2018 Tea Book Roundup

In this article, I cover 6 tea books that came out since our last roundup in late 2017. Overall, it was a strong year for quality tea books and we’re continually seeing authors raising the bar and introducing new concepts and information to our industry. This is key, as there are no doubt a number of books each year that are just re-hashing the same information we’ve read in other books. What’s your favorite addition to the tea library this year?

The Life of Tea: A Journey to the World’s Finest Teas by Michael Freeman and Timothy d’Offay

This beautiful book covers tea growing, production and culture and is filled with beautiful photographs. My favorite part of this book is how they explore the many “tea towns” of Asia’s tea mountains. Rarely does a book do such a great job capturing the tea culture inherent in the growing regions across Asia. I highly reccomend this book.

A Little Tea Book: All the Essentials from Leaf to Cup by Sebastian Beckwith and Caroline Paul

This really is a “little” book on tea, and it includes a “little” bit about a lot of topics. The best part about this book are Wendy MacNaughton’s beautiful illustrations. This is a great, well-researched overview book for those just getting into tea that don’t want to go too deep. Beckwith and Paul cover classification and taxonomy very concisely and lay a great foundation of tea knowledge down for the reader.

Tea Sommelier: A Step-by-Step Guide by François-Xavier Delmas and Mathias Minet

This book is truly a shining star of 2018. Each page is laid out like an infographic, making the content easy to digest. I don’t think a single concept spans more than 2 pages and the heavy use of imagery breaks down otherwise elusive concepts. There are definitely some takeaways in this book, even for the seasoned tea professional, making it a great addition to your tea bookshelf. I enjoyed the “Measuring Tea” content on page 18 (those ratios!) and the harvest calendar on page 105.

 

Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea: Discovering Producing Regions and their Teas by Jane Pettigrew

In this book, Pettigrew sets out to catalog the world’s tea producing regions, an ambitious task indeed. The first 56 pages cover origin, chemical composition of tea leaves, processing and preparation. From here, a section on each tea producing content outlines production regions within. This is where the book loses a bit of relevance, as Pettigrew lends credence to fledgling tea producing operations some as small as several hundred plants. In the vast world of tea, it is easy to see these as inconsequential. Nevertheless, it is an interesting catalogue of growing operations large and small.

Happiness is a Red Teapot by Anouska Jones (editor)

This book is comprised of tea quotes and somewhat whimsical tea images. There is no content aside from this. I’m not sure it serves a purpose other than to adorn a coffee table. I’d skip it if your goal is to learn more about tea.

Japanese Tea: A Comprehensive Guide by Simona Zavadckyte

This is perhaps the most comprehensive English launguage guide to all aspects of Japanese tea that I’ve encountered. Zavadckyte presents a well-cited overview to tea production, tea classification, and tea history all from the Japanese viewpoint. Highly recommended if you are a fan of Japanese teas. This book was released late in 2017, after we published our 2017 Tea Book Guide, hence we are including it here in our 2018 guide.

Be sure to check out the 2017 Tea Book Roundup, the 2016 Tea Book Roundup, and the 2015 Tea Book Roundup.

2018-12-11T13:06:08+00:00

About the Author:

Tony has been studying tea for over ten years and has traveled to many tea producing regions throughout Asia. His book, "Tea: A User's Guide" is available now.

One Comment

  1. Tee January 2, 2019 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Thanks for that roundup!
    My favorite book of those was “Japanese Tea” by Simona Zavadckyte, but i guess that is because i’m a little obsessed with japanese tea culture.

    Wish you all the best for 2019!

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