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
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
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
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
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
Here 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.
This 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
In the wake of the current Verdant Tea scandal, this seems like the perfect read. I started this book a little before the VTF, but juggling schoolwork and leisure reading, I haven’t really gotten to finishing it until recently. And I guess it’s perfect timing, because I think it’s a very relevant read to understanding the current drama. I won’t really be touching on that, because there are already half a dozen other tea-blogs that have covered it in depth, plus threads on TeaChat, r/tea, and Steepster to chronolog the drama (here’s Steepster’s to get you started, if you really haven’t been following the drama). Continue reading
I thought I’d break my experiences at the VTF down into more than one post; I realize I have a tendency to ramble, and the least I can do is break up the flow.
The second annual VTF wasn’t huge. I’ve been to huge conventions. It was a good size though, and busy as all hell. There were a lot of familiar logos about, and then some that I didn’t even know existed, let alone operated in the Lower Mainland. Continue reading