Best Books on Tea and Infusions | Find your new favorite!

Tea lovers ahoy! This is a comprehensive guide to the best books on teas and infusions for tea enthusiasts. I guide you through the best tea recipe books, the best tea reference books, and the best novels and short stories about the magical drink called tea. So pull up a comfy chair. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite tea and let’s find you now your new favorite books on tea.

Woman resting her hand on an open book with teacup on the side.

How the best books have been chosen

All these wonderful books are about tea and infusions. I have chosen them because they have a slightly different style and purpose and are best in their genre, so you can cherry pick your favorites or devour them all one by one. All these tea books are still relevant even though one was published in 1906! Some of them have been my ultimate favorites and tea companions for a long time already. Some I have newly found and are now good friends of mine. All the tea books that I have listed are still available for purchase, I have linked them, just click the title of the book to find out more! 

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Spoons heading different symmetrical directions filled with dried flowers and tea leaves on a white linen.

Best recipe books on tea and infusions

One of the easiest and most enjoyable types of tea books is the tea recipe book. These books have recipes for teas and herbal infusions and these are the jewels in the drink section of your kitchen library.

Wild Tea: Brew your own infusions from home-grown and foraged ingredients

By Nick Moyle and Richard Hood (2020), 176 pages

As a reference and recipe book, the Wild Tea is amazing. It is written with a delightful chatty style by two gentlemen, Nick and Rich. They are called The Two Thirsty Gardeners too! With these guys, you learn what plants to blend together to make amazing tea blends, how to do plant-based milk to mix with your brews, the basics for brewing and drying, and the rules for foraging. This is one of the best herbal tea books I know – and maybe you can hear it from my writing already…

What about the recipes then? How does Elderflower and Cucumber Iced Tea, or Blackberry Frappé sound? If you want to make yourself your own bubble tea – well you got the recipe for that one too!

Herbs on the table with scissors, in the middle the "Wild tea" book surrounded by the herbs.

“Nettle can be one of the most frustrating plants for foragers. It’s abundant, versatile, delicious and nutritious, but grab a handful in passing and you’ll be covered with painful stings. It’s worth the extra effort of tackling the venomous weed with gloves and scissors…”

about the nettle (urtica dioica).

Infuse – Herbal teas to cleanse, nourish, and heal

By Paula Grainger & Karen Sullivan (2016), 144

The Infuse is technically not a tea book, but a book about infusions which means basically herbal infusions. It is a perfect reference and recipe book, and it needs to be mentioned. With Paula Grainger‘s over 70 recipes you can master the infusions for any need: to cleanse, heal, nourish… you name it! There is a short section about wild herbs for the infusions too! The Infuse is visually pleasing and well-designed with color themes and perfectly chosen tea sets – traditional and not-so-traditional ones. The book is utterly user-friendly with the informative symbols on the recipes for “avoid when pregnant”, “avoid when breastfeeding” and “avoid when on a medication”.  The version that has been my friend is the Swedish translation “Örtteer”, which you can see in the photo.

The Infuse is for you who want to explore the different caffeine-free options in the world of infusions. Yup, the actual tea plant contains caffeine too! If you are looking for low-impact medicinal infusions to enhance and boost your daily life this is your go-to tea recipe book for years to come!

The Swedish version of "Infusions" book on the table with spoons full of herbs replicating the spoons on the cover of the book.

Flowers and leaves should retain some colour: seeds, roots, and bark should be firm to the touch. Your sense of smell can be a great guide – the herbs should smell fresh and bright. If they smell musty or ‘off’, find another supplier.

Paula Grainger
About the evaluating the quality
of dried herbs when buying.

Best reference books on tea and infusions

These tea reference books are the golden treasure and the core of your tea library. They open up the world of tea for you, whisper the secrets of tea making, and explain the different types of teas and tea plants. Every book gives a short glance at the colorful history of tea and practical advice on making incredible teas.

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A pile of tea books with a teacup on the side and a bouquet of light pink carnations.

Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know

By Candace Rose Rardon (2020), 141 pages

Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know is very easy to read. The book is nicely divided into informative chapters like “Terms every tea lover should know” and “How to store tea “. Candace Rose Rardon goes through all tea types and traditions across the globe. She has even a chapter about tea cocktails in this tiny in size but very comprehensive book. At the beginning of every chapter, there are intriguing quotes about tea, that I found very interesting and enjoyed very much. The book is very tiny, very compact, and filled with very comprehensive information.

For all tea novices who want to learn ALL about tea in small digestible sizes Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know is your new best friend. It’s the best tea book at home and on the road; this tiny one fits nicely into a purse or a pocket!

The woman pulling out from her pocket a tiny book called "Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know".

