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The Meaning of Tea

THE MEANING OF TEA: A Tea Inspired Journey, edited and with commentary by Phil Cousineau, is a book that explores the calm and purposeful nature of tea through the words of tea growers, tasters, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, scholars and experts from eight countries. In more than 50 interviews, these engaging characters reveal a remarkable reverence for the plant, the ceremony, the manufacturing, the distribution of tea, as well as its ability to bring peace, calm, health, friendship, and often wisdom into their lives.

Inspired by Scott Chamberlin Hoyt's documentary film, THE MEANING OF TEA is at its heart a journey to connect with the vital forces that infuse tea with meaning around the modern world. This rich brew of wisdom and ideas is articulated by many of the tea world’s most inspiring members from Taiwan to India, Ireland to Tea, South Dakota. Through ruminations of the culture, ritual, history, agriculture, health and spirituality of tea, the reader / viewer is invited to explore and embrace the notion that tea, though more popular than ever, is still an underutilized source of health, solace, and friendship for the modern world. The book is beautifully designed and illustrated with more than 150 photographs. A great gift for every tea drinker!


"THE MEANING OF TEA is an enlightening and invigorating journey, which takes us from prehistory to tomorrow, and is to be savored at a leisurely teatime pace. It is rich in wisdom and lore, humor and humanity, not to be missed by anyone who treasures the joy of good taste."
~Mort Rosenblum, a frequent contributor to Bon APPETIT, is the author of Chocolate, A Goose in Toulouse, and Olives

"For most of my life I have drunk several cups of tea per day. It has afforded me peace, contentment, and conversation with many good friends. Now comes along The Meaning of Tea, an inspiring and informative new book by Scott Hoyt and Phil Cousineau, and I find my appreciation for tea has deepened immeasurably. It is a beautiful book and I will proudly share it with my guests whenever we share a pot of my favorite Darjeeling tea."
~Robert A. Johnson, author of Ecstasy, Contentment, and A Slender Thread

"This book reads like a journey, I love it."
~Sheryl Cotleur, buyer, Book Passage Bookstore

“To better understand the underlying philosophy of tea I recommend a new documentary, book and CD that captures the world’s admiration for tea. Filmmakers Scott Chamberlin Hoyt and Phil Cousineau have produced a work of timeless insight befitting tea’s reputation for imparting wisdom through mediation. It’s not a lesson in Buddhist chants. THE MEANING OF TEA is an extended conversation with plantation owners and aged women plucking leaves, traders, teapot makers, professional tasters and scholars. The beautifully filmed journey begins in San Francisco and leads to India with stops in Morocco, England, Taiwan and Tea, S.D. The collective message is: Sit and sip, take a moment to reflect and good will result. Not only is the ingestion of tea healthful for the body, the tranquility of preparation and conversation promotes health of mind.”
~Dan Bolton, editor-in-chief, Specialty Coffee Retailer magazine

THE MEANING OF TEA is "a collection of conversations with people from around the world for whom tea is an important aspect. Tea has meaning in their daily lives. Each of the selections is inspiring…. There are about fifty interviews with people around the world whose lives are enriched by tea. Each one of them has given me another nugget of tea wisdom to add to my own experience…. I was charmed and intrigued at how the peaceful sense of bringing the world together with tea came alive on the pages. I join Scott Chamberlin Hoyt and Phil Cousineau and the others working on The Meaning Of Tea Project in appreciation for your centuries of keeping the artistry and integrity of tea intact for our time. And may we each find our right place here.”
~Babette Donaldson, World Tea News: The Art and Spirit of Tea

“This is the sort of book I will read segments of for years to come whenever the mood strikes me. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to learn, be entertained, or take a break from life's hassles to relax for a bit…” (rated 10/10)

“In this beautiful book we learn to savor more than tea. We discover that the appreciation of a cup of tea is really the appreciation of beauty in the everyday. The Meaning of Tea steeps the reader in a realm of plants, pottery, water, and nourishment. Tea is tea, but it is more than tea. Boundaries dissolve as people of diverse backgrounds—Irish and Indian, Chinese and Moroccan—share their knowledge and common love of the fragrant brew. History, culture, health, and peace, all in one book! I highly recommend it.”
~Kenneth Cohen, author, The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing

“Tea lovers can enjoy a profound and breathtaking journey through the world of tea with Scott Chamberlin Hoyt’s film on DVD, The Meaning of Tea. A wonderful gift for anyone who wants to see first-hand exquisite tea plantations, how tea leaves are hand-plucked from the plant and turned into the beverage we drink, the DVD can be enjoyed and shared over and over again.”
~The Nibble’s Gourmet News and Views

“Like a blend of many strains of tea, this treatise is a skillful mix of the cultural, medicinal, physical, and spiritual aspects of tea. Sip. Savor. Slow down...”
~Jim Duke, CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs

“As a doctor of Chinese medicine with eight trips to the mysterious sites and crowded teahouses in China, tea has become a prevalent personal ritual…. What a resource to have this book on the multifaceted influence of tea on humanity.”
~Roger Jahnke, The Healer Within and The Healing Promise of Qi

“An eloquent and personal journey into the wonders of tea, a plant that has greatly influenced the trajectory of human history. Through his own story as a self confessed “budding tea connoisseur” and global traveler, Hoyt introduces us to some of the world’s most extraordinary tea experts—and invites them to tell their own stories…. A most interesting treasure-trove of information on one of the world’s most important botanicals.”
~Michael J. Balick, Ph.D., Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden

“A wonderful journey into the heartland of tea, tea drinking, and its social and spiritual context, The Meaning of Tea is a book to be savored slowly, with a cup of tea in hand…. What we find on this journey is that tea serves as a ‘kind of global connective tissue’ uniting people through the ages with a peaceful, more humane or balanced way of living. Scott writes refreshingly of his own journey of discovery as well as the stories of the amazing people he met on his travels, all connected in one way or another to the wonderful world of tea.”
~Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist and author of Herbal Healing for Women and Gladstar Family Herbal