I've written frequently over the past year of my fondness for the many great digital resources available on the Library of Congress website. I've often explored the newspaper and photography archives there, but I haven't delved too deeply into the digital *books* available on the site. This week, I was frankly surprised to learn about "Tea-Blending as a Fine Art," a book on tea-blending that was written (and self-published, interestingly enough) by Joseph M. Walsh in 1896! Mr. Walsh obviously placed great stock in the importance of tea, as the first sentence of his book reads, "There is no article handled by the grocer which demands greater attention, engages more of his time, or has a more important bearing upon the success of his business than Tea, as it stands in many respects far ahead of all the other commodities in commanding and maintaining patronage, as well as in attracting and retaining trade for numerous other articles, and at the same time yielding a larger margin of profit to the dealer."
When I flipped over to page 15, I was impressed by the variety of Oolongs Mr. Walsh was able to list: Ankoi, Amoy, Foochow, Formosa, Saryune and Pekoe. Then he moves on to "Congou Teas," which he notes are "grown principally in the Bohea hills in China, and are known to trade in this country as English Breakfast Teas. They are divided into Kaisow or Red-leaf and Moning or Black-leaf Tea, and are a distinct variety differing in color, liquor and flavor from the Oolong sorts."
I marvel that he wrote all this without benefit of iPad, iPhone, or Internet. Can you imagine? That's just a small sample of what's shared in Mr. Walsh's book, and I'm so happy to have discovered it. If you'd like to check out this book for yourself, or simply to bookmark it for later reading, as I often do, click here.