CategoryTea Books

Book: Tea: Essence of the Leaf

I meant for this to go up last Wednesday, but unfortunately, I lost my draft (due to server optimizations for a better teatra.de; hurray!). This means rewriting my review from memory (could have sworn I had some paper notes, but alas).

Tea: Essence of the Leaf was donated to my university tea club, and since I was the one there to accept it, I claimed dibs. I put all other books on-hold so I could read it and return it as soon as possible. Continue reading

Book: Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse (Part 1)

I’m back. I’ve got a lot to write about, I just have to kick myself back into writing gear again. So I’ve finished classes, and I’m graduating in June; I quit my job so I could take an extra heavy last semester and graduate sooner. I checked this book out two terms ago–normally, as long as there are no holds on a book, you can renew them indefinitely. Unfortunately, since I’m graduating in a month, I was required to return it. I’ve been reading it on and off since Christmas. I barely made it half-way through; it’s a thick book. Thus this’ going to be a two-part review, since once I get my alumni privileges I’ll be checking it out again to finish.

Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse (Horses, Bureaucrats, and the Destruction of the Sichuan Tea Industry, 1074-1224) unofficially belongs to a trilogy of books (that I’ve grouped together) on the evolution of the tea economy in China from about early Tang until at least the end of the ROC. I’ve already reviewed one before (Harvesting Mountains); the other is Green Gold, arguably the most well-known of the three. I intentionally left Green Gold for last; my first intent was to read them roughly ‘in order’, but Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse was such an intimidating book, I went for Harvesting Mountains first. Continue reading

Book: The Spirit of Tea

Fear not, a post on Mohammad Mirza is also in the works. I ended up stumbling on a great source in English, so now it’s getting a bit long and needs some editing. Until then, I’m still reading.

I picked this book up from a used bookstore in Vancouver with a stack of other tea publications; it was originally in a display (along with the Classic of Tea, and Chinese Tea Culture–and I feel like there were a few others, although the names allude me now). It’s fitting that I should read it next, after I finished The Great Teas of China, as the author (Frank Hadley Murphy) was reportedly a student of Roy Fong’s. Continue reading

Book: The Great Teas of China

The book opens thus: “The Chinese have a saying that reading ten thousand books can’t compare to traveling ten thousand miles.” Wow, I just came here to read a good book, and I am feeling so attacked right now.

It reminds me of some words given to me at a teashop to basically the same effect. The truth is, I love to read; I don’t think book knowledge compares to hands-on experience to any extent, but it also doesn’t hinder it (unless you stubbornly choose to let it). I don’t read to the exclusion of tea drinking, but because I enjoy it and because it gives me something just drinking alone can’t. Continue reading

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

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.”

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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

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

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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