Agony of the Leaves

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Agony of the Leaves

Non-Fiction About Tea

If you're a tea drinker who wants to learn more about it, here are some non-fiction titles to get you started. Click here to go to the library's catalog and see more.

The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo (a new translation by Giancarlo Calza)
This is a classic of tea literature. Not a guide to teas nor an explanation of methods, this book introduces the Westerner to the Japanese Way of Tea. This new translation includes an essay on Kakuzo by the translator plus notes.

Tea Sommelier: A Step by Step Guide by Francois-Xavier Delmas and Mathias Minet: This illustrated volume is written by the owners of Le Palais du Thes in Paris, a tea shop. They started the Ecole du The in 1999, and the book shows the authors' depth of knowledge and ability to convey information in simple yet detailed terms. The chapters are arranged in small chunks so you can spend as much or as little time as you wish. The authors cover everything -- from Selecting and Preparing Tea to Tasting Tea to an overview of Tea Plantations around the world to how to become a Tea Sommelier. Despite my many years of tea tasting in formal settings, I learned many new things about where tea comes from and how to prepare it, including a great way to make cold-brewed green tea. Recipes included.

The Tea Book: All Things Tea by Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby
Cheadle and Kilby are the founders of teapig, a UK-based tea company. Their book takes you around the world and introduces you to who drinks how much tea where, where your tea comes from and how it's grown and processed, and so much more, plus recipes.

The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage From Its Violent History by Becca Stevens  
Stevens is the founder of Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop Cafe in Tennessee, which she began as a refuge for women survivors of abuse and other forms of trauma. In this book, she introduces us to the world of fair-trade (not really) and the very real struggles of those who work on tea plantations. The book is a meditation on tea that will make you think about the people behind the tea in your cup and help you to make better choices about the teas you buy.

A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time by Katrina Avila Munichiello
This "anthology of readings for tea lovers old and new" includes essays, poems, and more writings on and about tea. You'll find contributions from tea experts Jane Pettigrew and Roy Fong, authors Louisa May Alcott and Rudyard Kipling, and many more. 

Jane Pettigrew's A World of Tea by Jane Pettigrew
Jane Pettigrew takes the reader on a trip to over 60 tea producing regions. Pettigrew has written many tea-themed books.

Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide by Jessica Flint and Anna Kavaliunas
Learn all about matcha, then cook with it! Or maybe make a cocktail or smoothie.

Happiness is a Red Teapot edited by Anouska Jones 
This slim volume would make a lovely companion to a pot of tea on a rainy day. Filled with inspiring quotations and photos from around the world, you'll fall into a contemplative state of mind and perhaps feel inspired. As Henry James said, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." 

Meet Your Matcha by Joanna Farrow
This book contains over 50 recipes so that you can have matcha throughout the day (and be pretty hyped-up by the end -- that's a caffeine warning!). 

In a recent issue of The Economist magazine, there's a short article entitled "How Tea Gets Its Flavour", in which the author states that "people drink more than 2 bn (billion!) cups a day." You can learn the answer to this question by visiting, entering your library card number, then searching for The Economist, or click here to jump to it.