Saturday, August 21, 2010
Tea and Books Saturday #34 - "A Passion for Tea"
A Passion for Tea
By Hattie Ellis
Ryland Peters & Small, 2006
"A Passion for Tea" by Hattie Ellis is a small gift book which retails for $9.95, but I once came across a stack of these for giveaway prices at Michaels, and several of my friends received this bargain book as a result! If you're looking for a gift for a new tea friend and want the shortest book with the clearest, simplest explanation of the history and production of tea, this is it.
"All teas start from green leaves," Ellis writes. "It is processing that determines whether they are black, green or oolong." She goes on to briefly describe the processes by which the various types of tea are made. I thought it was interesting she refers to Japanese tea as "the white wine of brews." And if I'd ever read this before, I had certainly forgotten that the word "oolong" is Chinese for "black dragon." (I'm glad we now use "oolong," because it wouldn't feel as comforting to me to sit around sipping some "black dragon.")
In a section on buying and storing tea, Ellis writes that tea is best kept fresh in larger quantities. Don't know that I've come across that before. (Do know that I probably won't be buying my own tea in any larger quantities. I have too large a tea stash as it is!) The book also includes a few recipes (Chai Masala, Earl Grey Punch, North African Mint Tea) and a directory of resources. One of the most noteworthy things about this book, however, is its wonderful photography (by Debi Treloar), and I think tea lovers old and new will be inspired by the dreamy, wistful quality of many of the photos. All in all, just a fun and fine little book!