A word of explanation is in order. Contrary to what the title might suggest this article is not about drinking tea in the Atlantic Ocean or even on a boat on said ocean. The Atlantic referred to is, along with Harpers and the New Yorker, one of the nation’s preeminent weekly newsmagazines dealing with culture, news, politics and that sort of thing.
And tea, now that you mention it. If you’ve delved into the topic of tea at any length – apart from just drinking the stuff – then James Norwood Pratt probably does not need any introduction. He was writing about tea long before it was cool. His Tea Lover’s Treasury came out way back in the Eighties, long before most Americans were taking tea seriously and has more recently been released in a revised edition.
As for the Atlantic, they have recently sought to enlighten their readers on the subject of tea by featuring a series of articles by Pratt, whom they refer to as “America’s acknowledged Tea Sage and…possibly the world’s most widely read authority on tea.”
In the first of this series – How It Is With Tea and Me – the author mused upon “his family’s multi-century affair with leaves and water, why teas are like wines, and how tea lovers are—of course—fussy.” The next article – The U.S. Tea Renaissance and How It Happened – found Pratt examining how Americans, who still drink most of their tea in iced form, have lately began to take “serious” tea a little more…seriously.
Most recently, Pratt has contributed The Ancient and Best Way to Brew Loose-Leaf Tea. This is done by using a guywan, also referred to as a gaiwan. He describes it as “A brewing vessel and drinking cup in one, which consists of saucer, bowl, and lid that function together” and goes on to describe how it is used and why he feels that it’s a superior way to make tea.
For more of Pratt’s writings about tea there are, of course, his books on the subject. A number of his writings on the topic have also appeared in the T Ching blog.
Make sure to check William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!