VSL:FOOD // Read about all the teas in China (and everywhere else)

America’s a coffee nation, but the world’s great teas are just as rich as, if not richer than, the darkest cup of java. Thanks to Michael Harney — a master tea buyer, the Son of Harney & Sons, and the author of this excellent guide to the world’s great teas — it’s easier than ever to learn about.

In The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea, Harney canvasses the hills of Hangzhou and the forests of Assam in search of the best green, white, and black teas. He chats with grizzled old farmers and explains the mouthfeel of exotic teas like the Himalayan Tips Special Fancy Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe No. 1 Second Flush. (It’s medium full.) But Hanley’s book is also a solid, utilitarian learning manual that offers brewing times and temperatures (very important!) for every tea that’s mentioned. Better yet, the author breaks the teas down by type and orders them by intensity, making it easy to pick your own favorites and finally understand why you like the ones you like.

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