If you’ve never had the opportunity to read The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide, by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss, you’d be advised to take a look at this entertaining and informative volume. Check out this review of the book.

If you’ve already tackled The Story of Tea, or if you’re just looking for a great guide to the fundamentals of tea and tea drinking, then be sure to consult The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook, by the same authors. Heiss and Heiss have been in the premium tea business for more than three decades and they bring their experience to bear in this very practical guide.

The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook blends this practical knowledge with details on the ins and outs of buying, brewing, and sampling each of the six classes of tea – green, yellow, white, black, oolong and pu-erh. The book kicks off with an introduction, which takes a compressed look at some of the more in-depth material the authors have covered elsewhere.

Chapter One provides the reader with a practical guide to purchasing tea, which includes specifics on the various ways to evaluate tea as well as what the difference is between such types as single-estate and blended teas. Of course, you can buy the best tea the market has to offer and it won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t know how to prepare it properly. All of the many variables that go into bringing out the flavor of your tea are covered in Chapter Two – Steeping The Perfect Cup.

From here, it’s on to the bulk of the book, a chapter devoted to each of the six main categories of tea. While great for novice and intermediate tea drinkers and students, even more advanced tea lovers are likely to find some new tidbits of information here. Top it off with a chapter on tea storage and you’ve got what the publisher accurately refers to as a “concise and authoritative guide to the world of fine tea.”

Don’t forget to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks.

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