However, although tea is an infusion, not all infusions are tea. For instance, popular medicinal teas such as peppermint or chamomile aren’t technically tea, because they aren’t derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, rather, these are herbal infusions. Any infusion not produced using tea leaves is also referred to as a tisane.

Candace Rose Rardon

The Life of Tea: A Journey to the World’s Finest Teas

By Michael Freeman & Timothy d’Offay (2018), 256 pages

The Life of Tea tells its reader the journey of the tea from the earth to the cup. The focus is on the process of making and drying the tea. The history and tea cultures are also well present in this lovely illustrated tea book. The style of the book is closer to a reference book, but you can read it fluently like a novel too. Full-sized photos by Michael Freeman are stunning – and there are plenty in the Life of Tea book. The amazing photos of the cultivation, drying of the tea, and the process shots, make this book unique. The Life of Tea has a close-up of each type of tea and the cultivation places in the mountains of China, India, and Japan.

The Life of Tea is a great tea book for you who love the details and love to see and know where exactly the tea comes from and how it has been manufactured and treated before it ends in your teacup. If you enjoy high-quality photos of the tea drying process and the amazing mountain views, this is a good book for you.

Woman reading a large book called "The Life of Tea".

Newly made baicha is regarded as « cooling » tea in traditional Chinese medicine, while aging adds complexity and depth as well as increasing its medicinal properties. Locally they say “one year – tea,
three years – medicine,
seven years – treasure.”

Timothy d’Offay about
baicha, Japanese green tea.

How to make tea: the science behind the leaf

By Brian Keating & Kim Long (2015), 160 pages

This is one of my new personal favorite tea books! How to Make Tea is a compact and well-structured educational book without being overwhelming. If you are a beginner in the tea world this is your book though it has plenty to offer for a more seasoned tea-drinker too.

Actually, I read the Finnish translation of the book first (see the photo below) before glancing through the original one in English too. I am glad to tell to my Finnish readers that the translation is as excellent as the original one!

How to Make Tea has simple and visually easy-to-follow illustrations by John Woodcock, and oh my the charts! The book has amazing charts packed with plenty of interesting information like tea names around the world, storing times for dried tea leaves, and a circle about the flavor profiles of the teas. Especially the chapter about making the tea is very comprehensive and clear to follow with the instructions and guiding illustrations. This book is an excellent choice for your first book of tea to increase your tea library.

| RELATED: Tea kettle vs teapot | How to choose and use them

A Finnish version of a Tea Book lying on a dark wooden surface with a green tea box and dried tealeaves sprinkled around.

…As tea entered English culture, it was first pronounced “tay”, still used in some dialects today.

About the many names of tea

Tea – History, terroirs, varieties (second edition) 

By Camellia Sinensis Tea House (Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais & Hugo América) (2014), 270 pages

The Tea – History, terroirs, varieties has been part of my personal tea library already for a long time. It is my go-to book, which I have referenced in my other tea posts in this blog. So there is no wonder that I wanted to include this book in this post about Best Books on Tea to share with you too!

This book has very detailed information on different tea types, tea tastings, and tea families. The step-by-step photos and instructions for processing Japanese green teas are enlightening. Tea – History, terroirs, varieties includes a comprehensive chart for “tips for successful infusion” of all different varieties of tea, a chapter of the biochemical analysis of 35 teas including a chart about the concentration of caffeine in various infusions of tea too!

This is for you who are a bit nerdy and tea geek. If you enjoy the details and plenty (I really mean PLENTY) of information the Tea – History, terroirs, varieties is the best tea publication and the perfect geeky reference book for you too!

"Tea" book on a wooden surface with small cups filled with dry tea leaves and ready-made tea in nice order.

Infusion releases a strong bouquet of roasted rice and a delicate note of sea air. The Matcha powder makes the liquid cloudy, almost to the point of opacity. The mouthfeel offers a delicate attack and a velvety texture.

Tasting notes of Sencha and Matcha-based Genmaicha (roasted rice tea).

| RELATED: Why does my tea taste bitter? | How to avoid tea bitterness

Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting and Blending Teas and Tisanes 

By Cassie Liversidge (2014), 270 pages

With the style of a comprehensive guide and reference book, the Homegrown Tea is a joy to read. Cassie Liversidge guides the reader through the tea plant and the infusions from leaves, seeds, and fruits to flowers and roots: this book structures the different infusion types and their utilization. From medical benefits, she’ll guide you to the growing tips and harvest and finally how to make a tea or infusion from it. Homegrown Tea is packed with useful information with a user-friendly “Quick Plant Reference Chart” and a “Plant index“, love them!

