If you’re getting ready to start a tea library or if you just want a few good volumes to help beef up your knowledge of tea, there are any number of options available to you. Here are a few good works to get started with.
The True History of Tea
By Erling Hoh, Victor H. Mair
Arguably one of the most in-depth looks at the history of tea, The True History of Tea is a great book for anyone who wants to go beyond the quaint myth about a Chinese emperor discovering tea some four thousand years ago (when some leaves happened to blow into a kettle of water he was boiling, no less) and get at something closer to the real truth. Here’s a more in-depth review.
The Tea Drinkers Handbook
by François-Xavier Delmas, Mathias Minet, Christine Barbaste
There are a number of handbooks and guides floating around these days that are geared toward giving novice and intermediate tea enthusiasts the lowdown on tea and tea drinking. The Tea Drinkers Handbook is brought to us by a trio of French authors who are affiliated with Le Palais des Thés, a renowned chain of French retail tea shops.
Tea: Aromas and Flavors Around the World
by Lydia Gautier
Tea production and culture is a topic that can make for some very eye-catching photography and this book is no exception. Photographer Jean-Francois Maliet really shines here, with a great selection of photos that complement Gautier’s text very nicely. That text is not so shabby either. Gautier takes a look at various aspects of tea history and chemistry, offers a guide to tea drinking and more. For more information, see this review by A.C. Cargill.
The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide
The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook
by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss
Rather renowned tea merchants in their own right, the authors put together a pair of tea books that function more or less as companion volumes. The Story of Tea, as the title suggests, is a more comprehensive look at all aspects of tea culture, while the handbook is a more practical volume geared to the nuts and bolts of choosing and preparing tea. Read my review of The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook here.
A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time
Katrina Avila Munichiello
If you’re interested in reading about tea but you’d like to put aside all the facts, figures, steeping times and other nuts and bolts stuff you might want to give A Tea Reader a try. Tea blogger Katrina has pulled together a variety of original and reprinted writings from contemporary and historical writers that tend to take a more reflective look at tea culture. For more on this one, refer to the group review that appeared at this site recently.
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