Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

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Overview

Whether it's a delicate green tea or a bracing Assam black, a cup of tea is a complex brew of art and industry, tradition and revolution, East and West. In this sweeping tour through the world of tea, veteran tea traders Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss chronicle tea's influence across the globe and provide a complete reference for choosing, drinking, and enjoying this beverage.

The Story of Tea begins with a journey along the tea trail, from the lush forests of China, ...

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Overview

Whether it's a delicate green tea or a bracing Assam black, a cup of tea is a complex brew of art and industry, tradition and revolution, East and West. In this sweeping tour through the world of tea, veteran tea traders Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss chronicle tea's influence across the globe and provide a complete reference for choosing, drinking, and enjoying this beverage.

The Story of Tea begins with a journey along the tea trail, from the lush forests of China, where tea cultivation first flourished, to the Buddhist temples of Japan, to the vast tea gardens of India, and beyond. Offering an insider'­s view of all aspects of tea trade, the Heisses examine Camellia sinensis, the tea bush, and show how subtle differences in territory and production contribute to the diversity of color, flavor, and quality in brewed tea. They profile more than thirty essential tea varietals, provide an in depth guide to tasting and brewing, and survey the customs and crafts associated with tea. Sharing the latest research, they discuss tea's health benefits and developments in organic production and fair trade practices. Finally, they present ten sweet and savory recipes, including Savory Chinese Marbled Eggs and Green Tea Pot de Crâme, and resources for purchasing fine tea.

Vividly illustrated throughout, The Story of Tea is an engrossing tribute to the illustrious, invigorating, and elusive leaf that has sustained and inspired people for more than two thousand years.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Coffee fuels the Western world, while tea defines the East and is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, outgunned only by water itself. In this everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-tea-but-were-afraid-to-ask volume, a husband-and-wife tea-merchant team covers all aspects of tea-its growth, cultivation, and curing and how it's sold as well as its vast cultural and historical significance in China, Japan, Korea, and beyond (including the Colonial United States). Not simply used to jolt your brain awake with a caffeine infusion, tea and its traditions date back centuries. Although hundreds of different varieties exist, there are six basic classes of tea all stemming from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). This book functions as an encyclopedia, a history, a travelog, and a recipe guide to both properly brewing and steeping all varieties of tea in addition to using the leaf as an ingredient in many dishes. An absolutely exhaustive yet readable study, the Heisses' book is at once the best and only one you'll ever need on the subject. It's a well-brewed and tasty pot indeed.
—Michael Rogers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580087452
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 348,900
  • Product dimensions: 7.79 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Lou Heiss and her husband, Robert, have owned and operated Cooks Shop Here, a purveyor of fine tea and other specialty food products, since 1974. Mary Lou is also the author of Green Tea. When not traveling to source teas and other ingredients for their shop, they make their home in western Massachusetts, where Robert’s lively food radio program can be heard each week. The Heisses’s deep respect for and passionate interest in artisan food products, traditional foods, and the history and evolution of world cuisines bring a global perspective to their work.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Accurate to a Tea

    The best book to educate you about tea. I have discovered more about teas since I purchased this book than I could ever have imagined. After readinfg this book, I just had to get some of the teas it described. Trust me, I wasn't disappointed in my choices. This volume also gives a history of the various teas and where they come from. Indulge yourself. Buy this book and try some tea.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2009

    Full of great information!

    I had no idea that tea had such a rich history! A very easy to understand.
    I think anyone would enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    Why you like the tea you like

    Mary Lou and Robert Heiss have solved a 20-year problem, with their book 'The Story of Tea'. Through extensive research, ardous sampling and comparing, learning and listening to the tea growers, processors, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and drinkers, they have composed an incredibly accessible insight into the complexities of one of our most mysterious (but beloved) beverages. I've sampled many, many teas over the years--including many from the Heiss' own Cooksshophere web site retail store--and sit and wonder why I prefer one over the other, why one type of tea makes me feel happy, the other a little jumpy, others that are soothing, still more that are too mellow for me. Now, when I have a question about tea, and want to take a mini-journey somewhere, I know where to travel - to the Story of Tea.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 27, 2012

    If you enjoy a good cup of tea, you must have this book

    As a tea lover but not an afficianado, I felt totally inadequate when faced with a true, high-quality tea shop. How to select the right tea for my tastes? How to distinguish one type from another? How to prepare and serve the teas I chose? This book answers all those questions and helps me really appreciate and enjoy a variety of great teas, and prepare them to the greatest advantage. No more mediocre brews!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    The story of tea

    This book tells you everything you always wanted to know about tea. I am a better tea shopper and brewer after reading it and know much more about the cultures that created and still give to us this delightful beverage.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2008

    Everything about tea

    Awhile back I bought this book wanting to learn about tea in general. Never really had much time to read it until last week. Im now far into the book. After reading much of it I will recommend it to anyone who either has a large knowledge of tea or for some who have limited. I can say now that Im a connoisseur of tea because of this book. Oh and If you think teas are not that cool well think again this book being 400 pages long has a large section on production and history. Theirs more to tea then meets the eye.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2007

    If you are interested in Tea...

    I love this book! The Story of Tea is rich with history, culture, and practical information. Dozens of styles of tea varieties, methods of cultivation, harvest, preparation and enjoyment are discussed and beautifully illustrated with photos and the authors' personal anecdotes. A fascinating survey that has deepened my appreciation for tea and the people who produce it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2008

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    Posted December 9, 2008

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    Posted October 6, 2010

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    Posted February 14, 2013

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    Posted December 11, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

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