Saturday, June 30, 2007
The Art of Tea Magazine
I believe I first heard about The Art of Tea magazine through Teamail, the online chat group for tea lovers, of which I am a member. When I finally decided to spring for the $12.99 inaugural issue of this English-language magazine about Chinese teas, I hoped it would be worth it. The package arrived and I was quite impressed, since the nearly 200-page book was oversized, had a nice, thick cover, and was filled with gorgeous color photos. I think I'd like this magazine even if it were NOT in English!
Only two issues have been published thus far, but I find lots to recommend them. In No. 1: Wonderful photo spreads of the tea leaves in individual tea gardens, experts discuss the Puerh tea market for Fall/Winter 2006, an article on the varieties of Formosa Oolong, how to choose a Yixing teapot. In No. 2: A discussion of buying teas online, a piece on Wuyi rock teas, an article on how "The Emperor's Red Cape Tea" was named, and an intriguing article on Yixing teapots rescued from the ocean floor. Both issues include many tea reviews, recipes for cooking with tea, and articles on Ikebana flower arranging.
Now I have to say that I am a fan, first and foremost, of English-style tea and the flavored black tea blends which will forever mark me as a tea amateur and not a purist, so my interest in eastern teas is almost entirely academic (although I have sipped some Yunnan and Puerh teas and liked both). I am curious enough to want to know the story behind all teas, and I'm fascinated by the passion for this beverage around the world. I'll no doubt keep buying this magazine as part of my ongoing tea education, knowing I probably won't ever see a cute pink teapot inside, yet entirely satisfied that I'll learn something new about the marvelous tea plant. Some of these articles have quirky translations, but I find this rather adds to the charm of The Art of Tea, which now has a happy place in my tea library. (I got my issues through houdeasianart.com, but I've also seen them on eBay.)