The Story Of Tea

The Story Of Tea

A Cultural History And Drinking Guide

Book - 2007
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Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed Press, c2007.
ISBN: 9781580087452
Characteristics: xiii, 417 p. : col. ill., col. map ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Heiss, Robert J.

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Oct 31, 2016

This book generally has a lot of good information, however I do tend to agree with krdavis255 on many of his/her points that were mentioned. There definitely were full paragraphs (or more) that were repeated in a couple of places. The writing quality was so-so, and the formatting and flow was irritating. I also agree that the best chapters were on Tea Customs and Culture and the Encyclopedia of Tea.

The history section was weak. But again, maybe this was due to the poor organization of information. It's unfortunate that the authors didn't use a better editor.

Feb 22, 2015

This was an incredibly disappointing book. First, it was full of typos, tortuously crafted sentences, and formatting errors. It had some of the worst editing that I have encountered in a published book. The book read like it was written by a committee: the chapters did not flow into each other; lots of information was needlessly repeated, yet it was never very well explained; and the book did not seem to be a coherent whole. I don't feel any more informed about tea than before I opened this book.

The best chapter was Chapter 7, "Tea Customs and Culture." The pictures in this chapter were good (lots of pretty tea cups and tea pots!) and the text was the most readable section of the whole book. Chapter 5 ("An Encyclopedia of Tea") was also good — great pictures of the different types of tea (brewed and in leaf-form) with easily readable descriptions (and practical brewing instructions to boot).

The rest of the book was a mess. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 presented so much of the same information on the different types of tea and methods of tea manufacture that I nearly fell asleep. At the same time, this information was presented in a poorly organized and terribly confusing fashion. The style was rambling, like a stream of consciousness explanation — fine for a casual chat with a knowledgeable tea merchant, but terrible for a book. Concepts and terms of art were introduced without a thorough explanation (and the glossary at the end of the book was not extremely helpful. For one, it is partly organized by meaning of the terms. Who organizes a glossary by meaning? If I knew the meaning of a word, I would not have to consult the glossary!). There were also many places in these chapters that read like a tea catalog or infomercial, which was grating.

This book should have just been the Encyclopedia of Tea chapter (expanded with more types of tea), a better written chapter of how different types of tea get made, and the "Tea Customs and Culture" chapter, which could be combined with the history of tea chapter that starts the book. But unfortunately, that's not what this book is. If I made a cup of tea as disagreeable as this book, I would pour it out.

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