Book: The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea

Monday is Teahouse/Tea Room, Accessory and Brand Review Day!

This is the first book review here on Tea-Guy and I've got to say, I was impressed! I hope I can do many more book reviews here and relate just how informative, captivating and illustrative the works are. Let me know what you think!


Quick Info

Rating 4/5
Title The Harney & Sons
Guide to Tea
Publisher Penguin Press
Author Michael Harney
Pages 214
Price $25.95 USD

By now you might realize that Harney & Sons is one of my favorite tea brands. I've covered quite a few of their teas here already and you're assuredly going to see more. That being said, I approached this book with a clear mind and very little "fan boy" mentality, and believe I've come up with a review from a book I was ecstatic to pick up.

The neat thing about "The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea" is how Michael Harney chose to take you on the journey through the tea process. While most tea related books I've encountered certainly try to move from least processed to most processed teas, as one would for a tasting, Michael Harney uniquely ushers you along. Providing multiple examples from each category, breaking them down with expert tasting notes, and providing suggested pairings are just a few of the features of this book I really liked.

In addition to the relatively unique progression from White to Greens to Oolongs and Blacks... the Harney book includes further breakdows for larger categories. Greens are broken into Chinese Greens and Japanese Greens while Blacks are broken into Darjeelings, Assams, Nilgiri's and British Legacy Teas.

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With this more granular breakdown Michael Harney makes it easy for a relative newbie to tea to get up to speed. He discusses the nuanced history of tea, the intricate production processes and a great deal of his experiences rounding up some of the best teas in the world over the past twenty years.

I can't stress enough the value of walking through a real tea tasting (like a wine tasting, but for tea) step by step. This book provides the ultimate in that endeavor and I would quickly recommend it for anyone looking to learn to train the palette to be more discerning of minute flavor differences between similar teas.

Michael Harney recommends tasting the teas in each chapter in order, and trying at least two at a time (to help traing your palette). I would deffinitely reiterate this recommendation.

Look for a future walk-through for tea tasting to be posted here on Tea-Guy.

Help a good cause: CharityWater.org

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