With all of us spending more time inside thanks to winter and the pandemic, we are watching waaaay more tv than we used to - I know I am... Forbes found that our cumulative weekly time spent binging television in 2020 was 2.375 billion hours, an increase of nearly 75% from 2019!
If you're among those of us who have been on a binge-watching kick (and love tea, of course!) here are my recommendations for your next Netflix binge-session, with fantastic teas to match. Apologies in advance for the terrible puns! Time to take tv watching to the next level ;-)
- Best Romance & Teas for the Courting Season: Bridgerton
- Best Action & Teas Worth Stealing: Lupin
- Best Intense Drama & Teas to Checkmaté a Chess Master: Queen’s Gambit
- Best Period Drama & Teas to Shock the Queen: The Crown
- Best Horror & Teas to Scare Off Poltergeists: The Haunting of Bly Manor
- Best Teen Drama & Teas to Survive High School: Grand Army
This is only the first edition of our new series Steep & Stream, so if I’ve missed your favorite show, tell me in the comments or @MatchaAlternatives on IG and it may just end up in my next list :-)
Whether you’ve seen these and are looking for some good tea for your next rewatch or are looking for some good new Netflix recommendations, let's get into it!
Bridgerton & Romantic Teas for the Courting Season
The town is abuzz with the most recent scandal - it seems Ms. Phillipa Featherington only drinks bottled iced tea! For a woman out in society for her first season, impressions are everything and a lady of Ms. Featherington’s standing will surely struggle to keep her reputation with such abhorrent tea preferences. Next she’ll be mixing it with coffee! I shudder to think what the Queen will say when one of her esteemed guests arrives with a case of Snapple... An unfortuitous turn of events for the Featheringtons, though I am sure the dedicated bagged tea drinkers are relieved to have the spotlight shifted away from their transgressions. I will be sure to keep you, dear reader, appraised on how this scandal unfolds.
Yours dutifully, Lady Whistledown
Whether you’ve seen the show or not (and the above makes no sense at all!) here are some deliciously scandalous teas as you watch it through for the first or twelfth time:
- Richly Rose Cherry Sencha Green Tea: absolutely perfect for whiling away a spring or summer afternoon while wearing your best hat. The seductive floral notes are rich enough for a picnic iced tea, with medium caffeine to prevent missing your suitor's honeyed words. And what's better than a tea with opulent romantic flavors to pair with a romance show about the opulent? (P.S. this might be co-founder Vientiene’s favourite tea in our whole shop)
- Summer Dessert Rooibos: a fruity decaf option for an iced tea when you're longing for the warmer months, and perhaps a forbidden wander in the gardens at dusk. Sultry and smooth, with an intoxicating nose that pairs exquisitely with a summer tryst.
Book image taken from Heritage Auctions listing
Lupin & Teas Worth Stealing
Ok moving on, but don’t expect any more impressions! Especially for this one, my French accent is atrocious… If romance isn’t your thing, how about a heist show based on the classic French gentleman thief Arsene Lupin - but with a fantastic twist? Don’t worry I promise I won’t spoil a thing! Even if Ocean’s 11-style heists don’t strike your fancy, Lupin does a masterful job of partnering the fantastical feats of thievery with heavier discussions of race, fatherhood, and revenge. Lupin will rob you of the interest to do anything but watch the next episode!
So if you’re thinking of giving it a watch, why not brew a cuppa as luxurious as Marie Antoinette’s 60 million euro necklace? If you wish to accompany a suave thief like Lupin, you must drink only the finest. Tea makes the thief! That’s a saying, right?
- Luxurious Mint Chocolate Rooibos Green Tea: This interesting blend of teas and flavors is perfect for this show. The rich chocolate mixes perfectly with the mint accented by nice fruity strawberry notes. Not to mention the unusual and uncommon blend of rooibos and green is the perfect balance of a caffeinated pick-me-up and woody richness that will swindle you of your senses.
