Since I love tea books, it didn’t take long for me to buy and read it. Although it talks about Chinese teas, I enjoyed it and thought that it deserved a review.
About the author
J T Hunter is the founder of Wild Tea Qi, an online tea store that sells artisan teas from China. He studies martial arts, meditation and Qigong, which I think involves exercise and traditional Chinese medicine. I don’t really know much about it.
In the first chapter of the book, Hunter talks about his childhood and how his hunt for wild tea in China began.
The quest for wild tea
The objective of the tea hunter are wild tea trees, which are ancient, ecologically sustainable and whose leaves are harvested and processed in an artisanal manner.
Hunting these teas is no easy task, however. A good part of the book deals with all the hurdles that he must overcome. That’s when the controversy starts. Hunter talks about how easy it is to be cheated in China, even by translators.
Furthermore, he exposes how Fair Trade and Organic certification are easily (and unethically) manipulated by the tea farms, and that most big players in the US tea industry basically buy from the same large tea factories.
In later chapters, the author describes his experience with tea culture from a number of tribes in Yunnan, and also there’s a section about different tea masters that he met.
Would I recommend this tea book?
Yes, I very much enjoyed reading it. The stories for each “tea hunt” are fascinating and the book also opened my eyes about all that’s behind the tea industry in general.
One thing I found confusing throughout the book relates to the concept of qi, especially regarding tea and health. In my humble opinion, going too deep into this aspect limits the reach of the book, because not everyone will understand or relate to it.
Anyway, it is a good read and it talks about various topics that you won’t find in other tea books. It’s definitely worth a read.