In this article, I cover 8 tea books that came out since our last roundup in late 2018. Overall, it was a strong year for quality tea books and we’re continually seeing authors raising the bar and introducing new concepts and information to our industry. This is key, as there are no doubt a number of books each year that are just re-hashing the same information we’ve read in other books. What’s your favorite addition to the tea library this year?
This book is the most well-researched book on tea history that I’ve come across, with over 2200 end notes & citations. There are several releases of this book and since I have failed to mention it in prior years, I’m covering the recently released paperback edition this year. At a striking 549 pages, Rappaport takes us through how the tea industry helped to shape our international economy and the rise of mass consumerism. Highly recommended.
At 924 pages and just under $300, I have to be honest with you, I have not yet read this book. Tea colleagues of mine that have purchased this book tell me that it’s one of the most comprehensive guides to tea history available and that it is very academic. After all, the author, George L. van Driem directs the Linguistics Institute at the University of Bern, where he occupies the Chair of Historical Linguistics. Have you read it? Feel free to chime in using the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Michelle and Rob Comins run a tea shop in southwest England called Comins Tea. This book begins with an overview of tea and tea classification and then takes us on a journey through China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malawi, and Kenya. I love the portions where they include accounts from tea makers and other tea business people during their travels. It ends with a bit on tea and health and tea preparation. Highly recommended.
This beautiful book by Alexander Ahearn offers an account of his journey tasting many teas (with tasting notes and steeping parameters included), each is photographed in a very unique manner and accompanied by flowers, leaves, and other plant materials. As if the beautiful photographs aren’t poetic enough, Ahearn offers up a personal poem to accompany each tea. Alexander’s unique and beautiful approach to tea makes this book a must for your tea library.
This book, is the second book by yours truly, this book is focused on tea culture around the world and was released this year. It’s not nearly as in-depth as my first book, but it offers a great introduction to tea and is quite accessible even for someone who is completely new to the leaf. It is currently being distributed throughout Europe and will be released widely in the United States in March of 2020. This book is part of a “Philosophy of” series published by the British Library that also includes Coffee, Wine, and …. Beards.
This book is treatise by Henrietta Lovell accounting her travels around the globe in search of high end teas for her tea company, Rare Tea Company as well as accounts of her sharing tea with her customers. We industry don’t call it a Tea Journey for no reason and in this book Lovell shares with us her excitement as tea takes her to faraway places and beautiful relationships. There are even a few recipes and tea preparation tips interspersed. Highly recommended.
This book was written by Emilie Holmes the owner of Good & Proper Tea, a tea truck and brick and mortar shop out of London. This book begins with a definition and overview of tea, where it is grown and a bit on classification (albeit skipping yellow teas and fermented teas outside of puer). The remainder of the book well laid out and is made up of recipes and preparation guides. This is a great book for a beginner tea lover.
This collection of poems was written by Aaron Fisher, aka Wu De, the founder of Global Tea Hut. All proceeds from the book go toward the tea hut. This beautiful book not only includes poems written in beautiful calligraphy, but the book is also interspersed with some of Fisher’s tea related artwork. If you are a fan of his work, or have visited the Global Tea Hut (or even if you haven’t), I highly recommend this book.