A TIME FOR TEA by Jason Goodwin


Travels Through China and India in Search of Tea
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 An engaging and offbeat exploration of the tea trade by English travel-writer Goodwin, whose two grandmothers--Granny Eileen with her tea caddy from India, filled with Keemun and Lapsang Souchong; Granny Goodwin with her tea caddy from China, filled with Assam and Darjeeling--gave him an early introduction to the ritual and romance of tea. Goodwin's journey around the tea trade, which has left its ``scattered trail across the atlases and the history books,'' begins in Hong Kong, where he tracks down the elusive and eccentric ``Professor Tea.'' Then it's on to mainland China for stops in the once-busy tea-trading ports of Canton, Amoy, and Fuzhou; in the Wuyi Mountains, home of the first tea known in Europe; and in Hangzhou, capital of the green tea province. Goodwin carries with him a small library on tea, dipping into it from time to time to share stories, facts, and other choice bits with the reader. A skilled traveler as well as a talented writer, he develops contacts and picks their brains everywhere he goes-- no small feat in China. Then he heads for Calcutta (detouring briefly in the Boston of 1773--for Goodwin journeys through both space and time), where the world's biggest tea auctions are held. He visits the tea gardens of Darjeeling and the Dooars for a fascinating look at how tea is grown and processed in postimperial India. Finally, the journey ends in London, giving Goodwin the opportunity for a brief but delightful sketch of the social history of tea in Great Britain. Entertaining and elegant--perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but boasting far more flavor than the average travel book.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-57941-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991


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