Book: The World Atlas of Tea

I remember when this came out, because there was a bit more buzz than usual for new tea books (most of them slip silently into the night, because they’re recipe or gardening books… The only others to kick up some interest were How to Make Tea, and The Art and Craft of Tea, which both came out the year before). It seemed interesting enough to write down on my ‘list’, but just general enough that it went right to the bottom for priority. Not likely something I’d buy myself.

But the benefit of newer tea publications, is they’re more likely to get picked up by libraries. This one did, the other two I mentioned didn’t (though I ended up buying How to Make Tea). Continue reading

Summer Plans

For the first time in years, I’ve got a completely open summer. Which kinda means I don’t know what to do with myself. Usually I’m either working in the field or taking a field-based summer class for at least part of the break, or filling it with a geography class or two. But I’ve got nothing. I am still keeping my options open on the off-chance I do still end up with a summer job, but all the interviews I’ve had so far have gone nowhere. Which sucks because I got a few really cool ones.

So I’m working more retail, and saving for tuition in the fall. Unfortunately I don’t get the buspass offered to credited students, which means paying a lot out of pocket just to use public transit everywhere. It also means that I can’t check any more books out of my school library, since I’m not a credited student this term. I’ve still got a pile of unread books I own, and a massive public library and archive to dig through. Continue reading

Book: Harvesting Mountains

I have been reading this book for a while.

It’s not a long book, it’s just been an ordeal and a half to finish it. I checked it out at the beginning of the semester, read a chapter, and then got caught up in textbook readings, essays, and term projects. But finally, with the end of term, I’ve gotten to sit down with this book again.

Tragically, someone before me felt the need to write all of their notes in the book rather than on paper. It’s only in pencil, and so I thought of erasing it myself if it weren’t so extensive. I got a few dirty looks while reading on the train from people who no-doubt saw the scribbles and pinned me as the culprit. Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

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