Monday 8 February 2021

How to Drink Tea - Stephen Wildish


Can’t we all just get oolong?

We are a nation of tea drinkers. 84% of Brits drink tea every day, and we get through 100 million cups daily. When a survey asked us what the country’s national emblem should be, the most resounding answer, with 32 per cent of the vote, was a cup of tea.

And yet… most of us are doing it wrong.

Enter tea-drinking expert and infusion connoisseur, Stephen Wildish. His complete guide to the fine art of tea includes: brewing guides for the proportionally challenged; simple to follow but desperately important rules (such as: the tea-bag and milk should never touch); cooling guides (charting the exact millisecond when the temperature of tea goes from hotter than the sun to stone cold); taxonomies of tea and much more. It is the perfect gift for every tea lover.

What did I think?

How to Drink Tea is so funny that you probably shouldn't be drinking tea when reading it as there's a good chance that your tea will go spurting everywhere and there's nothing that makes tea lovers more upset than wasting good tea!  I received a copy of this wonderful book for Christmas and I read it cover to cover on Boxing Day, giggling and laughing throughout.

The Venn Diagram made of tea stains on the cover is just fabulous and that's not all...there's a tea colour chart on the back cover to help you make the perfect cup of tea.  It reminded me how one of my former work colleagues used to ask if she had made my tea in the right Pantone so the tea colour chart would have been very handy if I'd had it back then!  If the cover appeals to you then you will love what's inside the book.  Full of fascinating facts, humourous illustrations, famous quotes and handy tips, How to Drink Tea is just my cup of tea.

After a fact-filled introduction where I was delighted to discover the origin of the phrase 'a cup of cha', there are four main sections in the book: How to brew, Types of tea, Tea occasions and Tea with food.  I really enjoyed the How to brew section, despite discovering that I am a total tea drinking rule breaker.  Call myself a tea lover!  I should be ashamed of myself!  I am a tea lover, however, I don't agree that there is a right way and a wrong way to make tea; tea is a personal preference and if it tastes good to you then it can't have been made wrong.  What this book does is give you the tools to make the perfect cup of tea and I certainly learnt a thing or two when reading it.  I'll definitely never squeeze a teabag again!

I loved Stephen Wildish's sense of humour, especially when added to his fantastic selection of illustrations.  Laughs exploded out of me when I least expected it, such as reading a pie chart of why your tea went cold at work or following a flow chart of how to microwave tea (which I admit I used to do when my tea went cold at work - clearly, I should be banned from ever drinking tea again!).  You would need to have no sense of humour for this book not to make you laugh.

Hilarious and informative, every book loving tea drinker needs a copy of How to Drink Tea in their bookcase.  I absolutely loved it.  How to Drink Tea is a delightful little book and I'll be keeping it handy so I can pick it up again when I need a good laugh.

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