Have you noticed that when the weather warms above freezing, the birds start singing? I've been keeping track this winter and it seems to be true. When it's quite cold, about all we hear are the chickadees, the hawks and the downy and hairy woodpeckers. The temperature goes up and the sparrows, pileated woodpeckers, the titmice and a host of others start chirping and singing and banging away at their trees. The crows we seem to always have with us.
I came across a book on tea that I think would be excellent for beginners or casual drinkers who would like to know more about tea. It's called 19 Lessons on Tea by 27Press. The sub-title is become an expert on buying, brewing and drinking the best of tea.
I have read this short book and I must say, it really does a pretty good job. You are not going to become an expert by its end, but you will know a lot more and probably have a lot more confidence. It covers how different teas are made, the various grades of tea, tea rituals, teapots, tea utensils, pairing tea with food, where to buy tea and find tea tastings. There is a bit of history, mostly in short footnotes. To find more, they refer you to their website.
There is a bit of repitition, but not too much. Many books on tea have so much about history that unless you are really interested, you either skip it or get bored and don't bother getting to the other stuff. Likewise with how tea is grown and processed. There's enough here so you know a bit more than the average bear, but not so much that your head is swimming from an overload. In other words, it's manageable. The chapters are short, so you can just do a few minutes at a time, or read the whole thing in about an hour.
This is a book you should enjoy with a brisk cup of tea, to make sure you are awake and aware. I would reccommend a godd hearty English Breakfast. I just happen to have some by Bigelow. My tea swap partners often send lots of tea bags and who am I to pass them up? This one came in a nice expandable bag and had a good fresh tea aroma. I brewed it for 2.5 minutes, which is long, but I am in the mood for strong!
My, it smells good with lots of lemon and stone fruit components. It has a nice flavor, too, with elements of Keeman and Assam in a good balance. I am sure to be awake and aware by the time I finish it.