TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

September 8, 2007

Product review: Journals for tea lovers

Filed under: books,food,tea,tea accessories,tea gifts,tea journals,teapots — by teaguide @ 8:19 pm

Tea anyone?I admit it: I’m not a diarist. I don’t keep journals. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m probably the last person over the age of nine to set up a blog — and I don’t really blog, I use the format for product and book reviews in conjunction with the TeaGuide website. I much prefer function over form.

And I also admit that I envy people who have the patience and organization to keep journals of their travels through the world of tea, even if they travel no further than their own kitchen.

For all you patient, organized journal-keepers, I’ve come across three tea journals that you may find to be of interest. I did — in fact, they’re so tempting they may even turn me into a tea diarist!

. . . . . .

Tea Taster’s Journal — A Primer for Those New to the Journey Into Tea
by Elaine E. Terman
Retail and wholesale
Photo courtesy of Wild Orchid Teas

I think a more appropriate tag line would have been “For each new journey into tea.” After all, why should tea newcomers be the only ones enjoying this tasting journal? Each new tea one samples is in itself a journey.

Tea Taster's JournalOkay, semantic quibbling aside, this is a very well-done journal. Terman starts by outlining a brief history of tea, describes some common estate and blend teas in her Tea Basics 101 section, touches on health benefits, presents preparation guidelines, suggests appropriate vessels, and provides a comprehensive section on tasting and describing teas. (The tasting part is easy — it’s expressing what you’re tasting in actual words that makes tea-tasting more art than science.)

Following these introductory pages, the rest of the journal is simplicity itself. Each double page is dedicated to documenting exhaustive details about each particular tea you choose to sample. There’s plenty of room to enter the type of tea, source, preparation factors, and extensive tasting notes. No extra doodads, just wide open spaces beckoning you to fill them up!

There are sufficient pages for about a hundred teas. How quickly you fill it up depends on how frequently you sample new teas — and how frequently you keep notes on them in your Journal.

Visually the Journal is appealing, with an elegant cup and saucer on the soft cover, protected from errant tea stains by a clear overleaf. The spiral binding allows it to lay flat on tabletop, or to fold back if you’re inclined to lean it on your knee while writing. The size is just right for popping into your purse, tote, or briefcase if you’re doing your tasting away from home.

In addition to running her popular tea room in Ohio, the author is proprietor of Wild Orchid Teas, where she creates unique blends of teas and tisanes for tea lovers anywhere. Visit her website to purchase her Tea Taster’s Journal for yourself, for a gift, or wholesale for your tea shop.

. . . . . .

Tea Journal for Tea Room Enthusiasts
by Archana Pyatt
Retail and wholesale
Photo courtesy of Gable Wing Press

Unlike the previous Journal, this diary is designed to keep track of your visits to tea rooms and teahouses. A graceful tea set adorns the cover, and visually stunning photographs are interspersed throughout the journal pages. Introductory pages provide spots to record your favourite tea memories, keepsakes, and tea merchants, along with a general outline of steeping instructions. There’s also a list of translations for saying “tea” in various languages, helpful if you’re planning to travel abroad (although I was disappointed to see that if you visit Romania or Israel you’re on your own; Romanian and Hebrew languages are not included).

Tea Journal for Tea Room EnthusiastsTwo facing pages are allotted to each tea room visit. One page provides space to record information about the tea room, with entries ranging from the tea room’s name and date of visit, to menu details, your companions, and finally your ratings of the various aspects of your experience. The opposite page, labeled Scrapbook, can be used to attach photos, menu clips, or tea tags, or to write additional notes. There are sufficient pages to chronicle about fifty tea room visits.

Adding to the charm of this Journal are the memories contributed by a dozen or so tea lovers, including a number whose names you’ll recognize instantly if you keep up with the world of tea. As much as I like the author’s reproduction of the handwritten reminiscences, I found a few of them to be a tad difficult to read (clear evidence that tea, with its many positive attributes, does not improve one’s penmanship!). On the other hand, the writings and signatures are of particular interest to me. Most people don’t know that I’ve studied two schools of handwriting analysis, and received multiple certifications in this field. So I’m particularly enjoying these glimpses into some very interesting personalities.

Sized just right to slip into your purse, but unlike the Tea Journal above, this (paperback) book is perfect-bound, so it opens only so far, making it somewhat awkward to write in it. The journal-entry page is on the left, adding to the awkwardness for right-handers (perhaps — like so many creative people — the author is left-handed?). Maybe the next printing will take this into account.

All in all, if you keep up this Journal it will surely become a treasured keepsake.

Ms. Pyatt owns and operates a successful tea room in Texas. Visit her Serenitea Tea Room website to purchase online and for a list of walk-in shops that carry the Journal (contact the author direct if you’d like to carry the book in your retail shop).

. . . . . .

Linen and Tea Journal
by Bonnie L. Line
Retail and wholesale
Photo courtesy of Linen and Tea

Linen and Tea JournalThis too is a diary for recording tea room visits. I like the simple, homey quality of this Journal — it’s not as polished-looking as the two previous books, but there is an inviting warmth about it.

Included is the obligatory basic tea information — steeping chart, tasting terms, a brief history — and even a scone recipe. (Be sure to ignore the instructions for the urban-legend method for “decaf-ing” your tea.)

The Journal comprises about thirty double-page spreads: tea room details to be entered on the left, and a Photos page on the right — although, of course, you can use this space for additional notes if you prefer.Spiral binding, along with the book’s size and slimness, make it easy to carry and to write in.

Order online at Linen and Tea, or look through the list of retail outlets to see if there’s one near you. Contact the author — a tea speaker, teacher, and consultant — direct for wholesale information.

. . . . . .

I know I said three, but here’s one more for those of you who prefer to organize your tea diary yourself: Visit Hot Teas Gift Shop for a selection of journals in a variety of tea designs: whimsical teapots, elegant tea flowers, and several more charming designs. Choose your design, then select the page format: blank, lined, dot grid, or agenda. A custom gift for your favourite tea (or tea room) lover!

Now, fellow tea lovers, go out there with the journal of your choice and enjoy some tea!

Contact us about reviewing your tea-related product or service.

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1 Comment »

  1. I bought this lovely Tea Journal several years ago at a lovely tea shop in Chalfont PA. I have a ladies tea group and record all of our events, including our 10th anniversary tea at Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon in NYC. I enjoy recording all of our teas, plus teas that I have been invited to by friends. My only complaint is that the journal pages seem to be glued together and some of the pages are falling out. If this countinues to be the success that it should be, I would suggest that new editions be wire-bound so the pages don’t become lose. Otherwise, it has been a great experience, looking back on the places my tea group visited, and tea rooms I have visited with friends.

    Comment by Rachel Garber — December 11, 2012 @ 8:38 pm |Reply


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