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Steep In. The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard is infused to perfection.

I had an interest in tea (not just drinking it but actually learning about it beyond the superficial), so about 8 years ago I formalized that interest by taking the Tea Foundations course at George Brown College in Toronto.

I wasn’t interested in becoming a Tea Sommelier – that required an 8 course commitment – but did want to know more about the tea that I would be drinking at say dim sum, or omakase, or at my parents’ home where they coveted their Darjeeling tea they always brought back after their frequent trips to India. 


In retrospect, The Tea Foundations course was terrific introduction, as was the book recommendation from the course instructor, Jane Pettigrew’s Tea Classified: A Tealover's Companion, which was voted Best New Publication 2009 by World Tea Expo.


Why am I mentioning this? Fast forward to 2017’s World Tea Awards where the Best Tea Publication was The Tea Book by Tea Sommelier Linda Gaylard. The Tea Book would --hands down -- be the book that I would choose as a illustrated companion for the tea enthusiast or an introductory guide for the beginner with an enthusiastic interest. As is customary of DK Publishing, the hardback is well constructed to last for years. Moreover, it's completely up-to-date, no trace of anachronisms that may date other books. 


What does a tea lover do today? Consider yours truly and his better half: we take out a glass of cold iced tea for a hot summer evening on the veranda; we'll enjoy a bubble tea in Chinatown; we'll start the day off with a masala chai; and somewhere in between there'll be a cup of Genmaicha, or multiple infusions of oolong to accompany us as the day progresses. 


Tea isn't just about the culture of how one nation does it; it isn't just about what the purists advocate -- it is for everyone to enjoy around the world, in its many forms. And for that, The Tea Book is second to none in my opinion. 


Here's a quick overview of some of my favourite pages but keep in mind, it's nothing close to exhaustive:

  • like wine, each tea growth is subject to the minutiae of its terroir (pp. 18-19),
  • from sweet and fragrant to cocoa like and nutty, there are many tea types to explore (green, white, oolong, black, yellow, pu'er) (pp. 24-27)
  • tea and coffee don't have the same rules so how you store it counts (pp. 38-39), 
  • feeling under the weather? there's a tisane for that (p. 130-139),
  • everyone has their secret chai recipe, a good one is available here (p.182-183)

Give DK's The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard a shot whether you love tea or are growing to love it. 


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Guest Blog post by @ArijitBanik (Banking professional, independent thinker and fanboy, who occasionally scribbles at arijitbanik.com and www.correlationmatrix.ca) 

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