Reading is one thing, but when my current read is one about tea, then that's another. I love reading about tea and in "Infused", not only does Henrietta Lovell, best known as The Rare Tea Lady, introduce us to rare and delicious tea but she also takes us along on her wonderful tea adventures. "Infused" is one for the bookshelves, for sure, and I am so happy that I have the opportunity to review it here on Tea End Blog!
In this article, I review "Infused" by Henrietta Lovell. Click play to see my honest Book Review. Be sure to also subscribe to be automatically entered to win FREE tea/books/stuff during Tea End Blog Give-Aways. Already subscribed? Tell a friend!
Title: Infused - Adventures In Tea
Page Count: 239
Author: Henrietta Lovell
Published Date: 2019
Publishing Company: Faber & Faber
SOLICITED UNSOLICITED ADVICE
After times of hardship I think it is human to contemplate the fragility of life and to want to truly take time to appreciate each waking breath. The Rare Tea Lady reveals that after battling cancer, she traveled to Kyoto Japan and visited a Zen Buddhist temple to which she insisted on asking a monk serving matcha green tea about advice for people that lived in the city, people who rushed. Instead of receiving the advice she was hoping for, the monk gave her advice that was much more practical and thought-provoking. "He explained that he was a Zen Buddhist monk living in a monastery overlooking a water garden. He didn't rush, so he couldn't advise me (Lovell) on rushing." (Infused, pg. 73 ¶ 2)
Lovell admitted that this made complete sense and realized that there was no need to completely change her life but rather "live the life (she) had made for (herself) with as much pleasure as possible." (Infused, pg. 73 ¶ 5)
FRUIT TEA DONE RIGHT
I completely agree with The Rare Tea Lady regarding her skepticism towards fruit flavored teas. Reading her take on fruit teas in "Infused" helped me to see that I am not the only one who is perplexed at just how fruit flavors come about in tea blends. Unlike jasmine or lavender, it is hard to capture the essence of fruit and use it as a flavoring for dried tea leaves. Therefore, artificial flavorings are used, in my opinion, completely adulterating what could be a really good tea experience.
I like how Lovell compromises and suggests that the tea sipper makes his or her own fruit flavored simple syrup which can work as a sweetener to their tea and a natural flavoring that could enhance the tea experience instead of detract from it. I've experienced this while cooking tea infused recipes during my #culinaryteachallenge; for example, in Week Four I prepared a Ginger Oolong Simple Syrup that paired nicely with quality green tea. Knowing that the flavoring wasn't artificial also gave me peace of mind. In "Infused", Lovell shares a Strawberry Syrup recipe for those who would enjoy a natural fruit flavoring.
(Infused, pg. 227 ¶ 4)
2 lbs. strawberries
1 1/4 c. sugar
"Cook the strawberries, stirring initially, until they start to break and release their liquid. Then cover the pan and let them simmer on a low heat. They are fully cooked when the fruit has visually broken up. Strain this through a fine muslin cloth overnight. Begin when the fruit is hot, to allow the liquid to flow most freely.
This should give you approximately 14 to 18 ounces of fruit stock. [ut this back in the pan with the sugar and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Heat the syrup to 200°F to ensure it is sterilised. This will also be hot enough to sterilise the bottle it goes into. If a foam appears, skim it off before bottling."
AN INSPIRING READ
I feel as though has come to be one of those pivotal books in my reading career. In this time of my life, I needed to read every single adventure and every single love letter that Henrietta Lovell attributes to tea. Since I have begun the journey of writing my own book about tea, I have come to appreciate others' journeys in tea as well. The Rare Tea Lady didn't just inspire me to keep drinking tea, but with every tantalizing tea description she also encouraged me to continue to learn about tea, create adventures steeped in tea, and to not underestimate my own experience in tea.
If you ever see this, Miss Lovell, I just want to say thank you and you, your book, and your mission are all so lovely and inspiring.
I hope you enjoyed my Book Review of "Infused" by Henrietta Lovell! I can't express to you enough why this book should definitely be your next read. If you love reading and you so happen to be a true tea sipping bookworm then I think you may be already convinced. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the book if you've already read it, I want to know what you think!
What effect did "Infused" by Henrietta Lovell have on you?