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I have purchased and checked out from the library several educational books on tea. This is the book I consider one of the best.

This text would be worth purchasing for the pictures and the scientific analyses contained within. The caffeine chart alone makes one ponder the myth that white and green tea have lower caffeine than wulong and black tea. Funny considering two of the highest caffeine concentrations are in Japanese green teas! What I really liked about this book was that each section seemed to contain a good amount of content on the topic without going into overkill. Production is described for each style in a very concise manner, but each step is explained so that the reader understands production even if this is the first tea book they have read. There are some tasting notes on particular teas the authors have chosen. A few are the normal teas that you see mentioned in many texts, but a few are new. They seem especially fond of Chinese and Japanese tea (seeing as those are the two countries with the longest tea drinking and growing traditions I appreciate this) and they have a good amount of content on Taiwan and India while mentioning Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and a few other countries of note. I also like that the authors didn't get too full of themselves and even have mentions of fun tea facts like bottled Japanese green tea (it's not like the bottled tea here - just chilled green tea without sweetener or additives). But probably the best aspect of this book and the one that lends the most credibility is the periodic inclusion of interviews with tea growers, harvesters, buyers, and sellers. Bravo on a job well done!

I also recommend: The Tea Drinker's Handbook which is what I consider the only other 5 star educational tea reference I have come across. Some others I recommend are listed below:

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The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide - 4 stars
This is a rather large and bulky text on tea. There is a lot of good information, and I would consider this the runner up to The Tea Drinker's Handbook. The writing is very nice, descriptions very well conveyed, and the pictures are pretty nice. The main issue is the format and layout. There is a lot of information, but finding things really takes a lot of digging. It is laid out more like a 'book' and less like a 'text'. If you know what I mean. It's more narrative in style, though it is educational, it lends itself to reading in order rather than flipping to a pertinent section that you might enjoy.

The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas - 4 stars
This is another text that I enjoy and rate highly, though it falls short on content compared to The Story of Tea or The Tea Drinker's Handbook. It makes for a nice and quick reference and is pretty well written and laid out well.

Way of Tea - 4 stars
An oddly translated book that nonetheless contains some nice stories. For less than a dollar used it's worth adding to the collection. But the translation is pretty horrific in places. Especially with tea names and styles. It is more of a guide to the history, story of, and serving of tea. I actually gave it five stars in my review though based on it being more of a fun addition to the tea library and a great value.

The New Tea Companion - 3 stars
A book with good illustrations, but rather lacking in overall depth. It does describe various teas and shows the leaf and the color of the brewed liquid. Of course this is not very helpful in the long run for adding to knowledge of tea. I doubt many people who buy the book will be blind tasting tea in order to ascertain the origin. But it's nice to refer to every now and again. It's rather unnecessary though if you own any other thorough tea book.

And there are others, but these seem to be the most popular and widely available texts on the world of tea as a whole. And I am familiar with these. There are others, many that I have flipped through in Powell's that are not worth even mentioning here. Too many focus on the British style of tea and spend a lot of time on Indian tea and tea etiquette in the English style. Others focus too heavily on the Eastern tea ceremonies and overlook India, Sri Lanka, and other tea producing countries.

I highly recommend this as well as any of the books I mentioned above for building up a tea library. And I also highly highly recommend the documentary All In This Tea. So brew a pot of your favorite and enjoy!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 9, 2012
Tea is a book that does a decent job on educating a reader about tea. It contains information about the cultivation, harvesting, and from one terroir to another- which are the similar characteristics that a land and climate will give to the harvests within it. (The explanation of this could have been a little clearer in the book.) The areas covered are; China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, and the East African Coast. There is also information on preparing tea, tasting, the chemical components, the virtues, and in addition, the biochemical analysis of 35 teas. An index is included, along with charts on caffeine, antioxidants.

This is not a simplistic book on the different ways of drinking and types of tea. It should have a glossary to help in understanding; but you can learn an enormous amount of information that is clear to anyone who loves tea and would like to find out more about it, including interviews with those who work with tea.
A confirmed tea lover might find the few recipes included, like beef with Wulong tea appealing. This, over-all is a book for those who adore and are devoted to their cup of tea.
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on April 21, 2012
I love tea and have been brewing a pot every night for 6 years---for the antioxidents and other benefits. I now buy only loose tea at a local store and have experimented with different combinations and regions. Finally I decided to learn more about tea and bought several books including this one. I have brought this to work to read during my lunch break and found it to be VERY easy to read and understand. The authors are knowledgable and their descriptions of the various teas, regions, brewing times, amounts, temperatures etc.are extremely helpful. Highly recommended!
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on August 23, 2012
One of the major contributions of the work is its simple elegance. It is straightforward and orderly in its presentation. That is not to say it doesn't cover useful details about teas. The book shows the true colors of its authors- experienced tea house owners who have made an art of guiding neophytes into the world of tea with skill and clarity. At the same time, the authors give enough information so that new tea drinkers admire their new-found treasure without being overwhelmed.

