Tea books are pure delight and range from very technical and specific to a particular type of tea to more broad or just plain fun. Many tea books have been showcased on this blog, both in actual reviews but also in fellow blogger Bill Lengeman’s monthly roundup of recent and upcoming tea books. This is the review of a self-published book by a tea fellow from “Down Under.” The Infusiast was quite an experience.

“The Infusiast” — a not-so-serious yet informative tea book! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

“The Infusiast” — a not-so-serious yet informative tea book! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

When have you read a tea book where you learned new things about tea, laughed until your sides hurt, and gained insights into the life of a tea vendor? If you said “just recently,” then you must have read this newly published book. I just read it and did all three of these things.

First, the tea lessons. Some are things I have come across in my own voyage of discovery about tea. The legend of Shen Nong, for example, is one that has made its way onto many, many, many Web sites that have even a smidgeon of tea info on them. The more realistic Lu Yu also popped up in the tome. Then there’s the tale of Catherine de Braganza who brought tea to England via her marriage. While I have by now seen dozens of tellings of these tales, each presented with only slight variations in wording, the author Robert Godden managed to present them in a fresh way. Very fresh. Face-slapping fresh. Well, not that fresh. Just nicely fresh and funny!

The chapters are set up to be sufficient to enjoy each while sipping on a freshly steeped pot of tea. Each is short enough yet long enough. And the chapter titles reflect this, starting with the preliminary chapter called “Warming the Pot.” The seven subsequent chapters (“pots”) address these topics: teas, sources, pioneers, moments, blogs revisited, cooking, and odds and ends. The writing is such that you can also skip around if you want, jumping to the cooking “pot” and then cruising back to sources or moments, etc.

As with most self-published books, this one could have used another proofreading. But then, even classic novels and new ones generated by major publishers are the same way, so who cares? Besides, there weren’t any typos so egregious that I needed to contact the author to have him tell me what the heck he was talking about. And the content was a whole lot better than that bilge spewing from those major publishers. That’s the beauty of self-publishing. Plus you can dedicate the book to your “betterer” half — in this case, Robert’s wife Anne aka Lady Devotea who partners with him in their tea business The Devotea.

Good reading with your next cuppa or two!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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