My ‘New’ Green Tea Book

Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers & Sweet & Savory Treats

A lovely woman who produces a food radio program telephoned me recently to set up an interview about my ‘new’ book on cooking with green tea. She caught me off guard because I don’t have a new book on cooking with green tea. Then I realized she was referring to a book that I wrote in 2006 titled: Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers and Sweet and Savory Treats ( Harvard Common Press, 2006).

We got it straightened out, had a laugh, and fortunately she still wanted to have the interview.

After this, I started to think about my book and the idea of cooking with tea. Back in 2006, cooking with tea or using tea as in ingredient in cooking and baking was an unfamiliar concept here in the US, and it did not resonate with most. Its not that it wasn’t a good idea – it was and still is a great idea – but only a few short years ago the conversation about tea was vastly different than it is today.

Back then, tea drinking had not yet reached the widespread popularity that it has now, and education about premium tea from traditional places of origin was still in its infancy. Spreading the word about the different classes of tea (green, white, yellow, oolong, black and Pu-erh) was challenging for those of us in the tea business as black tea was the most commonly drunk tea at that time, and the only tea that many people were familiar with.

Fortunately, my book sold well and is still in print –yea!- but I have come to realize that the subject of cooking with tea ( and my book ) was ahead of its time. For Green Tea I developed original recipes in these categories: hot and iced green teas, smoothies, green tea cocktails, savory dishes and sweet endings, and often when I would describe to someone back then what my book was about they would look at me as if I had holes in my head.

In fact, even in Taiwan, where I gave a presentation at an annual tea meeting to a room full of tea growers on the idea of cooking with tea, and where there are dishes that utilize oolong tea in the preparation, many there looked at me as if I had holes in my head, too.

But today, just five years later, the idea of cooking with tea, or using tea as a culinary ingredient, has caught on. Not like wildfire, but with enough traction to be included in various tea conversations and for others to pursue the topic.

Cynthia Gold, the Tea Sommelier at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, has co-authored a book with Lise Stern titled: Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World ( Running Press, 2010). This delightful book explores the concept in depth, and provides much guidance for those looking to experiment with all classes of tea in their cooking.

Some restaurants, too, feature tea as an ingredient in various savory dishes and cocktails. Green tea in particular is showing up pretty regularly in sweets and desserts. But I fear such desserts will suffer from over-exposure and incompetent hands, and become culinary outcasts in the same vein as tiramisu, molten chocolate cake, and anything kiwi.

I am reprinting (with permission of my publisher) one of my favorite cocktail recipes from Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers and Sweet and Savory Treats.

Tropical Sky
( serves 2 )

  • 12 ice cubes
  • 3 ounces chilled green tea
  • 1 cup chilled pomegranate juice
  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • Maraschino cherries, lemon wedges and orange wedges for garnish

1. Put 4 ice cubes, the green tea, pomegranate juice, gin, and amaretto into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 1 minute.

2. Divide the remaining 8 ice cubes between 2 old-fashioned glasses. Make a skewer for each glass by threading 1 cherry, 1 lemon wedge, and 1 orange wedge onto a decorative cocktail pick. Strain the cocktail into the glasses and drape a fruit skewer across the top of each glass. Serve immediately.

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The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook is Published !

Today is the day….our book is officially released for sale in bookstore and on online book vendors. We are so appreciative of the care and tendering that our publisher, Ten Speed Press, lavishes on our books. They really ‘get’ the importance of tea and are fully behind our efforts to spread tea knowledge with readers and tea enthusiasts. Autographed copies are available directly from us, either from our website or in the store. Enjoy !

Look for Our New Tea Book in 2010

We are thrilled to announce the forthcoming publication of our new tea book: The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook: A Guide to the World’s Best Teas.  Our new book is a companion book to our tea ‘bible’ The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide, and it is also being published by Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.

The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook is small in size but mighty in content. It covers topics that we left untouched in our previous book ( such as steeping, storage and aging tea ) and each compliments the other quite nicely information-wise.

Look for The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook to arrive in bookstores towards the end of March. Many bookstores are stocking fewer titles than they did in the past – if you wish to support your local bookstore, please be sure to let them know that you are interested in purchasing a copy.  At a modest price of $16.95, we hope that our book will be on every bookstore’s  ‘must have’  list for spring.

We hope that all of our tea customers, fans and readers had a wonderful Christmas filled with delicious new tea and stunning teawares.  We have many unique and special teas to introduce in the New Year, and look forward to presenting them to you.

Best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year !

Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2008

gourmand-s2

We just received news that our book, The Story of Tea A Cultural History and Drinking Guide ( Ten Speed Press, 2007 ) has been nominated for the second tier judging in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2008. We were notified that we were named the Best Tea Book in the USA 2008. This means that our book will go on to compete for the title of Best Tea Book in the World 2008.

The organization behind this prestigous competition is headquartered in Madrid, Spain and the competition is the largest cookbook awards in the world. It is international in scope, which means that our book will be competiting against other tea books ( in all languages ) from Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and European authors.

This is the information posted by Edouard Cointreau, President, on the Gourmand World Cookbook website: “This year 102 countries participated, with 101 countries for cookbooks and 43 for drinks books. We have received approximately 15% more books than last year. We are most impressed by the worldwide increase in quality. We have 88% cookbooks, and 12% drinks books.”

We are thrilled and honored to have our book so recognized, but will have to wait until May to find out if we have won the title of Best Tea Book in the World for 2008Ole !