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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tea Enthusiast's Handbook
A very useful primer on the world of tea, principally China and Taiwan, although Sri Lanka, India and other countries are covered too. This handbook clearly explains the classes of tea and the technical aspects of the manufacture of each tea class. It also showcases examples of really good tea, which I used to start my own education of tea. I found this little book very...
Published on 22 April 2011 by flyfishertc

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg
I searched for an English-language book to learn more about tea, and this seems to be one of the most popular right now. It is more consistent than Wikipedia, and reading it is more informative than scouring assorted websites, but not by enough. I am left disappointed.

On the good side, this book has lots of information that is tricky to find elsewhere. It...
Published 22 months ago by OTT


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg, 8 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas (Paperback)
I searched for an English-language book to learn more about tea, and this seems to be one of the most popular right now. It is more consistent than Wikipedia, and reading it is more informative than scouring assorted websites, but not by enough. I am left disappointed.

On the good side, this book has lots of information that is tricky to find elsewhere. It also appears technically sound. The photographs and illustrations are well done and add a great deal to the appeal of the book, while also providing useful background.

On the bad side, the book reads like the ramblings of a new convert. It is repetitive, there are many overly vague references to the fame of various teas, and the tasting notes are ridiculously unspecific. The writing is uneven and often lacks substance. Finally, the title is misleading.

The book only briefly discusses technical issues. This is perhaps understandable given the apparent lack of technical information about tea available in English. However, the book does not compensate by delving into the myths and marketing in significant detail. Nor does it go into much detail about the vast variety of different teas, about which the authors do seem to know quite a lot: this cornucopia is simply hinted at. With such a rich history, and a large variety of teas to write about, it should have been straightforward to construct a story about the when and why, or to provide more details about the what, even in the absence of facts about the how. The result is an enthusiastic but low-content volume.

Most seriously, I found the title misleading. The book only covers a small list of teas, perhaps chosen to be representative of the main styles or the range of interests of the authors. On page 63 it is mentioned that there are believed to be nearly 10,000 distinct green teas from China, but no attempt is made to provide an overview of this variety. There is not even an explanation of the Ten Famous Teas, even though this list is mentioned several times (there is no fixed list but it does tend to include Long Jing/Lung Ching and a few other teas). Several teas are also mentioned in passing as points of comparison in tasting notes, which is quite frustrating.

Perhaps I am biased in comparing this to a different field, but the high standard of wine and spirits writing shows that it is possible to write about a complex beverage while simultaneously being informative and entertaining. I do hope someone sits down and takes the effort to write a classic tome about tea along the lines of Hugh Johnson's The World Atlas of Wine, and that others then continue on to the heights of Tom Stevenson's The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia or Jancis Robinson's The Oxford Companion to Wine.

Overall, a qualified recommendation.

Edit: in the meanwhile I have found that both The Tea Drinker's Handbook and Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties do a better job in nearly every way, and I do not hesitate to recommend either (or both) over this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tea Enthusiast's Handbook, 22 April 2011
This review is from: The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas (Paperback)
A very useful primer on the world of tea, principally China and Taiwan, although Sri Lanka, India and other countries are covered too. This handbook clearly explains the classes of tea and the technical aspects of the manufacture of each tea class. It also showcases examples of really good tea, which I used to start my own education of tea. I found this little book very useful.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and seems very comprehensive, 30 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas (Paperback)
A very in-depth guide to the main types of tea, and also giving a considered opinion on the best of the world's teas, it is fascinating reading, and enables the reader to start to explore the options, where tea is not just something which comes in teabags. It also covers methods of steeping different teas, and how to get the best of the tea you invest in. For the price, this is a great book of knowledge too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and very informative, 22 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas (Paperback)
This little book has been an education for me and enabled me to enjoy tea in a much more profound way. For example I didn't realise water temperature and steeping time had such an effect on tea - I'd wondered why the green tea I brewed was so bitter - now I know how to brew it it tastes fragrant and sweet! I've also experimented with different types of tea which has enriched my taste experience!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas (Paperback)
I have yet to send off this item to the recipient so I have nothing to report about this item as yet.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know, 14 Feb 2013
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Excellent guide to a fascinating subject , great care has been taken in this in-depth look at tea and more importantly , how to drink them
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The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas
The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas by Robert J. Heiss (Paperback - 30 Mar 2010)
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