Monday, 28 November 2011

The World's Special Tea

How early can one get into tea? And how might one go about it?

I'm sure there's no need to encourage a child. If you're seen drinking tea, eventually the small person is going to ask for a sip of that steaming hot beverage. It's inevitable, right? Earlier this year, I had tea with my niece and wrote about it in:

tea party with Amelia

But I stand by my initial thought on this. I have no qualms about a child having a sip of my tea but if a child isn't accustomed to tea, I'd start with an herbal blend. It just seems like the more natural introduction. 

Still, I wondered then what I'd say if she wanted to know about the history of tea. How did people start drinking tea? for example. Or Why does your tea have such funny names?

So imagine my surprise when Jo Johnson asked if I'd like to see a book she'd written that specifically introduced tea to children. I enjoy tea samples and receive my share of them, but I think my writing about tea books has (correctly) led people to believe I'm as interested in tea writing. In case it wasn't completely clear, I'll say right now: I love tea books. They're good for the teablog, they encourage conversation about tea, and finally they're books. One of my weaknesses.

The book is called The World's Special Tea, and it's exactly what I'd want to have had in order to introduce Amelia to tea. It tells the history of tea from it's earliest Chinese origins through Japan and on to Europe. There's a brief explanation of the Boston Tea Party, as well as the English replanting of Chinese tea seeds in India

The book tells about the Camellia sinensis plant, from which all tea is made, and even mentions herbal or Tisane without getting mired in a discussion about what is and isn't tea. I like that. I've mentioned it here before: although I understand the hard-line position that we should only refer to tea as that which comes from the tea plant, I find it's often pedantic and nit-picky. With an adult, I might get into a discussion about this topic, but with a child? A Tisane is tea.
beautiful gift packaging 
And the best part? The book comes with it's own special tea for children (hence the name). Exactly the sort of thing I wanted for Amelia when I served her tea. An herbal blend with a mixture of Rooibus, bits of apple and ginger, as well as orange peels and cinnamon among other things. 

Would I drink this tea? If I were drinking tea with Amelia, I'd drink it happily. Although I rarely think to myself, 'I want some delicious tea,' and then reach for an herbal blend, that's not the point here. Having said all that, I did brew up The World's Special Tea and I could taste many of the flavours that were described in the ingredients. 

Most importantly, this is an inventive answer to my original question: What would I serve a child who was interested in tea? There's a bit in the book about planning a tea party. Not so sure how well I'd manage that one, but I might give it a try. 

The book itself? The World's Special Tea? I can definitely recommend it. Happily.


  1. What a wonderful idea! I need to pick it up for my 4-year old daughter. She actually steals sips of my tea all the time. She already knows the visual difference between green and black tea! I actually don't care for herbals or Rooibus, so I don't have them in the house. But this looks like a great book!!

  2. It really is sara s.

    I'm sure you reading the book aloud to your daughter is exactly who this book was written for. Enjoy.