Tea Reading List – A Few of Our Favorite Books

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We’ve been posting regularly for a couple years now and from time to time we pull quotes from some of our favorite tea books. However, it struck us recently that we haven’t pulled together a list of our favorites to share in one spot. So this post is just that, a short-list of some of our current favorite tea books. We know it will change over time but hopefully this list can be a starting point for anyone looking to increase their knowledge of tea.

A page of The Classic of Tea in Chinese. Its right up there with All the Tea in China.

One page from the original The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu

The Classic of Tea

The oldest book on our list, by far, The Classic of Tea was written by Lu Yu around 760 CE. Origininally from Hubei Province in China, Lu Yu’s book is considered the earliest book written on the subject of tea and was originally written in Chinese. Translations are around with our copy being produced in 1974 and having spent time in a public library in Illinois before being sold off and ultimately ending up in our hands. The easiest of all books on our list, The Classic of Tea has three major parts covering an introduction to tea and how its made, the equipment used to prepare tea, and a final section on brewing, drinking, and other odds and ends related to tea.

Tea Blending as a Fine Art

More of a how-to guide for the aspiring tea merchant of the 19th century, Tea Blending as a Fine Art was written in 1896 by Robert M. Walsh. As its written from the perspective of selling tea, this book covers some basics of tea before spending time on tea adulteration and what to watch out for, the importance of finding a blend that works well in the local market, and ideas for advertising in America during the 1890’s.  It also includes recipes for tea blends (no tisanes or non-tea ingredients here).

All the Tea in China

Written in 1990 by Kit Chow and Ione, All the Tea in China provides a little bit of everything though, as the name implies, much of the content of the book focuses on China. You will find a bit of history of tea in this book including its early origins, how colonial trade brought it to the west. The book even touches on tea’s role in the opium trade and tea in the US colonies. At less than 200 pages this is an easy read with a great overview of everything tea from the plant through an overview of production, and overviews of some famous Chinese teas.

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