Thursday, February 21, 2008

Book Review - Tea

This time I decided to read Tea by Christine Dattner with photographs by Sophie Boussahba. This book is actually two books packaged together, The History of Tea and The Taste of Tea. Both of these books are rather short in length, but they are packaged beautifully. The two books come inside of a larger book style cover which is tied closed with a ribbon. This outer cover opens like a book to show the two books inside of it. The style makes this book perfect for a coffee er.. tea table.

The History of Tea is the standard introduction to tea book, but instead of the normal rhetoric about the origins of tea and what not, this is more of a survey of tea traditions in assorted locations with brief little blurbs about each one. It seems to be focusing on interesting tidbits and facts about tea and locations than try to convey the whole picture. Considering how short this book is, this is a very smart approach. But the main reason to look through this book are the photographs. They are absolutely amazing. Most of the pictures are simple yet absolutely gorgeous. I would have bought this book purely for the illustrations.

The second book, The Taste of Tea, is again the fairly standard encyclopedia of different forms of tea. And like all tea encyclopedias it does not show nor does it really attempt to show all of the different forms of tea. One interesting point though is that it shows different blends that the author had created at their tea shop. The illustrations are nice, but nowhere near the level of the History of Tea.

Combined these two books make an excellent book to have on the tea table. Not exactly material for a long read with a nice cup of tea, but a nice quick read and way to show the more interesting and gorgeous points of tea out to a friend.

Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: This book makes a wonderful addition to a tea table, but could be more in depth like many coffee table books are. It is a very simple and quick intro to tea for newcomers though. I liked this book a lot.

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