I've been drinking tea as long as I remember. Some of my fondest memories are having tea parties with my grandmothers when I was young. We used a tiny china tea set (that I still have) and very milky tea! I'm still a tea lover and drinker to this day.
DK Canada has a great Food and Drink Boutique with a selection of food and beverage titles for the foodie in your life. One of their newest titles - The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard - definitely caught my eye!
Gaylard is a tea sommelier - " the tea sommelier has the challenging task of convincing tea drinkers that there is much more to tea than a mug and a tea bag. Beyond the bag there is mystery, history, travel, industry, culture and ceremony: a whole new world to explore."
I have tried some loose teas, but I do generally use the same brand of bag and a mug, so I was up for learning something new and venturing beyond my usual fare.
Gaylard's book starts literally from the ground up, detailing the anatomy of a tea plant, the growth and harvest. (From seed to plant ready for plucking can take 5 to 7 years) I truly had never thought to consider the process of plant to cup before - up to nine processes! I drink quite a bit of tea - and am happy to report there are quite a few health benefits to tea, including stress relief and higher bone density. Who knew? Herbal teas have long been known to have medicinal properties. Gaylard has included a 'wheel of wellness' - matching an ailment (headache, cough etc) along with a tea that might help.
I loved this fact - tea bags were an accidental invention. In 1908 a tea merchant sent his clients samples in a silk drawstring bag. They clients brewed the tea in the bags instead of removing the leaves. And tea bags were born! I've discovered while travelling in the US to say 'hot tea' - which is sometimes met with puzzled looks. This stat explains those looks - "80% of tea consumed in the United States is in the form of iced tea."
Brewing and infusing techniques, including equipment such as infusers, water temp, type of water, infusion time and measured amounts to use are covered in meticulous detail, accompanied by charts, coloured pictures and drawings.
Just as tea with my grandmother was an occasion, so is it across many cultures. Gaylard explore ceremonies and traditions in numerous countries. (The British afternoon tea was familiar and a favourite)
A large chapter on tea recipes was an unexpected bonus! There are cold, hot and alcoholic tea recipes, using all types of tea. How about making your own bubble tea?
The Tea Book is a complete, comprehensive guide to the world of tea from start to finish - seed to sipping. Gaylard knows her tea - and I now know a lot more. And I think I'm ready to supplement my bag and mug with some loose tea! The Tea Book is another great reference book from DK - filled with great clear, concise information, complemented by colour photos and drawings. Here's a peek inside The Tea Book.
"Linda Gaylard is the author of The Tea Book. Linda is also a Certified Tea Sommelier located in Toronto, Canada. She graduated from a comprehensive program of study developed by George Brown College in conjunction with The Tea Association of Canada. During her training, Linda experienced more than 350 hours of focused tastings and workshops as well as training in tea and food pairing, social history of tea and tea garden management.
Prior to her tea studies, Linda achieved renown as a wardrobe stylist and influencer within the fashion world. Her experience provides a unique perspective for readers who are seeking a diverse approach to tea appreciation." You can keep up with Linda Gaylard on her website and well as on Twitter.