Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to Make Tea by Brian Keating and Kim Long

I'm always excited when I hear about new tea books so I couldn't resist snapping this one up when I had an Amazon credit to use up. These days I mostly read on my Kindle but I sprung for the hardcover since it was only a bit more. The size is adorably portable and I love the sturdy and well made construction. I commute a lot by train and it's nice to be able to stick a book in my bag without having to worry about it falling apart. Even the paper was nicer than what I've seen lately!

At just 160 pages it was a fairly quick and easy read. What it lacked in photographs it made up for with darling line art drawings. The ones on the botany of the tea plant were particularly eye catching. They reminded me that I still need to get that botanical print tea tattoo that I've been procrastinating about. The biochemical breakdown of tea and the decaffeination process also got my tea nerd juices flowing. I also loved that they discussed the inaccuracy of teaspoon as a unit of measurement. The inclusion of gongfu brewing methods was also an exciting thing to see. I'm a firm believer that everyone should learn about gaiwans right from the start! The world of tea is infinitely massive. While it's impossible for one book to cover every possible topic, this one does a pretty good job of covering its bases.

Of course, no book is perfect. There's a few things that needled at me as I leafed through what would be otherwise be a very enjoyable read. The tea processing step chart completely leaves out both yellow tea and puerh. Puerh is then relegated to a single page and it repeats the myth that it is rare and "aged in darkness for decades". There is a chart on the shelf life of tea that stops at around five years which even contradicts that. There is a very similarly designed book called How to Make Coffee from the same publisher but by a different author. I don't know the authors but I couldn't help but feel that this was a tea book put together by coffee people. I could be wrong about that but it's the impression that I got.

You can find out more about this book here.