Gary Robson is both a tea expert and a storyteller. With the "Myths and Legends of Tea" series, his goal is to create the Grimm’s Fairy Tales of tea.
Robson is as much in love with the stories of different tea styles as he is with the tea itself. He was frequently found standing in his tea shop telling the tales as they were originally told to him — or as he found them in the course of reading about tea. Many of these wondrous stories are far too short. The poor farmer who cleaned up a temple and was given Tieguanyin oolong as his reward by the goddess. The mandarin who added bergamot oil to an English earl’s tea to compensate for the calcium in the water and created one of the western world’s most popular teas. The tea master who performed one last tea ceremony after he was ordered by his daimyo to commit seppuku.
He has taken each of these tales and retold it in his own style. Some of the stories are entirely legend, their origins lost in the mists of time. Some are based heavily on fact. Some will be familiar to any tea aficionado. Some are purely the product of his own imagination. In all of them, he focuses on building a sense of the time, the setting, and the characters -- bringing the stories of tea to life.
This first volume in the series features seven stories, each accompanied by a profile of the tea featured in the story:
China, 2737 BC - The Origin of Tea
Japan, 1591 - The Japanese Tea Ceremony
China, 1761 - The Iron Goddess of Mercy
England, 1806 - Earl Grey
United States, 1874 - Teatime in Georgia
Taiwan, 1931 - Oriental Beauty
Australia, 20 years from now - Post-Apocalyptic Earl Grey