Tea - a simple, healthful beverage, but one which will never taste the same to those who read this book. Here is the whole true story of a miracle of vegetation that became a treasure of the world as medicine, beverage, currency and communion - the wellspring of empires, industries, and art. This book is both a work of history and an incomparable guide to the teas of the world. It shows how history lives on in the teas we drink and reveals that to drink tea, whether we realize it or not, is to imbibe the spirit of Asia. Here is a passport to surprising delights from an amazing variety of teas and tea ways, ancient and modern. As the author says, "No pleasure is simpler, no luxury cheaper, no consciousness-altering substance more benign."