’erh 33  1,327.2
Oolong 20  290.6
Rooibos 11  521.2
Yellow 3  25.9
Yerba Mate 2  68


Good god, I have no idea if I’ll be able to drink it all. If you want me to mail you some, send me a message! I need all the help I can get.


Tea Time Links #6


A Selection of Random Books on My “to Read” Shelf


  1. Lenore Hietkamp

    That’s a great list. You have 33 varieties of pu erh! That’s astonishing. I didn’t even there were that many.

    • Christina

      Yuuup. Pu’erh is like wine. Most tea-growing regions have their own varieties, and differences occur because of region, cultivar, and processing method. There are literally THOUSANDS. And, just like wine, fluctuations in climate mean that harvests vary from year to year, so you can have “good” and “bad” years.

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