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The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea Hardcover – October 2, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Let me recommend a creative approach to this book. Start with the Appendix, From Tree to Tea, The Chemistry of Tea. How, otherwise, will you know what tea even is? Then treat yourself to a very succinct, five page, History of Tea. Okay, now flip back to the front and read the Introduction. Here Harney tells what led him to the business and what led him to write the book. You come away assured that his credentials are exactly what you wanted in a guide to teas. Michael Harney is a tea person's tea person, the ideal personal trainer for teas.
The Guide to Tasting Teas is an eye opener. Who knew that there was something to be learned from examining the dry leaves? Who knew pot type affected a tea's taste? Who knew about filtered water, and the impact of brewing temperatures, and brewing times? Who knew what to look for in the liquor? Who knew what intelligence there was to gain from smelling the wet tea leaves after pouring the liquor off? And who even thought that there could be a vocabulary dealing with the nuances of a tea's body and flavor? In fact you'll know all of this before you get to page 17, which is where your tour of the tea world will begin.
Start with a tea with which you feel familiar, say a Ceylon Black Tea.Read more ›
This book can pay for itself by helping you avoid buying expensive tea that you don't enjoy. Mr. Harney recommends other tea suppliers, in addition to his family business, several of which (including Harney's,) offer samples or small quantities for sale. It's a great guide to purchasing and experiencing samples, so that you only buy larger quantitities of the teas you most enjoy.
The merits of the tastings lie in the descriptors. While many tea descriptions play it safe by describing green teas as "grassy," Harney gives a more thorough account. That does not mean that you will appreciate the descriptors he gives, or agree with him on the choice of descriptors. It does, however, provide a starting point for the tea description conversation, and enable new tea drinkers to make better starting choices.
Demerits, as mentioned in several other reviews, is the complete lack of photographs. Photos of fresh, healthy, high quality dry leaf would go a long way in educating the reader. On the other hand, variations in lighting, preparation method, etc., make pictures of the liquid nearly useless. Another possible objection is the way the collection reads like a catalog of Harney offerings. While true to some extent, many of the teas also represent the tea classics. Like literary classics, you will broaden your tea-horizons whether you drink Harney's versions or from other high-quality sources.
This is a lovely book. I think Ralph White's suggested reading sequence is a good one. My only wish is that the publishers and/or Mr. Harney had included photos of all the teas.
Bravo Michael Harney!
(My only complaint: the Kindle version, which I'd love to have on hand for quicker reference, is MORE EXPENSIVE than the hardback--which I already own. Publishers need to grow up.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a nice tasting guide if you are prepared to purchase the teas mentioned and savor your way through it.Published 7 months ago by Frankie
Michael Harney knows A LOT about tea. The book makes learning about tea and it's different varieties both interesting and fun.Published 16 months ago by Pablo Melchor
Today's tea themed page turner is The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea by Michael Harney...yes, it is that Harney & Sons, so in all honesty you know that the book is going to be good. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amanda Wilson 'SoggyEnderman'
Great book especially if you are new to the world of tea. But no photos sadly. I would really love to see pics of dry leaves, wet after steeping and how brew looks like.Published 23 months ago by kuriza