“The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea” by Daniel Reid

The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea
The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea

As coincidence would have it I came to the writings of Daniel Reid quite a while before I took up tea drinking. At his Web site, Reid describes himself as a “bestselling author and a leading expert on natural health and healing practices, chinese medicine and philosophy” and an author of “numerous books and magazine articles on various aspects of Asian self-health and self-healing practices.” It was one of these books, The Complete Book of Chinese Health & Healing: Guarding the Three Treasures, that was my introduction to Reid’s work.

Given his expertise in various areas of Chinese health practices and culture, it should probably come as no surprise that Reid should write a book about tea, a beverage that was being consumed in China long before it made its way to the rest of the world. A convert from that other popular hot beverage – you know the one – Reid recounts how when he first moved to Taiwan in 1973 he was a “confirmed coffee addict” who pretty much ignored tea until more than a decade later when he discovered John Blofeld’s pioneering book, The Chinese Art of Tea.

A relatively brief book, Reid kicks it off with an introduction, Tea and Zen are One Taste, that provides a brief overview of Chinese tea and tea culture and then opens with the first of just five chapters, The Story of Tea in China. Not surprisingly, this is a look at the history of tea there, categorized by each of the major dynasties.

All the Tea in China examines some of the more popular tea varieties that hail from China. The chapter title might be just the least bit deceptive but of course Most/Much/Some of the Tea in China wouldn’t have had quite the same ring to it. From there it’s on to a chapter on The Alchemy of Chinese Tea, in which the author provides a good overview of tea’s effects on our body and mind.

It’s not often that a tea author will devote an entire chapter to one type of tea, but Reid does just that with The Summit: High Mountain Oolong Tea. He calls High Mountain Oolong “the summit of perfection in the art and alchemy of Chinese tea” and notes, earlier in the book, that this is the type of tea that set him on the path to being a lifelong tea drinker. The proceedings wrap up with Tea Tidings, a chapter which includes twelve editions of the newsletter Reid writes for his Web site devoted to all things high mountain oolong.

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3 thoughts on ““The Art and Alchemy of Chinese Tea” by Daniel Reid

  1. Pingback: What is High Mountain Oolong? « Tea Blog

  2. Pingback: “The Way of Tea” by Aaron Fisher « Tea Blog

  3. Pingback: “The Chinese Art of Tea” by John Blofeld « Tea Blog

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