Book: Homegrown Tea

I had an ulterior (well, not that ulterior) motive in picking up this book, and it was mostly just to read the very first section on growing camellia sinensis. To quote the book’s opening paragraph:

Homegrown Tea is a gardening book for tea lovers. It explains how to grow a large variety of plants from which you can make teas and tisanes. Your own garden, balcony, or even windowsill could become your tea cupboard.”

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Notes from the Field

So it’s been a long term, and I’m only two chapters into Harvesting Mountains.

Last I checked, anyway.

My life has been consumed almost entirely be geology, and I haven’t done anything tea-related since November, which is a pitty. I haven’t partaken in any spring pre-buys, or picked up any interesting new sample packs. I haven’t really bought much new tea in general.

The only interesting thing I did was keep up with tea club meetings. It’s definitely nice to have a regular group of people to drink tea with, although it’s more of a casual pot with homework club. I try to bring my gaiwan in every so often to share with the one other person in the club interested in single-origin teas. Continue reading

Book: Tea Production, Land Use Politics, and Ethnic Minorities

I’m free! That is, I’ve finished another harrowing term. I mistakenly thought I would have more free time, and went a little overboard at the library. At least I’ve finished one book.

Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic focuses primarily on the rise and fall of pu’er tea from the 1970s until the boom and fall in 2007. Although it details the changing landscape in the rest of Yunnan at the time, the book focuses primarily on how these changes affected the residents of the village of Yiwu. I bring this up because Po-Yi Hung’s work focuses, similarly, on the village of Mangjing, Yunnan, and the resident’s relationship with Jingmai Mountain. Continue reading

Vancouver Tea Festival (2016)

Two things happened yesterday. The Vancouver Tea Festival ensued, and Tony Gebeley published his book. This is a book I’ve (read: most people) been spying on for a while, and it looks like it’s got everything I want in a tea book. I’d really like the physical release, but I’m not prepared to spend the over $55CAD to get it right now. For once, getting the digital release actually saves you an appreciable amount (I come from a world of ‘digital textbooks’ that save you a joke and a half, pulp books that save you actually nothing [unjokingly, literally, nothing], and a whole lot of publications that came out way before the internet and aren’t popular enough to be readily digitized). Unfortunately, that means downloading the Kindle app onto my slow little Kobo. Is that sacrilege? Continue reading

Legg-Cut Tea Production

The mechanical evolution of tea production began as early as the 1880s,2 attempting to modernize and streamline the traditional Chinese techniques brought to India. These early machines often dealt with the time-consuming methods of rolling, drying and firing, and improving upon existing orthodox techniques. The early 1900s saw the rise of unorthodox manufacture, exploring different means and ‘shortcuts’ in leaf disruption (focusing on leaf maceration to kickstart fermentation, or to forego withering). These two eras correlate with Harler’s third and fourth Phases of tea making, respectively.2

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Book: Tea Manufacture, by C.R. Harler

Many of the older books I find no longer have their dust-jackets and are just a plain leader bind, but I find it nice to include a picture if I can anyways.Whereas I called Tea Processing the spiritual sequel to Harler’s Tea Growing (as it draws from many different resources, but does take largely after Harler’s handbooks), this is the actual sequel (technically in terms of publication dates, prequel). It picks up where Tea Growing leaves us with the proper plucking technique and storage of fresh leaf matter. Continue reading

DvD: The Story of Tea

storytea-3Spotted this a little while ago and finally decided to give it a watch, since it isn’t very long. Basically sat in bed and watched a documentary on tea while drinking a cup of tea.

This came out last year, which means it’s at least fairly up to date. It was a nice enough watch, covering both a bit of tea history and a bit of tea culture, with a lot of on-sight views of tea gardens and tea houses. There were still a few gripes I had with it, though, which I don’t think detract from it as “a pleasant watch”, but I’ll get into them anyways. Continue reading

Book: A Full Cup, by Michael D’Antonio

afullcupHere we are. Thomas Lipton. I’ll pick up any teabook, really, and I enjoy reading about any bit of tea history. Important figures, especially recent ones, hold a special place for me.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as my most popular post was a breakdown of the history of John Murchie, and I constantly defend Tazo because of Steven Smith. Either way, Lipton is usually said with a snear in tea-going circles.

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Fatty Shiboridashi

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Scored this fat shiboridashi at a second-hand shop. It came with three matching cups. Tried my best to capture the crackle celadon finish. Looks like it could easily hold 6oz (almost a bit big for my small hands), and just fills the three cups.

Thought I’d share.

Book: The Tea Cyclopedia

teacycloopediaThis is a pretty unassuming little book, but turned out to be a solid read. The style of the cover actually mislead me into thinking it was a lot older than it was–I figured a reprint of a 1970s book–but it was actually published in 2013. I will say there are definitely a lot of books that cover most of the same subjects in about the same amount of depth, but this one does have a few merits I haven’t seen in too many ‘general tea’ books. Continue reading

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