The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea (The Penguin Press) by Michael Harney
Master tea-blender Michael Harney covers 56 pure teas (as opposed to blends), that he believes every serious tea-lover ought to know and have tasted. From the delicate white teas of China to the strong (pungent to some) black teas of Darjeeling , Harney leads with descriptive and very helpful tasting notes. His chapter on how to taste teas and what to look for is extremely helpful and shouldn't be missed.
The Tea Drinker's Handbook (Abbeville Press) by François-Xavier Delmas, Mathias Minet, and Christine Barbaste
François-Xavier Delmas, founder of Le Palais de Thés, and Mathias Minet, taster for Le Palais de Thés, have written about what they consider to be the 50 best teas in the world, all pure teas from what I can tell. I especially appreciate the photos of each of the loose teas. The visual aspect of the entire book makes this book so valuable in my opinion. As for the chapter I find most interesting, it is the one about the equipment and the techniques needed for tea tasting, and the differences between the Western and Chinese methods. There are quick overviews with accompanying photos for two Chinese, one British, and one Japanese brewing/tasting methods.
The Tea Deck: 50 Ways to Prepare, Serve, and Enjoy (Chronicle Books) by Sara Perry.
With my recent obsession with recipe card decks, I've come across The Tea Deck. While not as comprehensive as the other two guides, what this card deck has in its favor are some recipes that make use of teas, as well as food-tea pairings. There are informational cards for matcha, Assam , Formosa oolong, and the like, but the recipes for treats (such as shortbread, scones, and muffins) are paired with teas which add a whole new dimension to the idea of tasting and drinking tea. An added bonus: "recipe" for eye compresses using a tea blend!
Recipes to try:
- Green Chai Spa Tea Blend
- Green Tea Margarita
- Teatime Perfect Popovers
- Fresh Figs with Bacon and Goat Cheese
By Esther Sung
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