Mar 5th, '17, 13:12
Posts: 25
Joined: Mar 5th, '17, 12:50

Recommended books on Chinese Tea styles?

by MmBuddha » Mar 5th, '17, 13:12

Hello Teachat,

I'm looking for a particular type of tea book to use as a reference and to expand my knowledge, and though I've heard lots of interesting recommendations here and elsewhere, I've yet to find anything that looks to be what I'm after.

Firstly, here's what I'm not looking for:

1. a grand, sweeping historical narrative of the migration of tea around the world
2. a cursory international overview of tea styles from different countries.
3. a book focusing on the tea ceremony, or its cultural history etc.

Now I'm interested in all of the above, and if they featured in passing then so much the better, but what I'm after is a book specifically addressing Chinese tea styles, and going into detail, hopefully including pictures, on as many of the sub-varieties of Chinese tea as possible—to the extant that, were I browsing a large tea website like Yunnan Sourcing, if I came across a style I was unfamiliar with I could open the book and get tasting notes, regional info, harvesting/preparation methods, perhaps a brief historical and cultural overview etc.

As someone fairly new to tea, I'm picking some of this stuff up gradually in a piecemeal fashion, but it's mostly jumbled and partial information that's leaving me feeling underprepared to be an informed customer, and a reference like this would be tremendously helpful.

Does anyone know of such a book?

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Mar 6th, '17, 00:37
Posts: 7
Joined: May 10th, '16, 05:52
Location: Canada
Contact: Arkose

Re: Recommended books on Chinese Tea styles?

by Arkose » Mar 6th, '17, 00:37

The bad news is most tea-type books are of the "a cursory international overview of tea styles from different countries" type. The good news is that China by far produces the largest variety of well-known teas, so most of these books spend the largest chunk of time on China. The bad news is they tend to be organized by 'tea category' (Green/Black) rather than country of origin, which might not help.

Tea: A User's Guide - Tony Gebeley; lots of background information on tea production and chemistry, includes most countries, organized by tea category but SUB-organized by country of production. Doesn't include tasting notes, just general information on a wide number of teas.

The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook - Mary Lou Heiss, Robert J Heiss; again lost of opening chapters on production, etc; organized by tea category, includes many different countries; I GUESS has a nice spread of teas although I found it pretty lacking in quantity/coverage; DOES include tasting notes

The Tea Drinker's Handbook - Francois-Xavier Delmas; pretty similar to Tea Enthusiast's I found (maybe it's just the tall narrow handbook look); haven't bothered to pick it up yet though; it and Enthusiast's can be found cheap on abebooks now; similarly also includes tasting notes, seemed like it had more teas, but I don't have a side-by-side comparison.

A Tea Lover's Travel Diary/4 World-Famous Chinese Green Teas - Chen Jason; two books, they're both definitely more picture books than information books, but do both only focus on CHINESE teas; no tasting notes, really; not really 'handbooks' either.

Great Teas of China - Roy Fong; Chinese tea specific, goes VERY in-depth on the teas (history, production stages), but only ten teas, and if I recall does not include tasting notes.

There's also a series of books I've been waffling on picking up for a while; the covers look unassuming but the inside scans look promising. The "Appreciating Chinese Tea Series", which comprises five books: Pu-erh Tea, Oolong Tea, Green Tea, Tea and Tea Set, and Brewing Tea. The first three look to have pretty in-depth tea lists and notes. It's hard to tell, it has shit-all for reviews. But you're missing out on white, black, and yellow teas.

Other books include First Step to Chinese Puerh Tea (also A Glossary of Chinese Puerh Tea) - Chan Kam Pong (sort've a collector's item now, only ever seen the untranslated version in person).

There are a number of books that include smaller sections on tea types (Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties, The Story of Tea, etc...). I'm sure there'll be a few more suggestions I've missed.

Mar 7th, '17, 04:13
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Recommended books on Chinese Tea styles?

by Bok » Mar 7th, '17, 04:13

MmBuddha wrote: Now I'm interested in all of the above, and if they featured in passing then so much the better, but what I'm after is a book specifically addressing Chinese tea styles, and going into detail, hopefully including pictures, on as many of the sub-varieties of Chinese tea as possible—to the extant that, were I browsing a large tea website like Yunnan Sourcing, if I came across a style I was unfamiliar with I could open the book and get tasting notes, regional info, harvesting/preparation methods, perhaps a brief historical and cultural overview etc.

As someone fairly new to tea, I'm picking some of this stuff up gradually in a piecemeal fashion, but it's mostly jumbled and partial information that's leaving me feeling underprepared to be an informed customer, and a reference like this would be tremendously helpful.

Does anyone know of such a book?
I do not think this kind of book exists (at least not in a Western language). Certain tea blogs are a better source of knowledge, but it takes more time to accumulate it due to the nature of the medium.

In my oppinion the West just recently started to really become aware that there is more to tea than black powder in a bag :mrgreen: Not many experts around who are capable and/or willing to write such a detailed book. Possible exceeds what any one person could know about tea by far, just too many teas around. Another issue would be that each harvest can differ greatly, so a tasting note is of little value, not even taking into consideration that brewing equipment, water, heating method and more add more complexity…

Not what you are looking for, but the most interesting book I’ve read about tea is this one: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6029 ... ime-of-tea

Easiest is always google the tea you are not familiar with and and answer will christalize among the mass of results :mrgreen:

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