The Tea Drinker's Handbook

The Tea Drinker's Handbook




A tasteful guide that explores the pleasures of tea through word and image.

In a skinny-no-whip-mocha-latte world, The Tea Drinker’s Handbook is a refreshing return to America’s roots in tea-drinking. Though tea is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world, second only to water, it is far from mundane. For both the lifelong tea drinker and the recent convert, The Tea Drinker’s Handbook is an indispensable reference for anyone interested in all things tea. The founders of Le Palais des Thés, a retail chain known for the high quality of its selection of teas, have traveled for over twenty years to plantations all over the world in search of the rarest teas, and the result is this handsome and enlightening book. This is the first guide written under the Le Palais des Thés brand. In addition to ten shops in France, there are stores in Brussels, Oslo, Tokyo, and Beverly Hills, and their products are sold at Bergdorf Goodman. In this impressive and comprehensive guide, we rediscover tea, its cultivation, and all of its richness and complexity. In addition to being an informative resource, this book is also a true tasting guide for tea lovers. The authors open our eyes (and introduce our palates) to tea-tasting, as they list the top fifty teas of the world—complete with tasting sheets—and include comments and advice for each. And with 200 illustrations, The Tea Drinker’s Handbook informs and instructs with both fascinating text and alluring images.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789209887
Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,001,337
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

François-Xavier Delmas is founder of Le Palais des Thés. His in-depth knowledge of tea-producing regions and his exceptional tasting skills make him one of the leading experts in his field.

Mathias Minet is a taster. He joined Le Palais des Thés ten years ago and co-directs the business with Delmas. In 1999, he and Delmas founded L’École du Thé, a school for would-be tasters.

Christine Barbaste is the author of Thé à Paris in the series Paris est à nous (Editions Parigramme).

Read an Excerpt

The Tea Drinker's Handbook

By Francois-xavier Delmas, Mathias Minet, Christine Barbaste

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2008 Francois-xavier Delmas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0988-7

Excerpt from: The Tea Drinker’s Handbook


We have been visiting the mountains where the world’s premier teas are grown ever since we first began selecting the rarest blends of tea for Le Palais des Thés. We spend several months every year walking the plantations from Darjeeling to Shizuoka and from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle. We always experience the same sense of wonder and joy on seeing their mist-wreathed summits, and the vast expanses of green that are so patiently worked by the men and women who carry out the same task every day, plucking buds and leaves between forefinger and thumb, in a ritual that hasn’t changed for centuries.

In our twenty years of visiting the plantations, we have built up some very precious relationships with the plantation owners and workers and as a result have had many professional secrets confided in us. But we felt that it would be pointless acquiring all this knowledge simply to store it and not pass it on. In fact, it was our desire to pass on some of what we had learned and our passion for tea, that led us to set up L’École du Thé (School of Tea) in 1999. The courses the school offers have enjoyed continuing success, reinforcing our conviction that the world of tea, with its many different facets, is capturing the imagination of an ever-growing public. It is against this background that this book has been written.

We believe that tea, with its wonderful range of flavors, has been ignored in gastronomic circles for too long. Rather than simply giving an account of all its many aspects—a number of books have already done this, suitably bathed in nostalgia for the old days—we prefer to take you on a visit to the tea gardens. There cannot be a better way to discover how tea is grown that to meet the people who, with patience and love, every day devote their knowledge to pleasing tea aficionados the world over.

To ensure the consumer is satisfied, an intermediary is needed: the professional taster, whose role is similar to his counterpart in the wine trade, using his expertise to evaluate thousands of teas every year. As with wine, this skill can only be acquired after a long and absorbing apprenticeship. Nonetheless, the art of tasting is open to everyone, and anyone who is interested in tea will discover the basic information in this book, together with a variety of indispensable tips about preparing it.

And since every taster loves to pass on their enthusiasm, we could not resist the pleasure of sharing with you our choice of the world’s fifty best teas. Happy tasting!

François-Xavier Delmas and Mathias Miner


Excerpted from The Tea Drinker's Handbook by Francois-xavier Delmas, Mathias Minet, Christine Barbaste. Copyright © 2008 Francois-xavier Delmas. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents from:
The Tea Drinker's Handbook


I. What is tea?
The Tea bush
The Ecology of Tea
The Cultivation of Tea
The Pluck
The Colors of Tea

II. Tasting
The conditions required for preparation and drinking
The equipment and techniques for tea-tasting
The physiology of taste
How we express our sensations

III. The World's 50 Best Teas (by country)

IV. Appendices

Tasting Table
Tea Chronology

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The Tea Drinker's Handbook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
IdentiTEA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book overall! It includes the growing, harvesting, and processing of tea along with basic brewing instructions and a tasting guide. Plus there is a detailed review of the "50 Best Teas" at the end of the book (which actually takes up about half of the book). Fantastic pictures, as well.