Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A vintage "tea library" -- at a great price!

Today is one of the happiest days of the year for me. It's the day *after* our magazine's annual newcomers' guide goes to press, and I am one relieved gal. That mag is our largest publication of the year, and we somehow manage to produce it in between two regular issues of the magazine. Today, I am at home recovering, catching up on tea blogs (what wonderful things have I missed?), reading and otherwise chilling. Among the books I'm reading will be numerous tea books from the 1800s and early 1900s. You see, last week on eBay I ordered 40 vintage tea books from England for just $10.95. They arrived Monday, and I couldn't be more pleased. There are titles like "The Ceylon Tea-Makers' Hand-book" by George Thornton Pett from 1899. Not bad for 27 cents, eh?

Or how about this one, Okakura Kakuzo's "The Book of Tea," from 1919. I've always meant to read that but never got around to buying one of the modern editions. I'm so glad I waited and found this vintage one!

"Tea: From Grower to Consumer" by A. Ibbetson (1912) is part of the "Common Commodities and Industries" series. It's a book I had never heard of, but it certainly has some wonderful information about how tea is produced.

And while my inner tea geek is indeed interested in reading "Tea Cultivation" by Lieut. Col. Edward Money (1883), you have to be at least a little amused that this book could be sending a certain message on the cover: Tea cultivation = Money!

Lots of tea books and articles I've read have referred to Robert Fortune's famous books on tea, but I never dreamed I'd be able to own one, such as this 1852 tome, "Journey to the Tea Countries of China."

OK, so you know there's a catch, don't you? My books are on a CD titled "The Story of Tea," compiled by the eBay seller surrey_trader, who has a real fondness for old books, which he shares in PDF format. With the exchange rate it was $10.95, including shipping, which I thought was a great buy for so much tea information. I like the fact these "40 books" take up so little space, although if I could get the real things for 27 cents each, I'd certainly *make* room. And now, since I have the day off, I'll be reading about tea!


  1. What a wonderful find that was. I can only imagine all the great tea information there would be in those forty books. What a great way to own a vintage tea library at a bargain price.

    Have a lovely day off, Angela.

  2. You have a funny sense of humor. I was thinking you had really found the mother lode of tea books. Enjoy!

  3. Angela, are you on furlough? Sounds like fun work you are doing on your day off...reminds me that after all the REQUIRED reading I had to do during a University semester, for FUN I would read a Mitchener book or some such thing. Hope you are taking plenty of time away from that computer, tootsies up in the air with several cuppa's right near by your side!

  4. What fun books! Enjoy your day off work.

  5. Gwendol, I hope you will be pleased to hear that I loafed all day today and accomplished absolutely nothing of value! (And no, it wasn't a furlough day, just a day to recover. We did actually have furlough days, one each in January, February and March, but that was all, thank goodness!)

  6. I wouldn't mind having that book CD myself. The Robert Fortune book would probably be an interesting read. But though I consider myself another "tea geek" I don't think I could get much out of the other books. At least not yet. Maybe in a few years when I'm hopelessly devoted to tea. --Jason


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