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Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties [Paperback]

Kevin Gascoyne , Francois Marchand , Jasmin Desharnais
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Book Description

Nov. 3 2011

An illustrated guide to the world's teas.

Tea is second only to water as the most-consumed beverage in the world. When recent studies revealed green tea's health benefits, North American consumption skyrocketed.

Tea is a comprehensive guide to non-herbal tea, the plant Camellia sinensis. Concise and authoritative text and an abundance of color photographs take the reader on an escorted tour of the world's tea-growing countries: China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam and East Africa. Like a fine wine, it is the "terroir" -- a region's soil and climate -- that imparts unique characteristics to a tea.

The book covers black, green, white, yellow, oolong, pu'er, perfumed, aromatic and smoked teas. Topics include:

  • An overview of the history of tea
  • Tea varieties
  • The worldwide export of tea
  • How tea is processed
  • Signature tea cultivars
  • The art of making, serving and tasting tea, including tea ceremonies
  • Tea in cooking, with 15 recipes from gourmet chefs
  • A directory of teas.

A set of detailed charts, tables and graphs shows the caffeine, antioxidant and other biochemical properties of 35 teas.

Tea aficionados go on organized tours of tea-growing regions, enroll in tasting seminars and earn professional certificates. For them and for the interested reader who enjoys the occasional cup, Tea is a beautifully presented homage to the world's most beloved hot beverage.


Frequently Bought Together

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties + The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide + The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas
Price For All Three: CDN$ 56.55

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Review

A pretty and enjoyable book with an affordable price and some practical uses for tea drinkers. (Book News 2012-10-01)

The reference work we've been waiting for has arrived: a comprehensive, but not-too-weighty, one-volume coverage of the world's teas, abundantly and beautifully illustrated with photos of exceptional quality, fascinating graphs, and fairly good maps. The organization of this huge body of factual material will make students most grateful. (James Norwood Pratt TeaTime 2012-04-01)

Beautifully illustrated... While there is no shortage of tea-related tomes, this definitive guide will appeal to die-hard tea enthusiasts interested in learning about the modern, global industry as well as the history and enjoyment of this ubiquitous beverage. (Rosemarie Lewis, Georgetown County Library Library Journal 2012-01-15)

This book is quite impressive, well researched, and complete with numerous photographs illustrating the beauty and wonder of tea and tea processing around the world. Interesting and enjoyable. (Tea House Times 2012-04-01)

A pretty and enjoyable book with an affordable price and some practical uses for tea-drinkers. (Reference and Research Book News 2012-10-01)

About the Author

Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais and ,b>Hugo Americi are professional tea tasters and the owners of Camellia Sinensis Tea House in Montreal, Quebec.

Jonathan Racine is an editor with a passion for tea. For this book he traveled to China to tour plantations, meet with producers and tasters and, of course, to drink many cups of tea.


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, March 1 2012
Format:Paperback
Yet another book on tea, however where other books give vague details on teas caffeine and antioxidant qualities the boys at Camellia Sinensis actually took time to do some hard science on the subject. Testing several different teas for chemical analysis reveled that not all teas can be lumped into broad categories. White tea is not necessarily low in Caffeine and some Blacks are actually low in caffeine. The information from that study is worth the price of the book alone. Still there is very in depth information on different tea manufacturing processes and great photos. The only thing I didn't find appealing about the book was the Tea Recipes. Fortunately this is confined to a few pages. All in all a very worthwhile book.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably one of the best tea texts available ~ April 16 2012
By Christopher Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have purchased and checked out from the library several educational books on tea. This is the book I consider one of the best.

This text would be worth purchasing for the pictures and the scientific analyses contained within. The caffeine chart alone makes one ponder the myth that white and green tea have lower caffeine than wulong and black tea. Funny considering two of the highest caffeine concentrations are in Japanese green teas! What I really liked about this book was that each section seemed to contain a good amount of content on the topic without going into overkill. Production is described for each style in a very concise manner, but each step is explained so that the reader understands production even if this is the first tea book they have read. There are some tasting notes on particular teas the authors have chosen. A few are the normal teas that you see mentioned in many texts, but a few are new. They seem especially fond of Chinese and Japanese tea (seeing as those are the two countries with the longest tea drinking and growing traditions I appreciate this) and they have a good amount of content on Taiwan and India while mentioning Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and a few other countries of note. I also like that the authors didn't get too full of themselves and even have mentions of fun tea facts like bottled Japanese green tea (it's not like the bottled tea here - just chilled green tea without sweetener or additives). But probably the best aspect of this book and the one that lends the most credibility is the periodic inclusion of interviews with tea growers, harvesters, buyers, and sellers. Bravo on a job well done!

I also recommend: The Tea Drinker's Handbook which is what I consider the only other 5 star educational tea reference I have come across. Some others I recommend are listed below:

-----

The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide - 4 stars
This is a rather large and bulky text on tea. There is a lot of good information, and I would consider this the runner up to The Tea Drinker's Handbook. The writing is very nice, descriptions very well conveyed, and the pictures are pretty nice. The main issue is the format and layout. There is a lot of information, but finding things really takes a lot of digging. It is laid out more like a 'book' and less like a 'text'. If you know what I mean. It's more narrative in style, though it is educational, it lends itself to reading in order rather than flipping to a pertinent section that you might enjoy.

The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas - 4 stars
This is another text that I enjoy and rate highly, though it falls short on content compared to The Story of Tea or The Tea Drinker's Handbook. It makes for a nice and quick reference and is pretty well written and laid out well.

