Book: Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea by Jane Pettigrew

Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea: Discovering Producing Regions and Their Teas
Author: Jane Pettigrew
Published 2018 by Hoffman Media
Cover Price: $59.95USD
434 pages

First Impressions

Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea is a much larger reference book than I had anticipated when I purchased it. It’s basically the same size and shape as a typical university-level psychology textbook, but infinitely more interesting in terms of information. World of Tea is a lovely hardcover coffee-table style book that has a matte feeling cover and gold for the text on the front cover and the spine.

World of Tea is an impressive text. The introductory section, called The Origins of Tea, talks about the different types of tea (including yellow tea, which is left out of a lot of tea reference books!), storage, teaware, and steeping tea. Then Pettigrew goes into the different tea producing regions – each chapter covering a different location (North America, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Oceania). Each chapter is further broken down into countries and provinces/states. The photography through the book is bright and colourful, albeit mostly green.

This thick text also consists of two ribbon markers, which I think is such a lovely touch. They’re long, green, and can easily help you reference information with the flip of pages. I really like them because if you’re going to use it as a coffee table book, you can opt to use them to mark interesting pages, or perhaps the pages that you’re going to be constantly referring to (e.g. the page on how long to steep different types of teas).

Things That Stood Out

I just loved the photography throughout. It gives you a great sense in how different tea farms around the world are set up and how just how different tea leaves look after being processed – if you didn’t already know about it. I think it’s great that Pettigrew was able to highlight such a variety of farms and tea producing regions around the world – there’s literally something on everywhere that you could possibly think of. I didn’t realize that there were so many tea producers in North America, let along throughout Europe and South America. I knew that countries like China, Japan, and India would be covered with tea farms, but it was certainly an eye-opener to see just how many farms there were everywhere. Tea is considered to be the most consumed beverage globally, after water, so it’s fascinating to learn just how many farms are necessary to keep all of those tea drinkers happy!

Favourite Section(s)

I loved the section that covered tea-growing farms in British Columbia, because that’s where I am from. There were two farms listed, neither of which I have had the pleasure of visiting yet, so they’re now on my “to visit” list and to try teas that are grown “locally”. I loved getting to learn about tea farms from around the world, without ever leaving my living room.

My Overall Impression

I loved Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea. I think it’d be an epic book to start off with for the beginner tea lover, and it’d be a great reference book for established tea enthusiasts as well. Most other tea books talk about types of tea, storage, steeping, and a bit about ceremony, maybe some tea blending recipes or about afternoon tea. I think what sets World of Tea apart is the showcasing of tea farms around the world, which makes it a fascinating book to flip through and read because it really does show you the areas where your tea literally comes from, which I think is great for education purposes. Plus, the beautiful photography doesn’t hurt either.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Zevia’s Earl Grey Blood Orange

Earl Grey Blood Orange by Zevia
Black Tea / Flavoured
$1.99USD for 355ml (12 fl oz, 1 can)

First Impressions

I came across a selection of Zevia Organic Tea drinks at a local grocery store and had to give them a try – the fact that they were on sale didn’t hurt either! Earl Grey Blood Orange comes in tall and skinny can, with a matte feel to it. The can mentions that it contains no sugar and has zero calories, but it’s also sweetened (more on that later). There’s a few certifications indicated on the can, for those who care, as using non GMO ingredients, USDA organic, and fair trade tea.  There’s even a mention that this is a vegan product which… when you think of it – tea should be naturally vegan by default.

Earl Grey Blood Orange consists of organic brewed black tea, organic natural flavours, citric acid, and organic stevia leaf extract. This prepared tea also has 45mg of caffeine per can. For comparison, an 8oz (tall) coffee from Starbucks contains 180mg caffeine. The can opens with a pop tab and the drink itself is a bright orange colour (although darker in a deeper cup). The aroma is primarily that of citrus.

First Taste

Earl Grey Blood Orange is a clear orange (although looking brown in the photo below due to the depth of the glass). The aroma is citrus – nothing really jumps out and said bergamot to me though. The flavour is a black tea plus citrus. The lack of the specific bergamot notes doesn’t scream Earl Grey to me, unfortunately. The tea is sweet, thanks to the stevia. I find a slight astringent at the tail end of each sip, with a bit of mouth puckering happening because of the citric acid.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Zevia’s Earl Grey Blood Orange was just okay. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more complexity with the citrus notes to differentiate between the blood orange and bergamot that’s found in Earl Grey. While the drink itself was tasty, I found it to be lacking in something in the flavour profile that made me think yes, this is Earl Grey and yes, there is blood orange in here too. The drink itself is refreshing, but doesn’t make me think of Earl Grey and blood orange, it reminds me of an iced black tea with citrus notes.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tastea Treats’s Maple Black Tea

Maple Black Tea by Tastea Treats
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.00 for 100g

I took part in a Secret Santa tea exchange on Instagram in December 2019. I received this tea as part of the gift from my Secret Santa, a review was not requested.

First Impressions

Maple Black Tea came in a shiny black sealed (and resealable!) pouch. The label on the front provided me with details of the tea blend. The tea leaves themselves are clearly black tea with bright yellow flower petals. There’s a sweet maple aroma to it, with a mingling of floral notes. The sweetness to it and notable maple notes makes Maple Black Tea really inviting to this Canadian tea lover.

This black tea blend consists of: black tea, calendula and sunflower petals, natural flavours (organic compliant), and real maple syrup. I think it’s important to note that there’s a huge difference between ‘syrup’ (e.g. “pancake syrup”) and real maple syrup (and even ‘imitation’ maple syrup). Just in terms of the complexity of flavours and the richness in maple flavour of the real liquid gold.

Preparation

Tastea Treats recommends steeping Maple Black Tea in freshly boiled water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 7 minutes. I opted to fall into the middle at 5 minutes for my initial steep.

First Taste

Maple Black Tea steeps to a clear orange colour. I did note that some very tiny fragments made their way through my stainless steep infuser (for those who really do care about not ingesting tea leaves – I don’t know why – a filter bag would help you out with that). The texture of the tea is thick – it just has an obvious thicken mouthfeel to it, despite being quite smooth. There’s a nice sweetness to it – the maple flavour is pronounced, but it’s not as sweet as I was expecting. There’s a pleasant flavour to the black tea base that has mild astringency that reminds me of a breakfast tea blend – but not so much that I find it off-putting in the slightest.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Maple Black Tea, but found that the maple flavours were mostly gone by the second steep, but the black tea base is still pretty pleasant. I’d recommend resteeping if you enjoy a mostly straight black tea.

My Overall Impression

I liked Tastea Treats’s Maple Black Tea. I enjoyed the maple flavours, but was surprised at how it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting. For those who are as much of a sweet tooth as I am, I would recommend sweetening with some (real) maple syrup, to amplify the maple flavour. I think this is definitely a nice dessert tea, and could pair well with afternoon tea or with a maple glaze donut.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.