It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are a number of excellent books about the role tea has played in China. After all, China is generally accepted as the birthplace of tea drinking and culture and is still one of the top producers of tea worldwide, not to mention the point of origin for a number of truly outstanding premium teas.
One of first books about tea and China is likely also one of the first books ever written about tea. It comes to us courtesy of an ancient Chinese scholar named Lu Yu. His pioneering book – The Classic of Tea – is not readily available these days but if you’re lucky you might run across a secondhand copy for not too exorbitant a price.
In his more contemporary book, The Chinese Art of Tea, Asian scholar John Blofeld looks at, well, the Chinese art of tea, in a work that blends practical information about tea with songs, poems and stories about tea and tea culture. Blofeld’s book is also not in print right now, but used copies should be much more accessible than Lu Yu’s book.
It’s likely that one book will never encapsulate all the tea in China, but Kit Chow and Ione Kramer’s aptly named All The Tea In China does a decent job of tackling this vast topic. It includes a guide to 50 different varieties of Chinese tea and more. Also worth a glance, The Way of Tea: The Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking, by Km Chuen Lam and Kai Sin Lam, who take a look at many of the basics of tea drinking from an Asian perspective.
As the publisher notes, Great Teas of China, by Roy Fong, is “an authoritative guide to the extraordinary tea world of China, written by the leading master tea merchant in the United States, Roy Fong. From hand-picked white teas from Fu Ding and expertly crafted oolong from Taiwan, to patiently aged puerh from Yunnan and everything in between, Fong offers his insights on choosing, brewing and enjoying over a dozen of his favorite Chinese teas.”
How did tea make its way beyond the borders of China, a country which once pretty much had a monopoly on it? The answers are revealed in Sarah Rose’s For All the Tea in China, which hit bookstores in the United States earlier this year. Last up, The True History of Tea. Though not specifically about tea and China, the book contains a great deal of information about China’s important role as the birthplace of tea drinking and culture.
Make sure to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks! It’s a great place to learn about all the latest happenings in the world of tea!