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Tea and Tea Blending – The Book

If you pick up the book Tea and Tea Blending expecting to read about the latter topic you might come away mildly disappointed. There are only a few brief chapters of this 151-page book devoted to the topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking a look at.

If you’re looking for more of this sort of thing you could also take a look at a book that was published around the same time – Tea-Blending as a Fine Art, by Joseph M. Walsh. The fourth edition of Tea and Tea Blending, the edition under consideration here, was published just two years before that, in 1894. Authorship is somewhat vague, being attributed to a “Member of the firm of Lewis & Co.”

Regardless of who wrote it, you could say that for the most part it’s a fairly standard overview of tea culture and the industry, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It starts off with a few chapters devoted mostly to a history of tea in England and an overview of and statistics regarding the tea trade. The author also throws in a chapter comprised of Hints on Tea Making, in which he notes, “unskilful preparation can make good tea into a nauseous draft.” To which I say, “well said, anonymous sir”.

From there it’s off on a brief trip around the world, starting in China, with a segment that takes up the largest chunk of the book. After that it’s on to a not quite as large section on India and then a chapter each devoted to the teas of Ceylon and Japan, Java and more.

As the mysterious author notes, when he finally gets around to the tea blending stuff, it’s a practice that he claims is relatively recent but had already become “entirely a matter of course.” He claims that this practice didn’t actually become common until Indian teas had come “fully on to the market.” He goes on to provide an interesting overview of which types of tea work best with various hardnesses of water, something that I don’t recall seeing before.

From there it’s on to a few sample blends and then a summary which emphasizes the importance of learning the ins and out of tea blending. Read all about it here or wherever else you choose to access your free classic digital texts.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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