The title may not sound flashy, but the book delivers what is promised. The main 150 page section looks at different tea producing countries. History of the country introduces each section, followed by an overview of the tea industry within that country. Terriors and regions of the country come next. Coverage often includes brief profiles of tea professionals of the country. Next come details about the cultivars used, along with how teas are processed. Preparation methods are included, like how to use a gaiwan, a Japanese kyusu pot, or a tea tasting set.

There are examples of teas from each country as well. At this point, the book might begin to look a little like an extensively descriptive menu. Many of the teas are those the authors know well, having developed relationships with growers over many years and offering those same teas in the Camellia Sinensis Tea House. But even if the authors didn't actually carry the teas in their own store, they still choose classic representatives of teas from each location.

There are other, smaller but valuable sections of the work. Master chefs have contributed artful recipes that employ tea to wonderful effect. There are also brief sections on tea preparation using various teaware, and a short tasting guide. The overall tasting guide process includes a handy aroma wheel and lexicon of descriptors. The merits of these incline the reader to overlook the diagram of the flavor receptor regions of the tongue. Researchers have become less convinced that tastes are limited to specific glossal zones.

The single greatest contribution of the book to the tea world is the Tea and Health section. Camellia Sinensis Tea House sent their teas to TransBIOTech to analyze caffeine levels, antioxidant levels, and catechin levels in their teas. This section is not only a treasure of information but a beauty to behold. Graphs and charts that are easy to follow. And the information effectively breaks the myth that all white teas are higher in caffeine than all black or green teas.

I forgot to mention the book is an artistic beauty as well. Full page, crisp photographs capture the tea and atmosphere of each place.

Rich and clear information, beautiful images, and solid science. A book not to be dismissed.
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on December 18, 2011
Yet another book on tea, however where other books give vague details on teas caffeine and antioxidant qualities the boys at Camellia Sinensis actually took time to do some hard science on the subject. Testing several different teas for chemical analysis reveled that not all teas can be lumped into broad categories. White tea is not necessarily low in Caffeine and some Blacks are actually low in caffeine. The information from that study is worth the price of the book alone. Still there is very in depth information on different tea manufacturing processes and great photos. The only thing I didn't find appealing about the book was the Tea Recipes. Fortunately this is confined to a few pages. All in all a very worthwhile book.
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on January 16, 2012
Great Book for anyone wanting to learn more about where their tea comes from. The layout of this book is by the countries that produce different teas, so you have a clear view of where your tea comes from. Also get a inside picture of how the different types of teas are produced.

What I loved most about this book was the chapters about tasting and health benefits of tea. The Tasting Guide was broken down so you could go and test this for yourself. Very helpful. The Tea And Health sections was also very enlighting not only did they mention the benefits but also broke down the chemical components of tea. There is also a chapter on biochemical analyses of 35 teas for those of us who want to know the why and how tea comes to have so many health benefits.

Overall I was very happy with this book, simple to understand and the pictures were a delight.
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on August 27, 2013
I ordered this book for my dad for Father's Day along with some teas. He's a huge tea drinker. I wanted something interesting that had more than just how to make tea in it. I have not seen this book personally but he absolutely loved it and my brother also commented on how beautiful the book was.
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on March 25, 2014
As tearoom owners (not English) we are so impressed by this book. Our employees, as do we, always learn something new when reading a blurb or excerpt. So helpful and covers so much about Camellia Sinensis.
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on April 19, 2013
I can't say anything that has not been said about this high quality book. Photos are gorgeous, facts are validated and accepted as industry standards. The inclusion of cultural variations in propagation, processing and preparation is something only tea connoisseurs are unaware of.

If you're a tea aficionado or a beginner, this book is a must in your library. Even if you just flip through and look at the pictures, your appreciation of tea will be enhanced.
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on July 30, 2013
This book was not what I expected. It was very limited in scope and seemed more like a coffee (tea) table book, than a book to learn about tea. Only 5 or six specific teas from each country are discussed. Still, a pretty book.
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