Reading while drinking Tea is one my favourite things. So I couldn’t be more happier last June when my good friend Dia Marchionne gave me a great Tea Present – “New Tea Lover’s Treasury” by James Norwood Pratt.
James Norwood Pratt is one of the world’s leading authors on Tea with over twenty years of devoted exploration and passion and several books published such as “James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary”, “The Tea Lover’s Companion”, “Reading Tea Leaves”. JNP was named Honorary Director of Imperial Tea Court, America’s first traditional Chinese teahouse which opened in 1993 in San Francisco.
Being from North Carolina, JNP remember Tea from his childhood. Later on, JNP moved to California and became a wine critic. However he had to turn to Tea.
JNP says “Wine, once my friend, my beloved, had turn into my deadliest enemy. With no expectation of ever again finding her equal, I turned to Tea, as much out of despair as self-defense. (…) At first it was simply a fluid safe to drink in great quantities and therefore suitable for a compulsive drinker such as myself. Tea gives you something to do and satisfied my need for ritual observances, occupying my hands not with glass and corkscrew but objects still more pleasurable to handle and behold. Importantly I found it is a social drink to share and create occasions with friends. After many months my alcohol-ravaged sensibilities also began to notice that Tea, while no intoxicant, most definitely produces a high all its own – a state of heightened alertness, of tranquility and freedom from care, of ruddy cheeks and sparkling conversation. Tea exhilarates.” (Pratt, 1999)
The book explores the history of Tea, the various Teas around the world, the producing regions and its characteristics, Tea rituals and advice on preparation.
Tea will never taste the same after you read this book.
I couldn’t agree with the following quote from the book: “People who grew up believing Tea is just a commodity like oatmeal are discovering it is a beverage like wine, but one you can drink all day long. Once a person learns, usually from friends, how Tea is made a daily practice, it becomes more than just a product, but one’s ally in greeting the morn and companion solacing the midnight. Tea Life, you might call.” (Pratt, 1999)