The leaves are only the beginning in this world tour of teas and tisanes.
Readers whose definition of “tea” begins and ends with a bag and boiling water are in for a horizon-broadening read. Between serving up Moroccan mint tea (green tea, mint, and sugar) and Jamaican sorrel (roselle hibiscus buds, ginger, cloves, and sugar), Waissbluth pauses to savor masala chai (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, pepper, milk) in India, po cha (milk, yak-milk butter, salt) in Tibet, pink chai (pistachios, almonds, salt, milk, spices, baking soda) in Pakistan, and bubble tea (powdered milk, syrup, tapioca balls) in Taiwan. She also peeks in to tea ceremonies in Japan and China as well as a British-style formal tea and marvels at tea brewed in a samovar (Russia), served in bags (Thailand), and sipped from hollow gourds (South American maté). In a closing note about her travels and research she writes that tea is nearly everywhere “a symbol of hospitality,” and O’Byrne echoes that theme by posing her tea drinkers—all bearing a broad range of skin tones, facial features, and regionally distinct casual or ceremonial dress—in pairs or groups. The author provides ingredients but not recipes, and her claim that “Indigenous cultures in North America prepare tea from berries, plants, and roots” is unwontedly vague. Still, this wide-ranging tally of teas and methods of serving it may offer a strong temptation to look beyond the soda can.
A refreshing cuppa conviviality, brewed and served many ways.
(Informational picture book. 6-9)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 48
Publisher: Greystone Kids
Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020