As the world's most popular beverage, tea has fascinated us, awakened us, motivated us, and calmed us for well over two thousand years.
A History of Tea tells the compelling story of the rise of tea in Asia and its eventual spread to the West and beyond. From the Chinese tea houses of the ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the Japanese tea ceremonies developed by Zen Buddhist monks, and the current social issues faced by tea growers in India and Sri Lanka—this fascinating book explores the complex history of this universal drink.
This in-depth look illuminates the industries and traditions that have developed as tea spread throughout the world and it explains how tea is transformed into the many varieties that people drink each day. It also features a quick reference guide on subjects such as tea types, proper terminology and brewing.
Whatever your cup of tea—green, black, white, oolong, chai, Japanese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, American or British—every tea aficionado will enjoy reading A History of Tea to learn more about their favorite beverage.
In this stimulating history, gardening and crafts writer Martin follows tea from its medicinal origins in fourth-century China through its spread across the globe. Martin begins with a fact: all brews black, white, and green come from one plant species, Camellia sinensis. Distinct styles, such as matcha and Darjeeling, develop during processing, while so-called herbal teas derive from other plants. The author explains tea's early use as a meditation aid for Buddhist monks, tracks its popularization during China's T'ang Dynasty, and delightfully details the Japanese tea ceremony. "The polar opposite of the battlefield," teahouses in 14th-century Japan were where drinkers escaped conflict. Yet, when Dutch and British trading companies introduced tea to Europe in 1606, it sparked centuries of exploitation, and Martin reveals how Britain traded India-grown opium for the high-society drink from China. She guides today's drinkers to fair-traded brands that protect workers and includes a tasting vocabulary (such as burnt, earthy, or malty), a list of quality blends, and a guide to brewing the perfect cup. This is an informative plunge into tea's history. Photos and illus.