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The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide Hardcover – October 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Story of Tea was nominated in 2008 for a prestigious James Beard Book Award and an IACP Cookbook Award. It captured the award for Best Tea Book in the USA from Gourmand Awards, Paris, France, and also won the bronze for Best Tea Book in the World in 2008.
"This husband-and-wife team, with 30 years of experience sourcing teas for their shop, produced a passionate and learned book that is as much a cultural exploration as a practical guide to tea and its full enjoyment." Boulder Weekly, Maricel E. Presilla
"With their first-hand accounts, meticulous research and passion for the subject, The Story of Tea has all the makings of becoming the definitive source for tea. And it's time -- for a tea book of this caliber." The Washington Post "A Mighty Appetite" with Kim O'Donnel, October 22, 2007
"I knew it was extraordinary...No other book, to my knowledge, has contained as much fascinating and detailed information." -- spicesoflife.com, September 18, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I would have wished, the authors would have explained better the different steps how the different white, oolongs, black, green and pu-err teas are made. The authors only mentioned the order of how the tea leaves are processed, no explanation for the whys, except "to make the tea more mellow, greener ...". This would have been a great chance to explain a bit about the chemistry, that is going on there.
Although, the context and lay out was so promising, the overall read ended up to be boring and disappointing. With too much repeated information on one side and too little at others, plus the never-ending passages without much point. The fascinating ways of tea with its drinking traditions and production and cultural evolution got lost under all the rambling and was burdened with too many words.
The subtitle of this beautiful book ought to be "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Tea But Were Afraid to Ask." It answers all of your questions--and more--about tea, including the history of tea, where tea is grown, how it is processed, and the cultural factors influencing the production and consumption of tea over the centuries. Both encyclopedic and very readable, it is filled with historical references, details, and anecdotes lacking in lesser books on this subject. And there is even a section on "Cooking with Tea," including recipes for Green Tea Pots de Crème and Green Tea Chiffon Cake with Walnuts and Crystallized Ginger.
The authors own a shop that sells fine teas, coffees, and other food specialties in Massachusetts. Their book's scope is worldwide and their own knowledge considerable. They have traveled to China and Japan to visit the sites of tea plantations and tea processors, and their handsomely designed, well-printed book is full of color photographs taken on location. If you buy only one book on the subject of tea, this should definitely be the one! It also makes a great gift, paired with a pretty teapot and a box of special, aromatic tea. Highly recommended!
Such was the problem when I picked up The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss. Tracing the origin of tea in ancient China when a leaf from the plant fell into a cup of hot water that the Emperor was drinking from (or so myth would have it), this lavish book takes the reader on a journey from how the tea is cultivated, processed, drunk and ritualized around the world, and focusing mostly on customs in China, Japan, and mostly Asian countries.
The first two chapters, A Brief History of Tea and The Life of a Tea Bush were only mildly interesting to be as they covered topics that nearly every book on tea has included. But the sidebars were interesting, and the photographs wonderfully evocative and at times sensual. It's in the third chapter, Manufacture where the story starts to get interesting. One topic I found very interesting was the history of how tea was classified in Ming China, separating the tea into six categories, depending on the age of the leaves and buds when picked, how the tea was fermented or not, and even how it was distributed. That still has remained the system today, with a few modifications. While black and green teas are known to most tea drinkers in the West, only now are the subtleties of white, yellow, oolongs and pu-erhs beginning to be known.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is plenty of interesting information in this book. I am an avid tea drinker and gained knowledge from this book. Read morePublished 23 days ago by E. Thomas
Great book, the clear, concise wording and well thought out phrasing lead to an interested and well informed reader. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Henry W.
So much about tea, as the Heisses acknowledge, is lost to prehistory. A definitive account of tea is just not realistic. Read morePublished 7 months ago by CloudNineTeas
One of the best books I've read so far on tea. Very easy to read, very informative and obvious Heiss knows what she's talking about.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer