The Story of Tea: A Cultural History & Drinking Guide


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By: Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss


Published by:
Berkeley, CA / Toronto, Canada

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 2008 Finalist IACP Cookbook Awards

 2008 Finalist James Beard Foundation Book Award

 2008 Best Tea Book Gourmand Awards



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A beautiful and authoritative book, The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide provides a sweeping tour through the history, art, and lore of tea, examining every aspect of tea production and consumption. The book features a connoisseur’s guide to tea; an encyclopedia of tea varietals; guidelines for selecting, storing and steeping tea; research on the healthful benefits of drinking tea; information about organic production; and ten unique recipes.



“An engaging historical and cultural study, this quide is geared toward both novice and consummate consumers intrigued by the world’s 2,000-year-old tea habit.”
– Publishers Weekly

“An absolutely exhaustive yet readable study, the Heiss’s Story of Tea is at once the best and only book you’ll ever need on the subject.”
– Michael Rogers, Library Journal Xpress.

“A comprehensive, lavishly illustrated guide to tea history, lore, cultivation and appreciation.”
– The New York Times, October 2007

“For more than seventy-five years, William H. Ukers’s All About Tea has generally been considered the bible of the tea industry—that is, up until now. THE STORY OF TEA is a sweeping treatise that will serve as required reading for generations of tea professionals and consumers seeking to expand their knowledge.”
– Joseph P Simrany, President of The Tea Association of the USA

“THE STORY OF TEA is an extraordinary volume, a compellingly good read with stunning photography. As a tea enthusiast wanting to share my fervor with others, I am especially grateful for the glossary of lyrical and evocative yet authoritative terminology. Thank you, Mary Lou and Robert, for creating such a comprehensive and delightful book.”
– Elizabeth Andoh, Author of Washoku: Recipes from a Japanese Home Kitchen

“Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss take on tea in all of its multilayered complexity. Encompassing history and modernity, fact and lore, they have laid out as complete a book on the tea plant and beverage as has been published in many years.
The firsthand experiences shared in this work underpin their obvious love for all things tea, all around the world.”

– Eliot Jordon, Director of Tea for Peet’s Coffee and Tea

From the moment I first laid eyes on the manuscript of “The Story of Tea” by Mary Lou and Bob Heiss, I knew it was extraordinary. No other book, to my knowledge, has contained as much fascinating and detailed information with chapters titled “The History of Tea”, “Life of a Tea Bush”, “Journeying Along the Tea Trail”, “An Encyclopedia of Tea“ and” Brewing the Perfect Cup”. The book is now in stores and available via the internet. Even through their writing, the Heiss’ communicate their enthusiasm and passion.
– Nina Simonds, Author of Spices of Life

“Here is the first truly comprehensive cultural history of tea, from its cultivation and manufacture to the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of its drinking—all conveyed with deep knowledge and a passion that captures the romance of this extraordinary leaf. THE STORY OF TEA belongs on every library shelf and kitchen counter.”
– Darra Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture