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ALL THE TEA IN CHINA By Kit Chow and Iona Kramer (China Books: $14.95, illustrated)

October 21, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

A pleasant if somewhat superficial study of the history and customs surrounding the drinking of tea in China and Japan (curiously, the authors neglect India, which leads the world in tea production). The most interesting chapters describe how tea is grown, picked and prepared before being put into the Lipton's bag. An attempt to encapsulate the recondite aesthetic underlying the ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony is considerably less successful, as is the too-brief discussion of the medicinal properties of tea, a subject largely unexplored in the West. The appendix of "50 Famous Chinese Teas" warrants a shopping trip to Chinatown. Anyone for Jingting Green Snow?

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