the appetizer:

Learn about the world's most popular beverage in The Story of Tea by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss, including these excerpts and recipes: Tea Facts; Brewing Hot Tea; White Tea Snow Sorbet; and Savory Chinese Marbled Eggs (Cha Ye Dan).

Cookbook Profile

The Story of Tea:
A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss

The Story of Tea
Click to buy The Story of Tea


Around the planet, millions of people from all walks of life begin their day with a brisk cup of tea. It is the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water, with a culture and history as rich and varied as its taste.

In The Story of Tea, veteran tea traders Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss share an alluring study of the myriad ways one plant, Camellia sinensis (the tea bush), has enthralled and sustained people the world over for more than 2,000 years.

With a keen understanding and deep-rooted passion, the Heisses explain how tradition, culture, and terroir combine to create the great teas of the world—from the fresh-tasting, sweet, and delicate green teas of China to the aromatic, flavorful, and bracing black teas of India. Strong cultural factors bring character and individuality to the manufacturing techniques, resulting in tens of thousands of different teas, each unique as a fingerprint.

A tribute to an exacting art, The Story of Tea invites beginning tea enthusiasts and seasoned tea professionals into the folds of one of the world's oldest and most fascinating stories. The Story of Tea takes a detailed look at the six great classes of tea, the exciting future of tea trends, and how tea evolved into the popular beverage it is today. Sharing the latest research, the Heisses discuss tea's health benefits, caffeine content, and developments in organic production and fair trade practices.

An in-depth guide to tasting and brewing for an incredible tea-drinking experience, The Story of Tea also includes ten delicious sweet and savory recipes, such as Spicy Oolong-Smoked Duck Breasts and Green Tea Pot de Crème, along with resources for purchasing fine tea.

Millions of people in fifty-one countries bring staggering quantities of tea from bush to cup each year. Vividly illustrated and artfully presented, The Story of Tea is the fullest way to savor this time-honored brew.

About the Authors

Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss own and operate Cooks Shop Here, a purveyor of fine tea and other specialty food products since 1974. Mary Lou is also the author of Green Tea and co-author of Hot Drinks with Robert. When not traveling to source teas and other ingredients for their shop, they make their home in western Massachusetts, where Robert's lively food radio program can be heard each week.


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The Story of Tea:
A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

Excerpts and Recipes


This page created March 2008