- “The Purist” Rare purple tea: Yes, that’s right Kenyan purple tea. A unique development in tea so perfect for watching one-of-a-kind items disappear from famous museums. Purple tea’s remarkable anthocyanins (the same antioxidant that makes blueberries blue!) are almost as valuable as an 18th century diamond necklace. Let this tea steal your heart with our blog Purple Powerhouse: Antioxidants In Purple Tea, then give it a try!
- What is luxury without some bling? They may not be the jewels that once adorned the neck of the infamous queen of France, but our Golden Rock Sugar is the next best thing: enormous sugar crystals, regal and flavorful. You’ll never look at a normal sugar cube the same way again!
Queen’s Gambit & Teas to Checkmaté a Chess Master
Queen’s Gambit is a nail-biting drama that takes an in-depth look at addiction and obsession. Rightly so it has become the most watched Netflix original show, ever. It’s so popular, in fact, that since the release of The Queen’s Gambit, sales of chess sets and accessories shot up by nearly 215%! (2)
While the characters in Queen’s Gambit seem to prefer coffee to get them through a grueling chess match, I of course know that tea is better (and I am most certainly not biased or anything). So here are three wake-me-up teas to replace coffee and get you through a high-stakes match against a chess master, or at least through a tv show about chess.
- Roasted Ginger Chai Yerba Mate: Checkmate - more like check maté! Sorry for the cringey pawn… um I mean pun! I’m here all knight. Yerba Maté contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but doesn’t cause the coffee jitters or caffeine crash thanks to its other antioxidants. It also helps with concentration, ideal for avoiding rook-y moves.
- “The Purist” Tulsi Holy Basil: Looking for something that can help you focus in the evening but won’t keep you up all night? Tulsi is an adaptogen which makes it a great non-caffeinated pick-me-up to complement late night TV binging or chess matching. To learn more about adaptogens and all their awesome benefits check out our blog, What are Adaptogens? The king of teas!
- Hint of Apricot White Tea: Not great at chess? Me neither! It was proven almost 200 years ago that playing white, or going first, statistically always gives you the best advantage; so how about some white tea to test the theory? White tea is a great superfood pick-me-up, with caffeine levels higher than green tea (it’s between green tea and maté on the caffeine spectrum), and is filled to the brim with antioxidants. So along with your mental caffeine boost you also get a great boost for your whole body, and maybe a chance at winning a match. Your move!
The Crown (Season 4) & Teas to Shock the Queen
For a show like The Crown, one might assume that the best tea pairing would be to turn to something as quintessentially British as our English Garden Earl Grey Rooibos, but I’m going to take this in a new direction (gasp!). This past season, which won the Golden Globe for Best TV Series in Drama (yay!!), is all about changing times. And the Queen not entirely sure she likes the direction things are going...
So here are some teas for the characters shaking it up this season:
- Strawberries & Cream Green Tea: The look of this sweet green tea reminds me of the Midsummer's Night Dream costume Diana wears in her first scene and the sweet, fruity notes fit perfectly with Diana’s character as well. The tea’s flavors will transport you to spring no matter the season, like Diana’s innocence at the beginning of the season and her newness (and unpreparedness) to royal life. This blended tea is also something that would NOT be welcomed into the ranks of royal teas (far too fun and modern!), much like Diana and the royal family.
- Superior Osprey Gunpowder Organic Green Tea: Maggie was famous for her long work hours and only needing four hours of sleep, what with completely rewriting the way global capitalism functions. While I could delve into the history of neoliberalism, trade unionism and our global economy...I won’t. Back to the tea: this green tea, while quite traditional, carries a fabulous strong smoky flavor that I feel matches well with the gravitas of this infamous Prime Minister. I'm sure this is what she was drinking when waiting for news about Mark lost in the desert!
(Can you spot the ghost?)
The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor & Teas to Scare Off Poltergeists
The Queen’s scowl not scary enough for you? Here is a great limited series that will do a better job of keeping you up all night than a big cup of mate. The Haunting of Bly Manor is the second show in the series so if you're into the horror genre make sure to check out Hill House first! Both shows are only one season long, which is great for quick binging and the shows offer much more than a quick fright.
