According to author Dawn L. Campbell, more than 2.5 million tons of tea are cultivated annually in more than 30 countries throughout the world. Originally thought of as a medicinal elixir, tea and its virtues were widely extolled. Thomas Garway, whose coffeehouse first sold tea in 1660, said tea cleansed the spleen, kidneys, and urethras, strengthened the stomach, relieved headaches, expanded the lungs, and helped to drive away colds, scurvy, and colic.
It was in the next few years that England’s love of tea spread. Eventually, England had more tea drinkers per capita than any other country in the world. Now each tea-drinking region has developed its own tea traditions.
Campbell wrote about tea in the “hope that the recipes . . . will open up a wealth of cultural tea-drinking experiences for tea lovers everywhere.” The first few chapters of The Tea Book discuss British tea times, tea leaf reading, and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. We learn about the countries where tea is grown, how it is prepared, what the various grades of tea are, and tea brewing techniques.
There are chapters on decaffeinated teas, flavored teas, tea accessories, and tea medicinal uses. Tea recipes originating from around the world are presented as well, followed by festive teas and teas used in the preparation of after-dinner drinks.
Focusing on a commodity more controversial and versatile than ever thought, The Tea Book presents history and recipes on a beverage that helped shape modern culture. Surely, this book will create a whole new generation of tea admirers, as well.