Book Review: Liquid Jade

by Jason Walker on March 21, 2011

in Uncategorized

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Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West
Author: Beatrice Hohenegger
Price (as of posting): $16.95 on Amazon

Summary: Pick up Liquid Jade if you want a smooth flowing introduction to tea history and modern tea issues. Put it down if you are looking to know more about appreciating kinds/types of tea, or the modern issues of tea cultivation.

Overall, this is a well-written book with prose that flows fluidly and smoothly. Like good sipping tea. But in the end, your reasons for picking up this book will determine the level of satisfaction you will derive from it.

If you are looking for the interesting highlights in the history of tea, Liquid Jade pours out plenty of these episodes. These stories reveal how tea influenced economics, politics, art, culture, science, and exploration. Most of the book as about the history of tea, and I couldn’t help thinking that many of these stories can now be found online, or receive similar tellings in other tea books. In the end, I would not buy the book for the historical content available in it.

The last third of the book covers more of the daily issues and modern challenges of tea and tea drinkers. If the first two portions of Liquid Jade enable you to talk about tea, this final portion gives you information on what to do about tea. Here you’ll find out whether you’re better off adding milk to the cup before the tea or after. You will get a basic introduction to the acronyms used in the industry (e.g. FTGFOP). This section touches on the descriptors and processes of tea tasting. And readers receive information on economic and ecological issues that come with our daily cup. Factors like clean water and Fair Trade practices connect the tea drinker to the Earth and tea growers.

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