I was delighted to have the opportunity to review Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss’ book, The Story of Tea : A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. The term I would use to describe it is encyclopedic. The 417 pages are visually beautiful with stunning pictures and readable text. The final chapter is the icing on the cake, with fabulous recipes to delight everyone. This book will be enjoyed by the novice as well as the tea enthusiast. Each time I checked to see if they’d mentioned one aspect or another, there it was, in reasonable detail and considerable accuracy. They appear to have left no stone unturned.

One aspect that I think it especially valuable for novice tea drinkers is the wonderful visual and written descriptions of the different types of tea. They provide a picture of the dry leaf in addition to an image of the brewed tea in a white cup. Each type is given a half page providing a snap shot of the differences. Unless one had the pleasure of attending a formal tasting, they would never be able to observe the subtle and dramatic differences between the different types of tea. It’s easy to see the author’s passion and vast knowledge of tea and its multilayered cultural and historical significance. This is a must read, my friends.

[ Photo credit: post main image by Mightie SS at www.flickr.com ]