This was a really lovely and accessible book about tea. Michael Harney covers an excellent variety of teas from around the world, with brewing suggestions, tasting notes and some background. It’s written so that you can dive in just about anywhere or start from the beginning, exploring teas from the most delicate to the brisk and bold.

Harney recommends sampling these different teas in groups, to provide the best ground for comparison, which is something that I would like to do, but wasn’t able to during my read through. There’s also different tea tasting menus which look very interesting.

I quite appreciated the inclusion of tea history and tea production in the appendices, while keeping much of the main content of the book focused on experiencing the tea itself.

This book is delightfully unpretentious. Harney writes with the enthusiasm of someone sharing something they love, rather than someone waving their expertise over your head. He encourages you to form your own opinions and disagree with him, and above all, to enjoy your tea.


Cool, I didn’t even know they had a book out. Thanks for the review. :)

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Cool, I didn’t even know they had a book out. Thanks for the review. :)

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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