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7 books for the chai nerd

For two years I bounced back and forth between Bengaluru and Pondicherry, enjoying pleasant weather all year round. Until summer arrived last month and both cities became unrelentingly hot. A while later I decided the only way to get through it was to calm down and wait for it to be over. The tea of ​​choice this season is the cold brew (made simply by refrigerating a large glass or jug ​​of tea leaves and water for six hours or more; I prefer white tea and fruit tea blends) and to keep me company, I was looking for some summer tea. reading. I think there is some synchronicity at play as I have come across more than one tea book lately. What I have here is a reading list if you are looking for something that can help you build a better understanding of the world of tea.

For two years I bounced back and forth between Bengaluru and Pondicherry, enjoying pleasant weather all year round. Until summer arrived last month and both cities became unrelentingly hot. A while later I decided the only way to get through it was to calm down and wait for it to be over. The tea of ​​choice this season is the cold brew (made simply by refrigerating a large glass or jug ​​of tea leaves and water for six hours or more; I prefer white tea and fruit tea blends) and to keep me company, I was looking for some summer tea. reading. I think there is some synchronicity at play as I have come across more than one tea book lately. What I have here is a reading list if you are looking for something that can help you build a better understanding of the world of tea.

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My current reading is World Atlas of Tea (2016) by Krisi Smith. It’s a great book to get acquainted with the drink and its origins. What I like are the practical tips on how to blend, brew and even grow tea at home.

The philosophy of tea (2020) by Tony Gebely is part of the “Philosophy of…” series from The British Library including wine, gin, coffee and cheese. The Philosophy of tea is his second book on tea and makes for a fascinating and informative read about the history, varieties and cultures of tea around the world.

If the social and cultural history of tea is interesting, The Story of Tea: A Guide to Cultural History and Drinking (2007) by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss is a good choice. It documents the story of tea as told by tea merchants who travel extensively to purchase tea. A must-have indeed A social history of tea (2015) by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson. Pettigrew is a British writer, while Richardson is at the forefront of the American tea movement. This collaboration between two strong figures from the Western tea world is a fantastic insight into the influence of tea on the culture and society of their country.

If you’re looking for a bit more technical detail, you’ll enjoy it Tea: from a nerd’s perspective (2019) by Virginia Utermolen Lovelace. Lovelace looks at tea through the lens of science, from how we taste and smell tea to how water, heat and even the pots affect it.

A recent addition to the tea bibliography is Spill the tea (2019) by William Dietz, a short but easy-to-read book on blended and flavored teas. Much of what we consume falls into this category and Dietz advocates for it while educating tea drinkers about it.

An all time favorite Infused – Adventures in tea (2019) by Henrietta Lowell, who runs the British Rare Tea Company. Interestingly enough, there are so many tea books written by Western tea traders. For many of them, traveling to tea countries is a journey of discovery and the search for the origin of a favorite drink. And sometimes, as with Lovell’s book, it is just as much a journey of personal discovery.

Tea Nanny is a biweekly series about the world of tea. Aravinda Anantharaman is a Bengaluru-based tea blogger and writer who covers the tea industry. She posts @AravindaAnanth1 on Twitter.

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