The Tale of Tea is the saga of globalisation. Tea gave birth to paper money, the Opium Wars and Hong Kong, triggered the Anglo-Dutch wars and the American war of independence, shaped the economies and military history of Táng and Sòng China and moulded Chinese art and culture. Whilst black tea dominates the global market today, such tea is a recent invention. No tea plantations existed in the world's largest black tea producing countries, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka, when the Dutch and the English went to war about tea in the 17th century. The Tale of Tea replaces popular myths about tea with recondite knowledge on the hidden origins and detailed history of today's globalised beverage in its many modern guises.
1 The Primordial Origins of Tea
2 Tea Spreads to China
3 Tea Arrives in Japan and Korea
4 East Meets West: the Intrepid Portuguese
5 Dutch Capitalism and the Globalisation of Tea
6 The English Take to Tea: Wars in Europe
7 Interlude: Coffee and Chocolate
8 Taxes vs. Freedom from Oppression
9 Tea transformed: Wars in Asia
10 Tea Terroir and Tea Cuisine
11 Tea Chemistry and Fanciful Concoctions
12 Tending the Tea Garden
George van Driem directs the Linguistics Institute at the University of Bern, where he occupies the Chair of Historical Linguistics. He has written grammars of Limbu, Dzongkha, Bumthang and Dumi and authored the two-volume ethnolinguistic handbook Languages of the Himalayas (Brill, 2001).