Book: The Story of Tea

Tea is far more than a drink.
418 pages, ★★★★★

The Story of Tea refined my palate. It taught me to taste the difference between Beijing cabbages and Shandong cabbages, which, (as indicated by the price), are softer, sweeter and less bitter. It taught me to find the best olive oil and the best mineral water, neither of which are the most expensive on the market. By understanding tea, I’ve learned to pursue quality and health in everything I do, and to take (much) time to enjoy life’s pleasures in parks, teahouses, and on our 12th floor balcony. Tea is far more than a drink.

Understanding tea helps you to understand life. Having developed a gong-fu tea habit, I feel calmer, more alert, more thoughtful, and have a regular sleep pattern. I relax more, work less, earn more and am less stressed than when I drank coffee and worked 7 days a week (last year). I think more, do more, no longer crave corporate office jobs, and I read more than ever. Let great tea change your life.

The middle-aged couple who wrote The Story of Tea have inspired me more than Joseph Needham (the Cambridge-graduate protagonist of Bomb, Book and Compass). Firstly, they’re two people; secondly, they love tea despite not speaking Chinese; thirdly, they’re making a profit pursuing a passion and lastly, they’re still alive. By contrast, Joseph Needham, in his epic encyclopaedia of China, devoted only 2½ pages to Chinese tea! The Story of Tea would make a perfect amendment to this classic as Needham’s unwritten eighth volume.

The Story of Tea is very well-organized. There’s a comprehensive tea directory with tasting notes, a section on the production process of each of the seven main types of tea (green, black, dark, oolong, yellow, white and traditional flower teas), a history section and a travel section. Read from cover-to-cover and make detailed notes. Tea is not just a pleasurable drink, it’s an exquisite lifestyle. Everyone should read this. ★★★★★

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