The fine art of preparing and drinking tea has become a hallmark of Chinese civilization, handed down through the ages in China by monks and martial artists, doctors and hermits, emperors and alchemists. In his latest book, Daniel Reid explores Chinese tea in its manifold varieties, its long and colorful historical development in China, and its refinement as a mainstay of Chinese culture.
"Daniel Reid has finally explained the mystery behind why I like tea so much." - Red Pine
Publisher: Singing Dragon (JKP) Nov 2011
Hardback, 240 pages
Photography by Christian Janzen
Daniel: "This is the best one in English so far
about Chinese Tea specifically, the author is a phD
China scholar in Taiwan and a genuine cha ren"
The Way of Tea: The Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking
by Lam Kam Chuen, Lam Kai Sin & Lam Tin Yu
The Way of Tea is a journey back in time to the origins of tea cultivation and Oriental tea ceremonies. It is also a book of advice, describing how to get full pleasure and benefit from tea today. The ways in which we store tealeaves, then prepare and serve this exquisite brew, influence tea's properties and affect its taste and aroma.
Master Lam Km Chuen and his wife Kai Sin offer expert guidance on the essentials of the tea serving art.
Separate chapters are devoted to:
The Tea Story — the origins of tea cultivation in China, and the spread of tea drinking and tea ceremonies from Asia to Europe, then later to America . . .
Cultivating Tea — the many varieties, which fall into general categories of green (non-fermented), oolong (semi-fermented), black/red (fermented), and white teas . . .
Preparing and Serving Tea — the importance of correct storage and water purity, and methods of preparation and serving ...
Healing Teas — discussion of health benefits of teas, supplemented with approximately 20 recipes that incorporate ginger, lychee, ginseng, dry orange peel, and other healthful ingredients. Modern science has come to recognize many health properties in tea—qualities that tea connoisseurs have known about for centuries.
Full-color photos throughout
Publisher: Gaia Books, London, 2002
ISBN: 1 85675 143 0
Review: Here is history, legend, and insight, as well as advice on selection and preparation, water and ceramics, distilled from Blofeld's twenty years' experience in China and his empathy with tea, and written in his usual informative and entertaining style. A modern classic of tea lore.
Excerpt: "Getting the fullest satisfaction from the tea art requires a special state of mind analogous to what Buddhists mean by awareness. This is achieved by attending to the responses of all six senses: hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing, touching and consciousness. Once it has become habitual, there is no need to bestow further thought on it.
Through the sense of hearing we enjoy the gentle crackle of the charcoal fire, the seething of the kettle which may variously resemble 'the music of the wind in the pines' or 'the gurgling of a mountain torrent'; or, as another poet puts it, 'the lapping of waves, twitter of birds, chirp of insects and the roaring of lions and tigers'. The pleasures of smelling and tasting teas are self evident: the eye is regaled by the steam clouds; by the shapes and colours of the accessories or the fascination of objects strange and rare; by the delicate green or amber of the tea; and by the charm of the surroundings. The sense of touch is gratified by pleasing textures, the consciousness by all these things together harmonized by the drinker's mood.
Publisher: Shambhala, Boston, USA
New Tea Lover's Treasury
by James Norwood Pratt
Review: Tea - a simple, healthful beverage, but one which will never taste the same to those who have read this book. Here is the whole true story of a miracle of plant that has become a treaure to the world as medicine, beverage, currency and communion - the wellspring of empires, industries and art.
This book is both a work of history and an incomporable guide to the teas of the world. It shows how history lives on in the teas we drink and reveals that to drink tea, whether we realize it or not, is to imbibe the spirit of Asia. Here is a passport to surprising delights from an amazing variety of teas and tea ways, ancient and modern.
As the author says, "No pleasure is simpler, no luxury cheaper, no consciousness-altering substance more benign."
Excerpt: "Teapots seem first to have been manufactured at Jingdezhen, China's porcelain center, circa 1426-1432. Stoneware teapots from the Yi-xing potteries were in production by 1500 and became the most expensive and desirable pottery for tea. They were developed for China's kung-fu tea ritual. Oolong tea devotees from South China have perfected this way to make unbelievably wondeful tea. The art, besides being a delight in itself, is also a good deal cheaper than other forms of therapy. Kung-fu means "skill and practice" or "time and trouble" or "patient effort". It refers not to the martial arts alone but to the human factor required to master any art. With a little pracice using Yi-xing ware to brew tea, your kung-fu will be a wonder to your friends and an abiding pleasure for yourself.
And your tea will be superb. The flavor is so intense and the tea is so concentrated it's sipped like brandy or liquer from tiny thimble sized cups. After six to ten cups drunk in succession, deliberately and appreciatively, the aftertaste may linger half an hour or more. The whole experience is like a miraculous evening at the theater, the kind that leaves you wondering how such suprising delight was ever invented."
Publisher: PTA, San Francisco, USA.