Building a Tea Library
What could possibly be the best accompaniment with a cup of tea than a good book. Of course along with that cup of tea one should be wearing comfy sweats and be consumed in silence -- I am talking "home alone silence." So it only seems natural that a tea person should have a thorough tea library; in fact, every tea person I know has an extensive tea library some of the material in hardcopy, some ebooks, and some as audio books. You name the device and I bet I could find a tea publication that utilizes that media.
With all the Tea publications available, how does one choose which books to add to their personal library? After all, there are books that address tea history as well as tea agriculture, processing, preparation, selection, culinary uses and let us not forget the occasional fictional character that enjoys a cuppa tea. As a student of the leaf, my approach was to first explore the authors available. My original selections were of authors I knew and respected for their knowledgeable and experience within the tea industry and authors known as the long-term (take notice I did not say "old") sages of the industry. Therefore, my first selection of books were written by Norwood Pratt, John Harney, Michael Harney, Jane Pettigrew, and Bruce Richardson. I have had the opportunity to meet all these fantastic people through the Specialty Tea Institute and attendances at World Tea Expos. Later as I got to know more people in the industry, I added Lisa Bolt Richardson, Linda Gaylard, Earlene Grey, Kevin Gascoyne, and others to my preferred authors list.
Next I will select a book that addresses a specific topic about tea. Reviewing my tea book selections, I find that I have books that address countries of origin, the terroirs of tea gardens, and detailed tea historical times. My most recent tea book purchases have been books on how to incorporate tea into culinary/beverage recipes. Tea can be used to create an marinade for meats, infusion for rice and vegetables, a rub for meats and fish, or as seasoning similar to using herbs just to mention a few of the culinary uses being written about by tea culinary enthusiasts. I would be amiss if I did not mention the trending use of tea as an ingredient to cocktails and, of course, there are books available on "how to" construct these cocktails. There is no limitation to the versatility of tea . . . Just let your imagination go!
Let us not forget the occasional fictional character that enjoys a splendid cuppa tea. My fictional tea library consists mostly of mysteries where the main character owns a tea room or shop, is a detective who enjoys tea, or where the magical calmness of tea enhances the hero or heroine's effectiveness to solve the pending mystery. Yes, I have definitely been known to buy and read a book just because the cover pictured a beautiful tea setting and even better yet if the tea setting included a woman, enjoying tea, wearing a chapeaux.
Utilizing multi-media search engines one can usually find a book on any tea topic, for any tea use, or by any author. Oh my, I almost forgot to mention the books that are available to record the teas tasted, tea rooms visited, and tea experiences shared. I must admit that I spend more time reading about the fictional character who enjoys a cuppa tea than I do about the countries of origin or terroirs but I am able to state that I do learn something from each book I read.
Here's to your next cuppa tea and learning experience through books,
The Tea And Hat Lady