A lively exploration of the world’s most consumed beverage in all its historical and cultural aspects.

Media and Reviews

••• PUBLISHERS WEEKLY-Online – Dec. 18, 2006

In this lively, exhaustive survey of the history and politics of tea, Hohenegger travels from ancient Asia to 15th century Europe to present day concerns about fair trade practices and organic farming. Focusing mainly on the drink’s most enthusiastic supporters, the Chinese and the British, Hohenegger uses tea to tell no less than the “the story of the traumatic encounter and clash of cultures between East and West.” Trailing tea over continents and centuries as it grows in popularity and becomes a power unto itself—in the form of the East India Tea Company—Hohenegger covers an interesting mix of topics, including Zen Buddhism, the Opium Wars, the first and only “tea spy,” and, of course, the rise and fall of the British Empire, each of which were integral in the beverage’s journey from storied “elixir of immortality” to simple commodity. The book’s third part, a series of brief discussions on topics more typically the purview of purists, such as water quality, the role of the tea tester and the ongoing debate between the opposing MIF (Milk In First) and TIF (Tea In First) camps, is surprisingly engaging. Told with authority and affection, this narrative history is a stimulating treat.

••• KCRW-89.9FM (NPR) – “Good Food” with Evan Kleiman – Jan. 20, 2007

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••• KPCC-89.3FM (NPR) – “Air Talk” with Larry Mantle – May 28, 2007

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••• KPBS Radio (NPR) – “These Days” with Tom Fudge – Feb. 15, 2007

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••• “TeaCast” with Ron Eng and Emilie Yanagi – June 17, 2009

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••• “Wine & Dine Radio” with Lynn Krielow Chamberlain – June 2, 2007

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••• “Lainie Sips” with Lainie Petersen – July 27, 2009

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••• KJAQ-96.5FM – “Northwest Access” with Kimi Kline – Apr. 8, 2007

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••• “Writer’s Voice” with Francesca Rheannon – Aug. 3, 2007

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••• THE EDGE AM 1550 – “On The Menu” with Ann and Peter Haigh – Mar. 18, 2007

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••• KBOO-FM – “Between the Covers – Art, Literature, and Politics” with Kathleen Stephenson – May 15, 2007

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••• (Europe) RADIO 86 ALL ABOUT CHINA – June 2007

Click here to read Part 1 of the article.

Click here to read Part 2 of the article.

••• 1590 The Connection – “The Maria Sanchez Morning Show” – July 23, 2007

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••• BOOKLOONS – February 2007

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••• LIBRARY JOURNAL – February 15, 2007

This work at first appears to be a historical survey, but Hohenegger-who will curate a related traveling 2009 exhibition on tea history-offers more of a social history of tea (with plenty of miscellany thrown into the pot). While the author does explore the emergence of the humble tea leaf as a global force, she equally touches on the aesthetic appreciation of tea in ancient and modern cultures. Often a mix of myth and history, the text, broken into short chapters, leads from Asia to Europe, weighing tea’s significance through the centuries. Ancient tea ceremonies could literally be religious experiences, as well as the subject of poetry, as tea was associated with Taoism and the rise of art and culture throughout Asia. ... Overall, the author’s light, humorous style is welcome and refreshing ...

Dedicated to discussion and appreciation of teas – March 4, 2007

in sum, this is an engaging and informative book, produced with both elegance and care. it manages to be thematically substantial without miring the reader in pedantry. it is written in a lucid and readable style that occasionally attains to real eloquence; my rather nuts-and-bolts account here does nothing to suggest the charm of H[ohenegger]’s prose, which is compulsively readable. moreover, without the slightest heavy-handedness, H gracefully negotiates the tricky balance of social conscience [and even metaphysical awareness] against the luxuries of sensory aesthetic delight. … make no mistake: this is one of the very best books on tea to appear in a long time.

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••• Kyoto Journal # 71, February 2009

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••• PalatabiliTEA – June 18, 2007

As a whole, it [Liquid Jade] is the single best international socio-economic history I have read that has not been specifically produced for academia. In fact, I think it tops a good bit of the academic texts, too. It is very well researched and wonderfully written.

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••• COTTAGE LIVING – February 2007

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••• RECORD SEARCHLIGHT – Mar. 28, 2007

Doni Tea Tales
by Doni Greenberg

Until recently, the word “tea” conjured up images of a sturdy Lipton tea bag — its pouch pale and papery — well secured with a tiny staple.
I pictured that little tea bag dunked and bobbed like a soggy yo-yo inside my mother’s brown, flowered tea pot, the old one with a chip on the spout. I will never see tea quite as simply again, not after reading Beatrice Hohenegger’s book, “Liquid Jade — The Story of Tea from East to West,” and my recent telephone interview with Hohenegger from her Los Angeles home.

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A monthly review for tea adventurers – March 2007

Extensively researched, well written, and wide in scope, Liquid Jade is a must-have book for tea lovers. Even those feeling they possess vast stores of tea knowledge will find themselves on a voyage of discovery. Highly recommended.

Click here to go to Sweet Willa’s Review web page.

••• TUCSON CITIZEN – March 1, 2007

This book is as satisfying as a soothing cup of Oolong Tea. Hohenegger’s highly readable tale traces the history of the world’s most consumed beverage. Behind this more serene of beverages lie stories of treachery, violence, smuggling, drug trade, international espionage, slavery and revolution. This lively history brims with rich storytelling and fascinating anecdotes such as the accidental invention of the tea bag and the ongoing tempest-in-a-teapot debate of milk in first versus tea in first.

Click here to go to Tucson Citizen Reviews web page.

••• TEA, A MAGAZINE – Winter 2007

The Magazine For People Who Love Books – Nov./​Dec. 2006

Brewed Force
by Jenna Schnuer

…When your plan is to lay out a history that spans thousands of years, organizing your information can be, to put it mildly, a bit of a challenge. For Beatrice Hohenegger, author of Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West (St. Martin’s Press) and curator of a companion museum exhibition, researching her topic of choice was rather overwhelming. “Never did I dream it would become such an extensive project,” she says. “You know the image of pulling a loose thread and the whole sweater comes undone? For me, that’s how it was, except that instead of coming undone it came together.”

Hohenegger’s research started four years ago—the book proposal alone took eight to nine months. As she gathered information, she turned anything and everything that she found interesting into its own “little chapter. Once each topic had its own place, I felt a little more controlled,” she says. Eventually, as her research went ahead, Hohenegger found connections between topics that allowed her to collapse chapters into each other. And as her knowledge deepened, the list got shorter and chapters found companionship with similar topics that, eventually, Hohenegger brought together into one of four sections in the book: “From East …,” “… to West,” “Curiosities, Obscurities, Misnomers, and Facts,” and “Tea Today: The People and the Earth.” The total chapter tally: still a hearty 40-plus. (What, you expected thousands of years wrapped up in a page or two?)