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The Ancient Art of Tea: Wisdom From the Old Chinese Tea Masters Hardcover – March 10, 2011

20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a beautifully designed, affordable gift item for people with a love of history, ritual, and tea. […] It's a perfect anecdote for an over-digitalized, multi-tasking world." —New Age Retailer

"It is my hope that this book will encourage others in the West to pick up where the ancients and the author left off and go out and search for sources of sweet water here in North America. … It is time for us to pick up the mantle and spread the word, Tea." —Dr. Eric Messersmith, Institute for Asian Studies, Florida International University

About the Author

Warren Peltier is the Director of the Chuan Ming Chadao Tea Culture Research Center and well-known tea expert. As a researcher, author and lecturer he has studied the way of tea for over 18 years.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (March 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804841535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804841535
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Warren Peltier, also known as Xia Yun-Feng 夏雲峰 is a tea expert and lecturer who has studied tea for over 20 years. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in the LaCloche Mountains of Northern Ontario, and later resided in Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. In 2006, Warren came to reside in Fujian China, living for 2 years in Longyan, where gongfu tea is widely practiced; he currently lives in Fuzhou researching and writing about the rich, complex, and deep mysteries of ancient Chinese tea culture and tea drinking customs. He is currently writing an expert book on the intricacies of oolong tea brewing as exemplified in Chayi or Tea Art; and he is also conducting research on the now long-lost tea ceremony of "dian cha" or "Powdered, Whisked Tea", which was fashionable during the Song Dynasty, over 1,000 years ago.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Søren M. Chr. Bisgaard on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a tea drinker all my life, and the last 35 years spent in Kyoto, Japan, studying and propagating the Japanese tea ceremony, I have researched all available literary sources on not only Japanese tea and tea culture, but tea in general in all its aspects, and not least tried to find reliable information on Chinese tea in English. I have travelled in China since 1983 and visited many tea producing areas, research institutes etc., and I have participated in tea appreciation and everything else connected to tea in China. There is a vast literature as well as DVD's on tea in Chinese, both in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but very little truly authoritative and to the point in English. With the increasing Western interest in fine Chinese teas this deplorable situation will certainly change.

I cannot express my delight in reading Warren Peltier's very fine, comprehensive and sensitive translations with accompanying interpretations and well researched commentaries of some of the many writings of imminent Chinese tea masters on the various important points concerning tea through the ages in China. There is of today no other such source of information available in the English language and Warren Peltier's contribution to the lovers of fine Chinese tea cannot be over estimated.

The Ancient Art of Tea, is not only very well researched, it touches on all the most important points from both a historical and a modern practical point of view of how to brew a perfect cup of tea for achieving that exulted state of mind, that through the ages has inspired philosophers, poets, artists and everyone else and given them a sense of sublime being in peace and harmony with nature.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Edward Alexander Gerster VINE VOICE on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drawing heavily on new translations of ancient Chinese texts, the author has created a little gem in this book on Tea. It is clearly organized in a natural progression, taking the reader through a brief history of tea, to the Art of Tea, and on to the components necessary to produce it. These discourses by various scholars and tea masters are followed by chapters on Tasting Tea and Tea Etiquette which truly bring to light the philosophical and social outlook that is unique to China, and in fact still can be found today. The closing chapter on Refinement in Tea touches briefly on the Tea House and Environments created for tea, but this area alone could encompass another book all on its own.

The addition of a central photo section is nicely done, and the appendices are short but useful. Overall, a wonderful little book that should appeal to both those interested in Chinese Tea culture, and those interested in ancient China. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Please note: this is a pretty small book. It measures about 6 inches square. No problem. But the paper is pretty terrible quality. It's very thin, low grade recycled stuff that is one step above newsprint. You can see the printing on the other side of the page, so this creates an annoying reading surface.

This is not an informative text on styles of tea. Instead this is translated wisdom of old Chinese tea masters throughout the ages. There sections are as follows:

The Art of Tea
Water for Tea
Preparing Fire for Tea
The Taste of Tea
Tea Etiquette
Refinement in Tea

There are also a dozen or so really nice full color photos in the middle of the book. But this is a book all about slowing down and enjoying tea. It's a fun read even for those that are not tea experts. The sections are all broken down well, so you don't have to read it front to back. You can turn to a particular page and just absorb little bits at a time. Makes a great coffee table book, though the cheap paper does have a tendency to tear easily.

A fine book marred by subpar paper quality! Perhaps the Kindle edition is better since you won't have to worry about the paper quality. Though using an electronic device for a book about letting go and enjoying the simple things in life is kind of ironic!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Stephen Moore on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Ancient Art of Tea" (2011) by Warren Peltier is a true treasure, especially for those seeking a more profound insight into the many facets of tea as related to the cultural and asthetic values of ancient China. However, the insights gained from reading this wonderful little book far transcend the ancient into the present day tea drinking world beyond the bounds of Asia.

As a tea connoisseur, as well as a student of Chinese language and culture, I found this book to offer wisdom, especially to the westerner, that is scarce to find elsewhere in the English language. I particularly enjoyed learning about the artistic orgins of tea, and the five different names or characters listed by Lu Yu, author of the "Classic of Tea" during the Chinese Tang Dynasty (581-907 CE). For instance, besides the most common name of "cha", which also refers to early picked tea, there is the less common name of "ming", which refers to late picked tea, and the name of "jia" which refers to any bitter tea (pages 25-26).

Other meaningful insights were gained into a much better understanding regarding the importance of water. The relationship to Daoism is brought to light when the author draws upon the ancient wisdom of Zhuang Yuan as revealed in "The Record of Tea" during the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE). I especially like the metaphysical analogy refering to tea as the "essence" of water, while water is the "substance" of tea, with water being the "yin" element and tea being the "yang" (page 54).
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