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Good book, but sad meeting the author
on March 9, 2012
This is a good introduction to some of the true (not tisane or flavored) teas. However, I have some of the same complaints as other reviewers: namely that there didn't exist a thorough enough description of enough teas, nor did the book include all the most famous teas from china, Japan, Sri Lanka, etc. also, I feel that the heiss' purist ways led them away from listing the wonderful teas that have sprung up around the world in Japan, Tibet, India, etc.
Most importantly, and I must preface this with the fact that this is a valuable contribution to a food item that has relatively little written about it for the general public, I did not appreciate the author's attitude when I got the chance to meet them in Northampton, MA. Regrettably, I did not get a chance to speak with Mary Lou. However, Robert seemed a little ticked off by my interest in tea and even told me, quite ironically because his book mentions it so tersely, that my understanding of storing oolong tea is too simplistic. I was also told that I must not have authentic teas because they looked slightly different than the teas he had. Upon purchasing from him and taking the tea home to compare, they were exact in smell and taste. While I will not recant every bit of our short conversation, I will say that it left me with a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). Robert could not be bothered sweeping his store to sell me any tea, and answered all my questions condescendiingly. The conversation was almost like a saturday night live skit, just not very funny to me in the moment. I can say that I will never shop there again for the sheer principle. I believe that those who are so devoted and excited about something such as tea should either be as excited to educate others about it, or keep it wholly to themselves.
If the Heiss's are both this condescending to their customers, then I feel very sad that I bought their book and traveled the 2.5 hours to see them in NoHa. If you want great teas, without the condescention, try out the online tea store tea spring.com for great quality teas shipped directly from china.