Tea, the beloved beverage steeped in tradition and history, has captivated the hearts of millions around the world for centuries. From the mystical hills of China to the magical estates in India, the cultural significance of tea transcends borders and generations. Tea has also captivated and charmed poets and authors, novelists and essayists, dramatists and playwrights into waxing eloquently about it. In this blog, we take you on an enriching literary journey as we explore the top 10 books on tea, delving into its origins, preparation, cultural importance, health benefits, and the artistic aspect of tea ceremonies.

  1. "The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide" by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss



This comprehensive guide explores the intricate history of tea, from its origins in ancient China to its global popularity today. The authors delve into the cultural significance of tea in various societies and highlight the diverse flavors and aromas of teas around the world.


 2. "The Tea Book" by Linda Gaylard


"The Tea Book" is a beautifully illustrated guide that delves into the art of tea-making. It covers everything from the cultivation and processing of tea leaves to the correct brewing techniques for different types of tea. The book also features captivating anecdotes and stories about tea culture from various regions.

3. “ Cha Ching” or “The Classic of Tea" by Tao Lu Yu 


Written in the 8th century, "The Classic of Tea" by Tao Lu Yu is considered one of the earliest treatises on tea.It covers all aspects of tea - from origin to plucking to processing to preparation. Unfortunately, the original version is lost, and only a few excerpts survive.

This timeless work delves into the philosophy and art of tea preparation, exploring the harmony between humans, nature, and tea.


4.  “The Book of Tea” by Okakura Kakuzo


Written at the beginning of the 20th century, this is amongst the greatest tea-classics written in English. It covers the cultural role teaism has played in Japan."The Book of Tea" by Okakura Kakuzo is a timeless classic that delves into the essence of tea, capturing its spiritual and cultural significance. In just 100 pages, Okakura beautifully explores the art of tea, its role in Japanese culture, and its universal appeal. He emphasizes the harmony between tea, nature, and the human spirit, and how this simple beverage can unite people from diverse backgrounds. This thought-provoking work continues to inspire tea enthusiasts and art lovers alike, making it a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the profound impact tea has on our lives and societies.

5. “Darjeeling : A History of the World's Greatest Tea” by Jeff Koehler


Discover how tea came to a small hamlet in the Himalayas and then, became the greatest tea in the world! Jeff Koehler takes readers on an enchanting journey into the heart of one of the world's most celebrated teas. The book is a delightful blend of historical anecdotes, tea production processes, and personal encounters with tea estate workers.


  1. “The Art and Craft of Tea: An Enthusiast's Guide to Selecting, Brewing, and Serving Exquisite Tea" by Joseph Wesley Uhl


Joseph Wesley Uhl presents a visually delightful guide that takes readers on a journey through the diverse world of tea. The book covers topics such as tea grading, tea leaf styles, brewing techniques, and even tea blending.

7. "Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties" by Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, and Jasmin Desharnais



This book is a treasure trove for true tea connoisseurs, exploring the nuances of tea production, regional variations, and the influence of terroir on tea flavor. The authors, experienced tea tasters, provide expert insights into the art of tea tasting.


  1. "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane" by Lisa See

This captivating novel intertwines the personal stories of a young tea-plucker from a remote Chinese village and a tea importer from the United States. Through their journeys, the book sheds light on the profound cultural impact of tea on individual lives.


  1. "Tea: A User's Guide" by Tony Gebely 

Tony Gebely's book is a valuable resource for those seeking to deepen their knowledge of tea. The book offers an exploration of various tea types, terroirs, brewing methods, and even tea's role in promoting health and well-being.


  1. "The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas" by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss 


Another masterpiece by the renowned tea experts Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss, this book serves as an excellent guide for tea enthusiasts. It features detailed information on different tea varieties, along with practical tips on brewing the perfect cup.



As we come to the end of this literary journey through the world of tea, it becomes apparent that the beverage's allure extends far beyond its taste and aroma. The top 10 books on tea offer a glimpse into the fascinating history, diverse cultural practices, and the profound impact tea has had on the lives of people worldwide. Whether you are a seasoned tea lover or a curious newcomer, these books will undoubtedly enrich your understanding and appreciation for the ancient elixir that is tea. So, grab a cup of your favorite tea and immerse yourself in the literary world of tea!


(PS : But of course, there are many more books on tea, and chances are, your favorite tea book is not on this list. We will be delighted if you can share your favorite tea book with us!)


About the Author :



Ketan Desai is the Chief Tea Officer at VAHDAM Teas. After a brief stint with the family tea business, Ketan went on to work with some of the top tea planters, tasters, blenders and marketers across India, Sri Lanka, Russia and the CIS countries, the UK, Bangladesh, Indonesia  and Africa. 

A seasoned tea-taster and blender, and a passionate raconteur, Ketan conducts tea workshops and events, regaling participants with amusing stories while explaining the finer nuances of tea during live tasting sessions.

At VAHDAM Teas, Ketan spearheads tea, content and community initiatives. He leads TEACH ME, VAHDAM’s social initiative focused on education of children at tea estates.

Ketan's favourite tea is Darjeeling Muscatel, which he prefers to have without milk or sugar. He can be contacted at @baldmanoftea on twitter, @baldmanoftea on instagram or at



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