Thanks to my (amazing, wonderful, I seriously can't tell you how happy I am here) job, I've had the chance to taste a lot of tea I never would have before and my tea porn collection continues to grow, especially in the form of books. As a self-proclaimed bibliophile (I have a huge list of every book I've ever had to sell or get rid of in moves so I can repurchase them all someday), when I can rationalize a purchase because it makes sense for work, I'm a happy clam.
But the book I'm talking about today -- The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard -- is one that my awesome boss sent me. But I am so in love with it that I bought another copy to actually give away here. Why?
The tea industry in the U.S. is growing at an insane rate: $1.8 billion in 1990, $10.84 billion in 2014, and predicted to more than quadruple by 2020. But most of the tea consumed in the U.S. is black tea and it's iced. The funny thing about this is that traditionally, Americans were heavy green tea drinkers up until World War II. Then things changed and as the iced tea industry grew, American tea tastes continued to fall in that category.
Luckily, with books like The Tea Book, pure, unflavored teas are getting the attention they deserve. With five categories of leaves from the camellia sinuses plant -- black, white, oolong, yellow, green, and pu-erh -- there is an abundance of opportunities to experience tea (without sprinkles, fruit, and herbs if you don't mind me).
The great thing about this book, though, is that it takes you from the past to the present, around the world, into the teahouses, tea cultures, and tea farms so you, the reader, can really start to understand what tea is, why it's the second-most consumed beverage in the world after only water, and how it has evolved into an industry of blends, herbal teas (tisanes), and more.
Now, if you know me well enough, you know that I am, and have always been, first and foremost, a coffee drinker. The truth is that my love of coffee is still potent, but my love of tea is taking over (it's all thanks to a 2007 Aged Oolong, believe it or not). So both as an individual and as a representative of what I foresee being the most revolutionary tea company this side of the industrial revolution, I'm stoked to give away The Tea Book.
Whether you drink tea or not, this book will blow you away. The visuals are stunning (it's a DK Book, which you might know from their amazing educational books and children's books), the history is quirky and fascinating, and it's just a beautiful conversation piece.