The Homegrown Tea is for you who wants to grow your own tea and you want to know exactly how to proceed with every individual type. This is a great gardening book addition to your garden library this year!

| RELATED: How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea: Recipe, Serving and Culture

On newspapers there are herbs, little shovel, and a "Homegrown tea" book in the middle.

Echinacea is a lovely plant to have at the back of a flowerbed or in pots to give some height and color to your garden throughout the summer. An echinacea plant must be at least three years old before you can harvest its roots to tea, so buy a mature plant to begin with.

Cassie Liversidge about growing Echinacea.

Best novels and short stories about tea and infusions

If the reference books feel too heavy switching to the novels and short stories might be your cup of tea (you noticed the pun?). These books are both entertaining and educational. You will find here your next favorite novel or the intriguing tea travel stories.

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An open book on the table with a blue runner linen and a teacup with a saucer on the open book.

Infused  – Adventures in tea

By Henrietta Lovell (2019), 239 pages

Infused is filled with lovely tea travel stories that Henrietta Lovell has collected through years and years about her true passion: tea. Though the book is a novel-style short story, Henrietta has portioned the information and facts about tea and tea culture around the book. This book feels like you can finish it in one sitting, it captures the reader perfectly. Infused is divided into small, easy-to-consume chapters of different countries. Stories are from divergent places like Kyoto (Japan), Sikkim (India), and Cornwall (England), where the author of the tea book has different tea adventure memories. Henrietta Lovell, known as Rare Tea Lady, describes her moments with tea starting in England with her first sip of Darjeeling. Infused is a New York Times Book of the Year winner and has won a Drink Book Award in 2020.

Infused is for you who love storytelling and traveling. If you are a fan of the food travel genre this tea travel book will be your cup of tea. I guarantee! The Rare Tea Lady describes the flavors so curiously that you just want to have one sip of the tea too.

With bright golden decorations on a green surface, the "Infused" book is lying on a turquoise fabric with a tea cup on the side.

…to concentrate on my tiny sips of tea. It tasted of tigers and elephants, of men wearing bright jewels and silk turbans, of green mountains and adventure.

Henrietta Lovell
about her first taste of tea,
which was a cup of Darjeeling.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane 

By Lisa See (2017), 384 pages

The novel The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane is an intriguing story about the everlasting connection between mothers and daughters. The mom Li-yan is living in a remote Chinese mountain village. Her daughter, Haley, whom she gave for adoption is raised in California. Alongside the story of longing and belonging, Lisa See unveils the story of Pu’er tea (the fermented tea leaves). She describes how pu’er has shaped the destiny of the characters’ family for centuries.

Lisa See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organisation of Chinese American Women in 2001. To be honest she has plenty of awards if you start listing. She is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels too. So no wonder there has been a buzz about her and her work for a while that made me curious. Lisa traveled to China, Xishuangbanna, for her novel, and she loves details. You can feel in the book, that she hasn’t been just sitting home and writing the novel. The writing is elegant and compelling. Her storytelling captures you. You just will not let the book go (remember to eat and sleep once in a while!).

The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane is a great novel for a tea lover, who loves to read about tea but yearns for something lighter companion for the afternoon tea than a reference book.

Orange coloured book " The Girl of Hummingbird lane" on bed linen with a mug with tea on the side.

Walking to the tea market two days later is like entering a tomb. The lights are dim, as usual, but aisles are completely empty of people and goods, and many of the shops have already been vacated… I peer through the window. Large bags of loose tea rest open on the floor and the shelves have their displays of tea cakes, but my shop still manages to look ghostly. 

Lisa See

The Book of Tea

By Kakuzo Okakura (1906), 117 pages

The Book of Tea is a timeless classic that masters sarcastic and ironic storytelling with the finest excellence. Kakuzo Okakura writes about the specialties of the Japanese tea culture. He unveils the secrets of the Japanese tea room, the tea master, flowers in the Japanese tea ceremony, and the differences between the East and Western worlds. The author Kakuzo Okakura (1862-1913) was remarkable already in his own time and an expert on Japanese and Chinese art. Japanese Kakuzo wrote this book in English. He worked his last years in the USA and addressed the Book of Tea to his Western readers.

For you who love inventive turns of phrases, sarcasm, and the beauty of the tea and tea ceremonies The Book of Tea is a perfect companion to your tea time.

The Japanese authors The tea book lying on the calligraphy paper with quill and ink.

It calls for a mighty wealth of appreciation to enjoy the constant sight of even a masterpiece, and limitless indeed must be the capacity for artistic feeling in those who can exist day after day in the midst of such confusion of color and form as is to be often seen in the homes of Europe and America. 

Kakuzo Okakura about how the Japanese love simplicity in decoration and how Western decoration feels chaotic when compared.

The digital version of The Book of Tea you can read here.

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