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The story of tea : a cultural history and drinking guide
Heiss, Mary Lou.
Adult Nonfiction TX415 .H44 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Purveyors of fine tea, the Heisses' documentary dexterously weaves through the wars, economic upheavals and embargoes surrounding what was once considered the "elixir of immortality." Though tea usage may predate written history, evidence suggests that Camellia sinensis's invigorating leaves were first cultivated centuries ago in the tea gardens of indigenous minorities in Northwestern China and along the Indian, Myanmar and Tibetan borders. Chinese monks recognized the energizing effects and medicinal value of this evergreen plant and, by touting its benefits, ignited a thirst for tea that quickly spread west via oceangoing tea clippers and along the Silk Road. The famed East India Company flourished, "teatime" became social tradition, and cream and sugar were found to balance tea's astringency. In this guide, the Heisses outline at length the production process from tea bush to tea cup, along with the nuances of regional varietals like China's sweet green tea and India's Darjeeling. An engaging historical and cultural study, this guide is geared toward both novice and consummate consumers intrigued by the world's 2,000-year-old tea habit. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Coffee fuels the Western world, while tea defines the East and is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, outgunned only by water itself. In this everything-you-always-wanted-to-kno w-about-tea-but-were-afraid-to-ask volume, a husband-and-wife tea-merchant team covers all aspects of tea-its growth, cultivation, and curing and how it's sold as well as its vast cultural and historical significance in China, Japan, Korea, and beyond (including the Colonial United States). Not simply used to jolt your brain awake with a caffeine infusion, tea and its traditions date back centuries. Although hundreds of different varieties exist, there are six basic classes of tea all stemming from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). This book functions as an encyclopedia, a history, a travelog, and a recipe guide to both properly brewing and steeping all varieties of tea in addition to using the leaf as an ingredient in many dishes. An absolutely exhaustive yet readable study, the Heisses' book is at once the best and only one you'll ever need on the subject. It's a well-brewed and tasty pot indeed.-Michael Rogers, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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