Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Dec 4th, '11, 18:13
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Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Microshrimp » Dec 4th, '11, 18:13

Hello! :)

I am looking for book recommendations. I'd prefer one that has an emphasis on Pu-erh-- if not an entire book about Pu-erh, perhaps any tea book that has a good Pu-erh section among other topics such as Asian tea types and traditions. I don't necessarily want to read something as dry as a history textbook, but I don't want something overly simplified either.

Anyone have any favorites?


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Dec 5th, '11, 01:49
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by wyardley » Dec 5th, '11, 01:49

A few threads on this topic, which should give you an idea of the main English book that you're probably looking for. There's really not much out there in terms of English language books about pu'er.

In addition, get a copy of Art of Tea issue 9, which has some good articles on storage.

Dec 5th, '11, 10:11
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Spoonvonstup » Dec 5th, '11, 10:11

There was a really great book just published called "The Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet."

I would link to it on Amazon, but I don't have linking privileges yet.

It's written from the perspective of an ethnobotanist studying both the ancient history/culture of the pu'er trade/cultivation and its relation to trade, area politics, culture, etc. You might be more interested in the first couple of chapters, but the whole thing is both 1) gorgeous 2)scholarly and really well-researched.. not just hearsay 3) easy and enjoyable to read. Plus, you'll learn about pu'er's connections to local religion, the history of the Tubo Empire/Tibetan Autonomous Region/Akha/Yunnan/China trade tangled nut, horses, butter tea..

So it's not dry at all, but it gives you as much and more cool info yo might expect out of a textbook (as opposed to just being a pretty coffee table book with great pictures... which it also is).

It also has a great/intense bibliography which could point you to other useful English texts on pu'er and the general subject.

Some selected sources, in case you wanted to skip right to that:
Ahmed, S. A cup of diversity: Learning from the farmers of forest tea-gardens
Resurgence 250, 2008

Chen, J, Pei, S. Studies on the origin of tea cultivation
Acta Botanica Yunnanica 25,5, 2003

Huang, G. An Overview of Pu'er tea culture
Yunnan Min Zu Chu Ban She, Kunming, 2005

Long, S, Li, Y, Wang J. Traditional tea-garden systems in Xishuangbanna
In Biodiversity in Swidden Agrosystems in Xishuangbanna
Pei, S & Xu, J, editors. Yunnan Education Press, Kunming, 1997

Mair, V, Hoh, Erling. The true history of tea. Thames & Hudson (London), 2009

Purdue, PS. Is Pu-er in Zomia? Tea cultivation and the state in China
Yale University Agrarian Studies Colloqium, New Haven, 2008.

Toleno, R. A critical ecology of Akha tea cultivation in the Bulang mountains of China: The Case of Buljalpuxeevq. Thesis, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, 2006

Ton, L. Chinese tea: A cultural history and guide
China Intercontinental Press, 2005

Dec 9th, '11, 18:24
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Microshrimp » Dec 9th, '11, 18:24

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. And good idea about keeping an eye on the bibliographies. This will keep me busy for quite some time. :)


Dec 9th, '11, 18:29
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Spoonvonstup » Dec 9th, '11, 18:29

Microshrimp wrote:Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. And good idea about keeping an eye on the bibliographies. This will keep me busy for quite some time. :)

Definitely. Even if tea books at your local bookstores don't have the depth you want, their bibliographies will at least point you in the direction of their sources, whose bibliographies in turn will eventually lead to the kind of primary sources we're looking for.

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Dec 12th, '11, 23:29
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Abracadaver! » Dec 12th, '11, 23:29

Cloud's book is a good place to start:


I know that Tearoma has copies available.

Dec 22nd, '11, 10:54
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Ludwig-1954 » Dec 22nd, '11, 10:54

Gentlefolks, good afternoon

I have stumbled over a bilingual chinese/english translation of
Lu Yu's Cha Ching as well as its sequel by Lu TingCan, in two volumes.
The english translation is very readable (not at all your typical chinese-
english so often found in instruction manuals.
As for accuracy, I cannot judge, since I do not know chinese at all.

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Yanchan-V ... 334&sr=1-1

Dragon Tea House on ebay also seems to carry a stock.

The books are nicely printed, well bound and sold at a very reasonable
price, USD 50 for both tomes.
They form part of the series "Library of Chinese Classics", a huge bilingual
effort for english translations of chinese books, under subsidy of the
chinese government.
Oddly enough, the "classic of Tea" is not listed in their online catalogue.

Patrick B. Ludwig

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Dec 22nd, '11, 11:48
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by debunix » Dec 22nd, '11, 11:48

These look quite interesting. Being written so long ago, I'm very curious as to the types of tea or tea drinking they feature within--teas for drinking as powders, the precursor to matcha, or steeped teas?

Dec 23rd, '11, 08:58
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Re: Tea books (Pu-erh/Asian)

by Ludwig-1954 » Dec 23rd, '11, 08:58

Good afternoon, Mr. (?) Debunix

The Book by Lu Yu was written in the Song Dynasty, around 780 c.e.
His Tea Focus is thus on powdered tea. This can be seen in the chapter
on teaware. Lu Yu is however quite applicable to all kinds of tea, including steeped. Lu Yu focusses very strongly on water

Lu Tingcan was a Qing Dynasty scholar and touches many different tea
types. His 'Sequel to the Classic of Tea' is far larger than the small treatise
of Lu Yu but structured in a somilar manner.

By the way, have you read the 'Book of Tea' by Kakuzo Okakura? The book
was written at the end of the 19th century in English, as an effort to
bring japanese culture and aesthetics to the ameican public. More on
the philosophical side but probably the number two tea classic!
(available for free on projectgutenberg.com, pdf e-book).

Patrick B. Ludwig

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