How do you improve on tea steeping? Simple. Bring it into the 21st century. At least, that’s what Ian Bersten proposes in his latest book Tea for the 21st Century.
For those of us raised with porcelain teapots and bagged tea that we steeped in a mug of hot water, Bersten’s proposal can seem radical and maybe even downright heretical. Ever one to be open to new knowledge and ways of approaching things, I was happy to see what he had in mind.
About the Book
The book is fairly short and is in electronic form only (an e-book or e-pub). The PDF copy I received has 96 pages, with five pages being the Bibliography and the first five pages being the title page, table of contents, etc. Still, it can take a couple of times (or maybe even three) through the book to get fully what Bersten is saying. The book seems to be pretty much a marketing piece for his tea filter and tea products, not a bad thing, just want you to know up front.
The book starts by dividing tea drinkers into two categories: teatricals and tearists. “Teatricals” seems to be a play on “theatricals.” Those of us who consider our sense of sight to be an important part of enjoying tea seem to be in this category. Tearists seem to be those of us who go for the taste and aroma as the true goals of tea.
Some good points in the book:
- Scientific as opposed to fanciful, leaving aside traditions and tea ceremonies and ties to philosophies.
- Presents fact, not opinion, although some of the statements about tea are not quite in line with my personal experience, not that I am an expert, but empirical evidence is pretty strong on my list of proofs.
One bad point:
- E-publishing is tricky, and this book shows why. Photo captions are not sticking with the photos in some cases (they appear on the following page). And the text could use some editing here and there.
Books like this always seem to be more meaningful when one knows a bit about the author. That was so true here. Bersten is another one of those tea people who appears so happy in photos. Tea brings out the good feelings for sure! But who is he really? Read Part 2 to find out.
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