Some Tea Books and What They Are About
BOOKS I'VE READ COVER TO COVER:
-The Book of Tea- Okakura Kakuzo
It’s basically philosophy. It's really interesting and a true classic
-The Classic of Tea- Lu Yu
The quintessential classic and the first book written about tea. It's a tad outdated, but it's interesting and worth reading if you want to be taken seriously as a tea snob.
-Tea Sommelier- Francois-Xavier Delmas
Fantastic user's guide to tea basics, some niche info, teaware, tea ceremonies, tea tasting, and food pairing. It’s also got big pictures and headings if you are easily distracted. It is also not unnecessarily wordy. 10/10 recommend for anyone with ADHD.
-Tea History Terroirs Varieties- Gascoyne, Marchand, et al.
In depth guide to the production of tea, the countries that produce them, history, culture, ceremonies, teaware, ect. They use it in tea sommelier courses in Canada. If you want a solid base for tea education, I’d pick it up.
-World of Tea- Jane Pettigrew
It’s literally a textbook outlining all teas and the countries that produce them (by region). It’s technically easier than googling weird niche teas.
-The Tea Book- Cheadle, Kilby
Overall blanket coverage of the countries that produce tea, their cultures, and recipes using tea. It’s a good book.
-The Tea Book- Linda Gaylard
Generalized information about tea producing countries, their tea cultures, tea science, tea ceremonies, tasting terms and guides, and tons of recipes including kombucha and masala chai. And a ton of info about tisanes if you want to get into that. It's got great overall coverage of tea and tea culture.
-The Harney & Son's guide to tea- Michael Harney
It's a tasting book. It just lists tasting profiles for teas that are worth trying and companies that carry them. It convinced me to slurp tea and gives some good information about tea tastings. It also convinced me that too many people use terms like "orchid" and "apricot" to the point that I'm not positive they have tasted real apricot or smelled an actual orchid. Orchid is the term people use to describe floral teas when they don't know what flowers smell like and it's annoying as shit. But though these teas are all worth trying, it comes off as more of an advertisement for Michael Harney and his friends teas than a useful resource. I could probably just spend 10 minutes photocopying a couple pages and make a list and it would be about as useful as the entire book. I also think it’s not ideal to read someone else’s tasting notes before drinking tea for the first time. But it is useful as an example if you want to do tastings for general structure and terms.
-How to Make Tea The Science Behind the Leaf- Keating, Long
Chemistry, biology, botany, history, generalized science, production techniques, brewing information, storage, and brewing techniques. It's a fun little book.
-Teas & Tisanes- Norman
Vague information about the general grades of tea and recipes. It's like 40 pages and fits in my hand. Not everything is accurate or even informative. I think I got the book from a library book sale a decade ago, but I’m not sure. But I don’t think I’d spend money on it again with the knowledge that I have. I don’t think they even cover yellow tea. Actually don’t buy this book.
-The Complete German Commission E Monographs- American Botanical Council
One of the densest books I own. It's also the only book on herbology I think is worth mentioning on my bookshelf. It is a marvelous compilation of scientific research written in concise sections detailing every herb people have studied and the evidence regarding what they actually do vs what people think they do. It's a great guide if you want to get into herbal tea and value research.
BOOKS I HAVEN'T FULLY READ:
-The Story of Tea: a cultural history and drinking guide- Heiss
Full of information about tea cultures, an encyclopedia of teas, tea ceremonies, and I think tea production. It seems solid and I plan on finishing it.
-All About Tea- William H. Ukers
It's a textbook on tea. It's very dry and after briefly reading stuff I decided to just drink some puer instead and now it collects dust in my bookshelf. I’ve heard this is a really informative book though. But if you need pictures to stay focused, you might want to try a different book.
-A Social History of Tea- Jane Pettigrew
OH GOD IT'S SO DRY. I stopped reading after it spent several pages listing the wars Britain decided to start over tea. It's interesting, but I decided to just not. Like many other books, I will tell myself I’ll get to it and then ignore it for several years until it ends up under or behind something for the rest of my natural life.
-Puer Tea Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic- Zhang
People love quoting the first few paragraphs on the first page of this book and nothing else. Has anyone actually read this book past the first page? I don’t honestly know because like everyone else, I can pick out all of the quotes people use from page one. It’s possible that everyone mutually pretends to have read the whole book and we all ignore the clear signs that it just hasn’t happened.
-The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook- Heiss
I read half of it and then went to bed. It has very specific information about specific teas and is worth reading for in depth tea information. I’ll finish it eventually. Probably.