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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A World Tour

In Teatimes, food historian Helen Saberi takes us on a stimulating journey beyond the fine porcelain, doilies, crumpets, and jam into the fascinating and diverse history of tea drinking. From elegant afternoon teas, hearty high teas, and cricket and tennis teas, to funeral teas, cream teas, and many more, Saberi investigates the whole panoply of teatime rituals and ephemera—including tea gardens, tea dances, tea gowns, and tearooms. We are invited to spend time in the sophisticated salons de thé of Paris and the cozy tearooms of the United States; to enjoy the teatime traditions of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where housewives prided themselves on their “well-filled tins”; to sit in on the tea parties of the Raj and Irani cafes in India; to savor teatimes along the Silk Road, where the samovar and chaikhana reign supreme; and to delight in the tasty dim sum of China and the intricate tradition of cha kaiseki in Japan. Steeped in evocative illustrations and recipes from around the world, Teatimes shows how tea drinking has become a global obsession, from American iced tea and Taiwanese bubble tea to the now-classic English afternoon tea. Pinkies up!

256 pages | 130 color plates, 40 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4 | © 2018

Food and Gastronomy

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“Sweet—and beautifully illustrated.”

Bee Wilson | @KitchenBee

“China or Indian? Black or green? Oolong or lapsang? Milk in first or last—or avoid controversy with a slice of lemon? These and all other questions relating to the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, raw material of the world’s most venerable refreshment, are addressed in appropriate elegance by culinary historian Saberi in Teatimes. Scholarly text, gorgeous illustrations, high production values, and a handful of classic recipes make this is a proper teatime treat.”


“What I found particularly interesting were the varied types of tea preferred in different parts of the world and the differing foods traditionally associated with tea drinking or teatimes in those places. The author also provides helpful and appealing recipes of some of these tea drinks and foods. . . . This is a handsome, well-produced book with extensive illustrations, both black and white and in color. It also contains some amusing quotations and anecdotes related to tea drinking and associated meals. . . . An enjoyable and informative book at a reasonable price. I recommend it.”

Asian Affairs

“Saberi has created a wonderful collection of facts and fancies, as well as a few fantasies, covering all aspects of tea and tea drinking that will be treasured by, not just lovers of tea, but anyone who has an interest in history and all the quirky bits and pieces that somehow end up becoming a tradition.”

Blue Wolf Reviews

“Pop the kettle on and immerse yourself in the rich history of one of the world’s most enduring and endearing commodities: tea. The hardcover tome covers tea’s global journey into the hearts and homes of many; from literature’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to historical newspaper advertisements and the rising popularity of bubble tea. The final chapter is filled with recipes to accompany your favorite cuppa, including Victoria sponges, cucumber sandwiches, tea buns, and samosas.”

Brisbane News

“This is a great read for anyone into the cultural aspects of food and travel. If you’ve previously bought or read books on the history of tea as a beverage, this is a refreshing approach to the subject. I wouldn’t call myself a tea lover (coffee is far more my thing) but I really enjoyed this book.”

Teatimes isn’t just about the beverage itself but the many associated traditions, ephemera, and cultural differences. It’s a fascinating insight into how tea and teatimes have become an integral part of everyday lives as well as a special event and way of socializing around the world.”

"The book is a delightful and colorful romp through time and around the world to celebrate all things Camellia sinensis. This volume proves that there is so much more to tea than leaves in boiled water. . . . It is clear that Saberi is a passionate tea drinker because this warmth appears in her prose. She has put time and care into researching different cultures and the way they consume their tea. While some readers may be familiar with the drink, they will also learn and appreciate some more obscure customs and facts. . . . A highly readable and informative look at one of life’s most enjoyable pastimes—afternoon tea."

100% ROCK MAGAZINE (Australia)

"Book covers are rarely commented upon in reviews, yet they may offer potential readers a wealth of signification. The front cover of Teatimes: A World Tour catches the eye with a sketchy teacup and saucer and a fluid 'spontaneous' script, all superimposed on a world map. The colors—black, brown, and green—are those of tea. The overall impression is one of playfulness, a promise of teatime entertainment. . . . [The book is] nicely produced with 130 in-text illustrations. . . . It is designed to help the reader 'enjoy your own memories of teatimes and take pleasure in reading about teatimes, past and present, from all over the world, in the comfort of your armchair while sipping a cup of your favorite tea.' It has an engaging, sometimes anecdotal style, which works well for this purpose. . . . Many marvelous images."

Food, Culture and Society

"Elegantly written, this book provides a sparkling and affectionate evocation of tea, its social nuances, and mouth-watering accompaniments in all their manifold glory. A book for anyone who loves a good cuppa."

Laura Mason, food historian

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