Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tea and Books Saturday #12 - "A Guide To Tea"
A Guide to Tea
By Chris Cason
Published by Adagio Teas
When I began exploring loose leaf teas years ago, one of the first online vendors I tried was Adagio Teas. Their tins began piling up as I tried their delicious flavored teas, then pure black teas, a holiday sampler of teas and more. One day, I noticed they offered their own book, "A Guide to Tea," but I didn't have time to read it when it arrived and recently discovered it on shelves between some other tea books.
The book is just 88 pages and an easy read, so I would definitely recommend it to any "tea beginners" who want to know more about the basics: what is tea, how to prepare tea, the different types of tea, etc. Even though I knew most of the information in the book, it never hurts to be reminded of the basics. Occasionally someone new to tea asks me "where do I begin?", and I have to remind myself they are not asking for the history of tea since the beginning of time and probably don't want to hear my tongue-tied explanation of what SFTGFOP stands for (Special Fancy Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe -- and Cason does a good job of explaining even that!).
The book confirmed my long-held belief that every tea book I read will have at least one new thing to teach me. In this one, in the chapter on tisanes/herbal teas I learned that in ancient Greece, peppermint was rubbed on dining tables to make the meal more pleasant. Fun! The book also includes some great close-ups of various tea leaves (such as White Peony, Sencha, Silver Needles) as well as photos of tea rituals and tea plants from around the world. Cason seems passionate about encouraging others to explore the world of tea, and I really like this quote: "A complete renovation of the Western mindset on tea may seem like a long shot, but remember this: there once was a time when your choice of coffee ranged from Folgers to Sanka. Then, Starbucks came along to show how much better it can be. The same is true of tea." I really enjoyed this book, which I no longer see listed individually at adagio.com but it does appear to be included for free with certain gift sets.