Books about Tea
I am looking to build up my tea library. There are lots of books about tea out there but I want books about tea history, tea travels, great novels that include tea, and of course great recipe books. Please share your absolute favourites. Thanks.
I think the best tea book I’ve seen out there is ‘Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties’ by Kevin Gascoyne. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy myself, but a tea tasting I went to awhile ago had this on the counter and I was browsing through it now and then throughout the tasting. It really is a nice book, so I can’t help but to suggest it.
I also really like ‘A Decent Cup of Tea’ by Malachi McCormick. This one I do own and it’s pretty informative, but it’s really short. Lol.
For tea novels if you want straight fiction I know Laura Childs has a series called ‘Tea Shop Mystery’. These also have a handful of recipes in the back of each one, though they weren’t really my thing when I tried to read two different ones. I’m just not a big mystery reader to be honest, but you might want to check them out.
‘For All the Tea in China’ by Sarah Rose is pretty good, though I haven’t gotten all the way through it yet. And there’s also ‘Liquid Jade’ by Beatrice Hohenegger, which is another history book. This one I also don’t own, though not for lack of trying.
Hope that helps. I’ll probly add more as I find them since I work in a used bookstore and I’m always hunting down new ones when I can. I have this list that I’ve been slowly working through, though my co-workers are always showing me new ones. Lol.
I would agree with the choice of the Gascoyne book, but also really like the Tea Drinker’s Handbook by Delmas, et al and the Micheal Harney book (don’t recall the title).
Oh boy do I.
I second Sarah Rose’s book, as far as historical novels go.
If you’re looking for truly informative books on the history of tea, you’ll have to accept that they probably won’t all be just about tea. A lot of good ones I’ve read are:
The Book of Tea, by Okakura Kakuzo (the classic essay using tea as a way to compare the East to the West)
The Tea Road: China and Russia Meet Across the Steppe, by Martha Avery (a book about the tea trade relationship as it developed between China and Russia)
Tea in Japan: Essay on the History of Chanoyu, edited by Paul Varley and Kumakura Isao (probably the most extensive and scholarly book I’ve found on chanoyu—it’s a collection of essays)
Ones I’d like to read/own but haven’t quite gotten around to reading yet are:
The Classic of Tea (translated by Francis Ross Carpenter), by Lu Yu (THE classic of tea, or Chajing)
Tea Dictionary, by James Norwood Pratt (not exactly something you read cover to cover, but really handy to have on-hand; runs about $150 though)
Tea Life, Tea Mind, by Sōshitsu Sen XV (another classic written by a master of the tea ceremony in 1500’s; a descendant of Rikyu)
There’s also some of the many general tea information books out there.
The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook: A Guide To The World’s Best Teas, by Mary Lou Heiss, Robert J. Heiss
The Story Of Tea: A Cultural History And Drinking Guide, by Mary Lou Heiss, Robert J. Heiss
Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties, by Francois Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais, Kevin Gascoyne (as Shadowfall suggested which, by the way, you can pick up at Chapters assuming you live in Canada, and I’m lucky that there’s also an independent tea shop near me that also has a copy)
I’ll probably be adding the ones suggested above to my list as well.
The Harney and Son’s Guide to Tea, by Michael Harney is the one you’re thinking of, Dr Jim.
Oh yes, the Art of Tea Magazines are also a good thing to collect, and within them they also suggest other reading material (published by them):
Photo I took out of I think it was issue 8.
The backissues of the magazine can be difficult to find, but there ARE still some websites that have a few old copies left.
I’d like to get /Searching for the Old Tea Horse Road/, and /A Glossary of Chinese Puehr/.
I have a few more listed on my teatra.de site, but most are only tangentially related to tea (or that I haven’t read yet/heard enough about to consider promoting).