Way of Tea - 4 stars
An oddly translated book that nonetheless contains some nice stories. For less than a dollar used it's worth adding to the collection. But the translation is pretty horrific in places. Especially with tea names and styles. It is more of a guide to the history, story of, and serving of tea. I actually gave it five stars in my review though based on it being more of a fun addition to the tea library and a great value.

The New Tea Companion - 3 stars
A book with good illustrations, but rather lacking in overall depth. It does describe various teas and shows the leaf and the color of the brewed liquid. Of course this is not very helpful in the long run for adding to knowledge of tea. I doubt many people who buy the book will be blind tasting tea in order to ascertain the origin. But it's nice to refer to every now and again. It's rather unnecessary though if you own any other thorough tea book.

And there are others, but these seem to be the most popular and widely available texts on the world of tea as a whole. And I am familiar with these. There are others, many that I have flipped through in Powell's that are not worth even mentioning here. Too many focus on the British style of tea and spend a lot of time on Indian tea and tea etiquette in the English style. Others focus too heavily on the Eastern tea ceremonies and overlook India, Sri Lanka, and other tea producing countries.

I highly recommend this as well as any of the books I mentioned above for building up a tea library. And I also highly highly recommend the documentary All In This Tea. So brew a pot of your favorite and enjoy!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tea education Jan. 9 2012
By wogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Tea is a book that does a decent job on educating a reader about tea. It contains information about the cultivation, harvesting, and from one terroir to another- which are the similar characteristics that a land and climate will give to the harvests within it. (The explanation of this could have been a little clearer in the book.) The areas covered are; China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, and the East African Coast. There is also information on preparing tea, tasting, the chemical components, the virtues, and in addition, the biochemical analysis of 35 teas. An index is included, along with charts on caffeine, antioxidants.

This is not a simplistic book on the different ways of drinking and types of tea. It should have a glossary to help in understanding; but you can learn an enormous amount of information that is clear to anyone who loves tea and would like to find out more about it, including interviews with those who work with tea.
A confirmed tea lover might find the few recipes included, like beef with Wulong tea appealing. This, over-all is a book for those who adore and are devoted to their cup of tea.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Tea Lovers Who Want to Learn A Bit More. April 21 2012
By Steelermaven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love tea and have been brewing a pot every night for 6 years---for the antioxidents and other benefits. I now buy only loose tea at a local store and have experimented with different combinations and regions. Finally I decided to learn more about tea and bought several books including this one. I have brought this to work to read during my lunch break and found it to be VERY easy to read and understand. The authors are knowledgable and their descriptions of the various teas, regions, brewing times, amounts, temperatures etc.are extremely helpful. Highly recommended!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich and clear information, beautiful images, and solid science. A book not to be dismissed. Aug. 23 2012
By Jason O. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the major contributions of the work is its simple elegance. It is straightforward and orderly in its presentation. That is not to say it doesn't cover useful details about teas. The book shows the true colors of its authors- experienced tea house owners who have made an art of guiding neophytes into the world of tea with skill and clarity. At the same time, the authors give enough information so that new tea drinkers admire their new-found treasure without being overwhelmed.

The title may not sound flashy, but the book delivers what is promised. The main 150 page section looks at different tea producing countries. History of the country introduces each section, followed by an overview of the tea industry within that country. Terriors and regions of the country come next. Coverage often includes brief profiles of tea professionals of the country. Next come details about the cultivars used, along with how teas are processed. Preparation methods are included, like how to use a gaiwan, a Japanese kyusu pot, or a tea tasting set.

There are examples of teas from each country as well. At this point, the book might begin to look a little like an extensively descriptive menu. Many of the teas are those the authors know well, having developed relationships with growers over many years and offering those same teas in the Camellia Sinensis Tea House. But even if the authors didn't actually carry the teas in their own store, they still choose classic representatives of teas from each location.

There are other, smaller but valuable sections of the work. Master chefs have contributed artful recipes that employ tea to wonderful effect. There are also brief sections on tea preparation using various teaware, and a short tasting guide. The overall tasting guide process includes a handy aroma wheel and lexicon of descriptors. The merits of these incline the reader to overlook the diagram of the flavor receptor regions of the tongue. Researchers have become less convinced that tastes are limited to specific glossal zones.

The single greatest contribution of the book to the tea world is the Tea and Health section. Camellia Sinensis Tea House sent their teas to TransBIOTech to analyze caffeine levels, antioxidant levels, and catechin levels in their teas. This section is not only a treasure of information but a beauty to behold. Graphs and charts that are easy to follow. And the information effectively breaks the myth that all white teas are higher in caffeine than all black or green teas.

I forgot to mention the book is an artistic beauty as well. Full page, crisp photographs capture the tea and atmosphere of each place.

Rich and clear information, beautiful images, and solid science. A book not to be dismissed.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Dec 18 2011
By Cloud Mountain Tea - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Yet another book on tea, however where other books give vague details on teas caffeine and antioxidant qualities the boys at Camellia Sinensis actually took time to do some hard science on the subject. Testing several different teas for chemical analysis reveled that not all teas can be lumped into broad categories. White tea is not necessarily low in Caffeine and some Blacks are actually low in caffeine. The information from that study is worth the price of the book alone. Still there is very in depth information on different tea manufacturing processes and great photos. The only thing I didn't find appealing about the book was the Tea Recipes. Fortunately this is confined to a few pages. All in all a very worthwhile book.
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