Book: Tea. T, Eden

I picked this up from the public library. Unfortunately the last person to have it decided to write in it with a black felt pen of all things. And I know it was recent because in the margins where they decided to jot swaths of notes down, they went back and blanked it out with white-out tape of all things. As if that made it better.

I cannot fathom some people.

With that mini-rant out of the way, Dr. Thomas Eden was (is?) the former director of the Tea Research Institute of East Africa. His works are those you’ll find alongside Denys Forrest’s, C.R. Harler’s and William Ukers’. Contemporaries spread out across Sri Lanka, India and Africa, they frequently reference each others’ research.

This book is meant to be an informative handbook on the latest research for tea propagation. It’s not a step-by-step guide but rather a compilation of Eden’s and others’ latest methods, problems and solutions. Because of that it’s had several editions, as research and methods of propagation have progressed. As far as I know the 3rd edition was the last, published in 1976.

It’s best to describe it in relation to Harler’s ‘Tea Growing’, another book on the same subject. Eden’s however, goes on to summarize the latest manufacturing processes and research.

In general, I think I found Eden’s much easier to read. It flows well, and although it introduces the science and math behind some concepts, it’s not overwhelming and could still be useful (in a roundabout way–although it’s clearly geared towards tea farms) to those who just want a better idea of tea growing, or are attempting to do some experimenting at home.

It’s hard to describe a favourite section, but I think I enjoyed just reading about preparing for planting–the initial preparations of the soil and how to insert the cuttings. And then, of course, the chapter on leaf chemistry… As it was understood in the 70s.

One interesting thing I noticed was under ‘Tea Manufacture’, Eden listed the legg-cut method as still one of the dominant forms (alongside CTC and rotorvane), which threw up some questions with my previous post on the subject. It had all but disappeared from India by 1977, but Eden did work mainly in Africa, so it does not outright contradict what I found.

Overall, the thorough research and dedication to up-to-date information (for the decade) makes this an interesting, valuable read. The library has the previous editions as well, which I can assume were written with the same dedication.

The third edition can be tricky to find at a good price, but the previous two run fairly cheap on abebooks. It’s a little over 200 pages long.


  1. Did you try comparing the different books you read on the tea topic?

    • AJ

      19/03/2020 at 6:32 PM

      Unfortunately, I couldn’t compare them face to face as I checked them out from different libraries… I did go over my notes, photos and memories of Tea Growing, though. I’ll have to go out and check both of them out some time to give a proper review.

      Maybe I’ll wait until I come across a few more books on the subject.

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