Tales of the Tea Trade is another one of those books that I had meaning to read for a while. When it came up as a selection for TeaBookClub I was finally able to make that happen. Taking the time to read has been challenging while I am temporarily working from home. Participating in a tea centric book club has really kept me motivated to keep up with my ever-growing TBR pile.
Michelle and Rob Comins are the co-founders of Comins Tea, a family-run direct-trade tea merchant. I haven’t personally tried their teas yet but I have heard really great things. Michelle and Rob kindly took the time to join one of our book club meetings. Their passion for tea was just as present in person through a video chat as it was through the pages of their book.
What Is It About?
Tales of the Tea Trade is a combination of a few different kinds of tea books. It has the usual intro to tea sections that you might expect as well as first-hand sourcing stories and interviews with tea producers. I couldn’t help but soak it all up like a sponge. From meeting Rajah Barnergee on Maikabari Estate to chance encounters in Taiwan and South Korea, they take readers on a journey around the world. This is the side of the tea industry that the average consumer only gets to see a small part of.
I am a book worm at heart so I do have to mention just how beautiful this book is. Although not very expensive, it has a sturdy hardcover with well-bound pages. The photography peppered throughout is simply stunning. My one complaint is that the text is a bit small but that might come down to personal preference.
Would I Recommend It?
I would recommend this book for anyone who interested in tea, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned drinker. One of my favorite things about tea is that there is always something new to learn. I have been drinking and writing about tea for over a decade but this book still had plenty of little tidbits to surprise and delight. Reading this book also made me really want to visit their teahouses in Bath and Sturminster Newton!
Tales of the Tea Trade reminded a bit of Infused by Henrietta Lovell. They both make sharing the stories of their producers a priority. That being said, their tone and approach are different enough to make both books well worth the read. I’m a big fan of this more narrative style of tea writing and I hope that we see more of that in the future.
This book can be purchased directly through Comins Tea or through your favorite bookseller.
Have you read Tales of the Tea Trade? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!