Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Three Years of Wandering in the Northern Provinces of China by Robert Fortune

Ever since I read Sara Rose's book, For All the Tea In China, I have been meaning to read the writings of Robert Fortune. I spotted this copy in the Kindle store on Amazon for $2.99 so I finally got around to downloading it. The first half of the book was mainly botany nerd filled descriptions of the fauna that he discovered in China. I still found it a decent, if somewhat dry read but not everyone will feel the same. At about the halfway point there was plenty of discussion on tea growing and processing. This book was written before Robert Fortune's infamous industrial espionage trip to China. It gives a good context for his relationship with the Chinese people and how he viewed them.

Fortune made it a point to explain how much adulterating occurred with exported teas. The idea of drinking tea coated in Prussian blue is beyond comprehension. I, for one, am very glad that this practice is no longer needed or accepted. The edition was riddled with typos as many older digital texts are. However, by the end of the book I found that these were no longer a hindrance as I had started to remember what each typo actually meant. Fortunes other published work, A Journey to the Tea Countries of China, is definitely on my wish list for future reading. I've added this book to my tea book list on Good Reads. Feel free to vote for your own favorite books!

You can find out more about this book here.