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History of Tea, The by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J.

by: Heiss, Mary Lou and Heiss, Robert J.

Berekley CA: 10 Speed Press 2007, $32.50, Hardbound

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2015 Issue: 22(2) page(s): 19

This book is extensively illustrated and it includes ten recipes, not all of them for or using Chinese tea. They are in its last chapter titled: Cooking with Tea and are from earlier cookbooks, each indicating which volume and who wrote it. These two authors’ knowledge is encyclopedic and enthusiastic. This volume is filled with history, traditions, facts, and fancies about the lore about this very ancient beverage that is several thousand years old.

They discuss it from cultivation to capture, picking its leaves, pruning the bush, many types of leaf processing, oxidizing which is often mislabeled as fermenting, packaging, and different teas in many countries and tea gardens.

The book is subtitled: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide, and it shares both well. It discusses tea trails in China, Buddhist temples there and in Japan, differences in terroir, cultivation, production, color of the leaves and the brew, tea tastes, tea customs, research and development and different kinds of tea, its various health benefits, the many ways it is processed in different countries, the many ways people around the world drink it both hot and cold, and so much more.

Included is where and how to purchase tea, how to store it, various ways to brew it, drink it, even talk about it. There is much to learn about tea in this first comprehensive volume in some seventy-five years. It is not a book to miss owning, reading, and learning from.

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