The Story of Tea

The Story of Tea

A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

Book - 2007
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Whether it's a delicate green tea or a bracing Assam black, a cup of tea is a complex brew of art and industry, tradition and revolution, East and West. In this sweeping tour through the world of tea, veteran tea traders Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss chronicle tea's influence across the globe and provide a complete reference for choosing, drinking, and enjoying this beverage.

The Story of Tea nbsp;begins with a journey along the tea trail, from the lush forests of China, where tea cultivation first flourished, to the Buddhist temples of Japan, to the vast tea gardens of India, and beyond. Offering an insider'­s view of all aspects of tea trade, the Heisses examine Camellia sinensis, the tea bush, and show how subtle differences in territory and production contribute to the diversity of color, flavor, and quality in brewed tea. They profile more than thirty essential tea varietals, provide an in depth guide to tasting and brewing, and survey the customs and crafts associated with tea. Sharing the latest research, they discuss tea's health benefits and developments in organic production and fair trade practices. Finally, they present ten sweet and savory recipes, including Savory Chinese Marbled Eggs and Green Tea Pot de Crâme, and resources for purchasing fine tea.

Vividly illustrated throughout,nbsp; The Story of Tea is an engrossing tribute to the illustrious, invigorating, and elusive leaf that has sustained and inspired people for more than two thousand years.
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed Press, c2007
ISBN: 9781580087452
Branch Call Number: 641.3372 HEI 2007
Characteristics: xiii, 417 p. : col. ill., col. map ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Heiss, Robert J.


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Oct 31, 2016

This book generally has a lot of good information, however I do tend to agree with krdavis255 on many of his/her points that were mentioned. There definitely were full paragraphs (or more) that were repeated in a couple of places. The writing quality was so-so, and the formatting and flow was irritating. I also agree that the best chapters were on Tea Customs and Culture and the Encyclopedia of Tea.

The history section was weak. But again, maybe this was due to the poor organization of information. It's unfortunate that the authors didn't use a better editor.

Feb 22, 2015

This was an incredibly disappointing book. First, it was full of typos, tortuously crafted sentences, and formatting errors. It had some of the worst editing that I have encountered in a published book. The book read like it was written by a committee: the chapters did not flow into each other; lots of information was needlessly repeated, yet it was never very well explained; and the book did not seem to be a coherent whole. I don't feel any more informed about tea than before I opened this book.

The best chapter was Chapter 7, "Tea Customs and Culture." The pictures in this chapter were good (lots of pretty tea cups and tea pots!) and the text was the most readable section of the whole book. Chapter 5 ("An Encyclopedia of Tea") was also good — great pictures of the different types of tea (brewed and in leaf-form) with easily readable descriptions (and practical brewing instructions to boot).

The rest of the book was a mess. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 presented so much of the same information on the different types of tea and methods of tea manufacture that I nearly fell asleep. At the same time, this information was presented in a poorly organized and terribly confusing fashion. The style was rambling, like a stream of consciousness explanation — fine for a casual chat with a knowledgeable tea merchant, but terrible for a book. Concepts and terms of art were introduced without a thorough explanation (and the glossary at the end of the book was not extremely helpful. For one, it is partly organized by meaning of the terms. Who organizes a glossary by meaning? If I knew the meaning of a word, I would not have to consult the glossary!). There were also many places in these chapters that read like a tea catalog or infomercial, which was grating.

This book should have just been the Encyclopedia of Tea chapter (expanded with more types of tea), a better written chapter of how different types of tea get made, and the "Tea Customs and Culture" chapter, which could be combined with the history of tea chapter that starts the book. But unfortunately, that's not what this book is. If I made a cup of tea as disagreeable as this book, I would pour it out.

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