Book Review — “Loving Tea” by Jane Resnick

One of my favorite times of the week is my visit to the local public library. I feel rich at the vast choices of books, and being able to take as many as I like without worrying about cost (as long as I return them on time, I am notorious for the late fees I tend to rack up). I feel like I can learn anything or do anything. While I largely use the library for novels, I decided to take a gander at the nonfiction section to see if there were any books on tea. In fact there were, including two that I hadn’t heard of. One will remain unnamed for now, and the other is Loving Tea by Jane Resnick. A quite broad book, I found it to be a most delightful read.

The book is divided into several sections. It covers the usual tea book topics such as growing, history, types, and brewing. But it also discusses herbal tea and shares some great recipes. Resnich’s writing style is pleasant, conversational, and sometimes humorous. One of my favorite quotations from the book is “The tea taster carries on like a wine taster without fear of intoxication.” And in fact, the section on tea tasting is not simply entertaining, but also quite informative, and not repetitive of other books that I have read. She also gives a good guide to the vocabulary used in describing tea and provides clear definitions of words often thrown around.

The book was published in 1997, and so some of the information was out of date. For example, Resnich sadly informs the reader that puerh is not commonly available outside of China, and her information for various tea companies is limited to their phone number, lacking a web address. There was also a section on reading tea leaves that I did not feel fit well with the rest of the volume. The same goes for a section on herbal medicine that was quite interesting, but did not discuss tea much.

On the other hand, the section on herbal teas was quite informative and consisted of far more than just simple common knowledge. There is a nice history of the use of herbal teas, as well as descriptions of taste and possible healing applications.

Overall, this is quite a nice little book for those wishing to delve a little deeper into the world of tea, but might be a little basic for those who have a strong knowledge already.

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