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Wine, Coffee, Tea? What Do You Drink While You’re Reading?

November 6, 2019

Last night I took the dog for a walk, came home and curled up on the lounge with a beer and a book – first beer of summer I might add. And it got me thinking about what habits I have around reading. Where I read, and what drinks accompany my reading time.

A friend of mine reads every night before going to sleep while she drinks a Sleepytime tea. It can’t be any other sort of tea. It’s that particular tea and the act of reading that helps her wind down and eventually sleep.

A writer friend of mine reads a few chapters of someone else’s novel every morning, before she starts work on her own books. She reads perched up in bed with a strong coffee. She says she needs to “wake up gently” and the act of reading and drinking coffee, before logging on to any device, helps with that.

I discussed this with another couple of friends. One said it depends on what she’s reading. For her drinks are genre specific, “Thrillers need wine while romance needs tea.” My other friend pointed out that the books she’s reading often influence the accompanying beverage. Is the novel set in a coffee shop? Add coffee. Do the characters drink wine? Pour one yourself. She said that it was while reading Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms that she developed a love of Cinzano.

I realised that she’s right and the drinks in a book have often influenced my own drinks while reading them. Recent examples are Josephine Moon’s The Gift of Life which is set in a hip coffee roasting house, and Todd Alexander’s Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga. Both books were consumed with a lot of coffee and wine respectively (although certainly not 30,000 bottles).

I asked around the office: Both Cheryl and Melissa said it’s either tea/coffee or wine, depending on the time of day, while Bec said there’s nothing as good as a hot chocolate with marshmallows with a good YA fantasy.

Personally, I’m a big fan of books and wine. Book clubs are the ultimate merging of books and wine. But I read at least two and often three books a week for work, so if I was set on only ever reading while drinking wine, there would be a lot more mistakes in this article. In fact, I’d rarely be sober.

So for me, it depends on the time of day, the book itself, and where I read. Last thing at night in bed? Usually a herb tea. A weekend evening? Add wine. And yesterday, with Against All Odds (the inside account of the Thai cave rescue) in hand… the perfect drink to accompany this gripping read was a beer.

Wine, coffee, tea? What do you drink while you’re reading?


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  1. Sylvia Hebron

    It’s all according to the time of day as I read on and off all day. Tea. coffee. Beer. Wine. Nightcap is brandy. As I read in bed. I am an avid reader at least 4 books per week.
    Have water available all the time.

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