What’s super cool is the cast from Hill House carries over to Bly Manor - pretty unconventional. A consistent theme and actors, but different stories and different characters. So the protagonist in the second season, Dani, is the same actress who plays Nell in the first series!
Of course you’ll need a warm brew to combat this chilling show. My pairing is so delicious that not even Dani’s atrocious brewing could ruin it, and we all know she made an awful cup, I mean not even the ghosts would drink it.
No worries here though: this tea is good enough to keep the malignant spirits at bay (even though I know they’ll want to try it):
- Deep Breath Rooibos Tulsi: This non-caffeinated tea contains a blend of rooibos and tulsi, both rich in antioxidants. Both help improve sleep and tulsi is particularly great for de-stressing, which is perfect for when your dead wife and other malignant spirits are haunting you.
- If you want to learn more about the amazing properties of Tulsi Holy Basil check out our spotlight blog on the tea! You'll realize you love it like Wile E Coyote realizes he's run off a cliff. Meep-meep... (For anyone confused, this is one of the best and most shocking lines of Bly Manor!)
Arch in the center of Grand Army Plaza where the show is set
Grand Army & Teas to Survive High School
You know what’s even more bone-chilling than ghosts? High school! Grand Army is the newest iteration of the ensemble-led high school drama. Following multiple students through school life in early 2020 (pre-covid of course) at Grand Army High School in Brooklyn, NY.
But guess what? This is actually set in my very own alma mater, no joke! In high school I’m pretty sure the only teas I saw people drink were large cans of Arizona or a Starbucks pink drink (is this even really tea?).
So given I know the students of Grand Army High School aren’t big teaheads, here are my tea picks perfect for watching a high school drama, better yet, for surviving one. I wish I had had these when I was a student there!
- I love a good cup of bodega coffee (that’s deli coffee for those outside NYC!) as much as these kids seem to, but if I had a choice, I would have much preferred sitting through my Advanced Placement courses with a big steaming cup of Roasty Toasty Yerba Mate
- Yerba Mate is full of minerals and antioxidants which make it a great alternative to your regular morning cup of coffee. Plus this tea is just as caffeinated as you’d need to get through a grueling day of high school, and also makes for a great tea to curl up on the couch and binge watch a show. Cram for your Yerba Mate exam in our Mate Spotlight blog - and then brew a nice cuppa!
A Note from Anna
These are some of the best shows I have watched this past quarantine (who thought I would have written that a year ago?!) but there are a ton more, both on Netflix and beyond. Now I have become quite the avid binger and I feel sometimes like I have watched everything, but the shows on this list are ones I’m always willing to come back to.
All these shows are just a little different and, I think, great for different moods. Need something to remind you of summer and spending time with others? Try watching Bridgerton! Need something that will get your blood pumping? Try Lupin for some great cons or Haunting of Bly Manor for a fright-filled adrenaline rush. Whatever your mood there’s something for you and a great tea to go with!
Now, tell me what shows I should pair teas with next! Leave a note in the comments or @MatchaAlternatives on IG. :-) Happy steeping and streaming!
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All of the information regarding the herbs, botanicals, minerals, vitamins, etc., is information drawn from traditional use data or academic research and should be regarded as such. If you, the reader, has a health or medical concern, please consult your healthcare professional. The information found here is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe or cure and has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only.
References & Further Reading
- Adgate, Brad. 2020. “How the Pandemic Changed at Home Media Consumption.” Forbes. August 21, 2020. Accessed February 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2020/08/21/nielsen-how-the-pandemic-changed-at-home-media-consumption/?sh=7b529f25a28a
- Bryant, Miranda. 2020. “It’s Electrifying: Chess World Hails Queen’s Gambit Fuelled Boom.” The Guardian. November 29, 2020. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/nov/29/chess-world-hails-queens-gambit-fuelled-boom