Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Round Up: December 4th - December 10th

Tea Gift Guide: What to Get the Tea Lovers on Your List This Christmas
+Lu Ann Pannunzio's gift guide definitely added a few things to my wishlist. I definitely recommend picking up her new book while you're taking a look!

The Tea Happiness 2016 Gift Guide
+sara shacket is a tea friend who has great taste, If my stocking was filled with everything on her list, especially the teaware, and I'd be a very happy.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016
Tea Kitchen's list is full of stuff that's great for a tea lover on your list. The Old Havana Teapot from Anthropologie definitely caught my eye.

2016 Gifts for Tea Lovers
+Bonnie Eng's gift list reflects the beautiful aesthetic that her blog is known for. The Maccha Bar Chocolates and Mason Jar Tea Time are definitely things I'll keep in mind for tea friends.

Effie's Tea Offerings
Ok, so all of the other posts in this round up are gift guides. I couldn't not tell you guys about this post from +Geoffrey Norman. It's sort of about Christmas because it features a mutual friend of ours, Effie, who loves the holiday more than anyone else I know.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The World Atlas of Tea: From the Leaf to the Cup, the World's Teas Explored and Enjoyed by Krisi Smith

This book arrived in my mailbox just in time for a long road trip to a wedding in upstate NY. That worked out for the best because although it isn't exactly a coffee table book, it's a little too large to carry with me on my commute.

The first thing that caught my eye was the large, beautiful photographs. Many of them spanned more than one page. The chapters follow what seems to have become the typical tea book formula: how tea is made, how to brew it, and a description of various teas from around the world. The small guide to growing your own tea was an unexpected but welcome addition. Important topics such as sustainability and organics were addressed in an easy to understand way without being too doom and gloom about them. I also really enjoyed the nicely illustrated chart of tea processing. Smith's writing style is conversational and easy to read without dumbing down the content.

As an obsessively read tea nerd, I do have to mention a few things in the book that rubbed me the wrong way. Let me preface this by saying that I have great respect for anyone who successfully takes on the challenge of writing a book.

In the list of tea varieties, it says that the best oolong teas are from Taiwan. I love my Dong Ding just as much as the next person but I hardly think that it's fair to dismiss the oolongs that are produced in other countries as inferior. Teas are not better than each other, they're just different.

In the short section on tea history, there are several myths which have largely been proven false. Thomas Sullivan did not invent the tea bag and Anna Russel did not create the ritual of afternoon tea. To be fair, these are repeated in nearly every book that I've read on tea. The section on Japanese teas also states that matcha became popular with the Samurai and Buddhist monks drank it because of its high antioxidant levels.

Please, don't take my nitpicking as overly negative. I can't help doing that sometimes (as anyone who was my partner on peer reviews for papers in school will tell you). I actually did enjoy the book and would recommend it for those who enjoy building a library of tea reads. Complete newbies might want to start off with something a bit more in depth though.

I was really glad to see that there were no food recipes included. Publishers seem to insist on this being added to the end of every tea book. Maybe they are finally beginning to understand that there are a lot of people who enjoy tea for its own sake.

Have you read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!

A review copy of this book was provided by Firefly Books.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Round Up: November 27th - December 3rd

Google Is a Lazy Co-Author
+Robert Godden isn't one to sugarcoat his feelings, especially when it comes to something related to tea. In this week's blog post he highlights the myths that are perpetually repeated in tea books. This is one of my biggest pet peeves so we're definitely in agreement here.

5 of the Best Chai Brands You Should Try 
Tis' the season for chai. +Lu Ann Pannunzio put together a great list of some of her favorites. I never got around to trying the chai from Blue Hour Tea at World Tea Expo earlier this year and now I am definitely regretting it.

Helping an Aged Oolong Touch Up his Stinky Navel
I recently started following Funky Leaves, a new-ish blog written by an apprentice at Floating Leaves Tea. I have an electric tea roaster but for those who don't the method he shows for refreshing old tea could definitely come in handy.

The Tea Squirrel's Holiday Gift Guide for Tea Lovers - The San Francisco Edition
+Anna Mariani highlighted some really fantastic local companies, making a gift basket that would be a tea lover's dream. I would definitely be snatching all of these items up if I lived on the west coast.

Things You Should Know About Matcha
+Eleonora made some important points about the poor quality matcha that is available to most tea drinkers. She also puts the spotlight on Nohohon Tea Room, my go to place for matcha bubble tea when I'm near St. Mark's Place in Manhattan.