4 World-Famous Chinese Green Teas moves between personal chronicle of Jason C. S. Chen, and a record of tea as it stands today.
Chen has motivations in both directions. His family has roots in one of the regions. Additionally, Chen's own tea company, C. C. Fine Tea. Jason's site and book attest to his company's ownership of (or partnership with) gardens in the areas he describes.
The book's content tips the scales toward more image than written word, considering many of the textual pages are duplicate in English and Chinese.
But what written content there is reveals technical information not easily found in other sources. For example, Chen records key data on dragon well (long jing) green tea production:
- annual output and acreage (ca. 2011)
- key village areas of production
- varietals associated with those village regions
- grades/classes of finished leaf
Visual record with captions also cover:
- Processing stages
- Scenic views and historic landmarks of the area
- Tasting and brewing
The creation and enjoyment of
1) Dragon Well,
2) Ping Shui Ri Zhu,
3) Bi Luo Chun and
4) Mao Feng is covered.
Even though the book is both useful and laden with aesthetic charm, the manner in which is organized felt less elegant. Try as I did, the text did not draw me into the scenes of the photos, and the did not always support the linear thoughts of the text.
It feels like a tea-traveler's photo album of a trip through tea regions with extensive, informative captions. Some of the more valuable captions I've read.