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This is a most interesting book. The author has done extensive research not only into how to grow, harvest, pack the tea but the proper way to brew and drink tea. Koehler is a natural story teller which makes the book a delight to read.
The area or region of Darjeeling sits in the upper right hand corner of India. The mountainous region is bordered by Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan and the area has been unchanged for the past 150 years. This area produces the most expensive tea in the world.
Koehler tells the tale of how the British, who have acquired a taste for tea, sent out Scottish botanist Robert Fortune on a dangerous, covert mission into mainland China to smuggle out the tools to launch a new tea growing area in British India. The story of Robert Fortune reads like a spy novel.
Fortune smuggled out hundreds of tea bushes along with eight Chinese tea experts to the former Mughal garden in Saharanpur along the Indian foothills of the Himalayas. The Chinese tea flourished in the mountains but did not do as well in the low lands. The area called Assam is the main area for the native Indian tea. By the end of the 19th century, Britain was importing less than half of its tea from China most now coming from India.
Koehler tells about the tea plantation, he says they are called tea gardens. The average tea garden is 553 acres and produces 220,000 pounds of tea. There are 87 tea gardens in Darjeeling. Tea bushes were taken to various areas of India but different soil and temperature produce different teas. Only those grown in Darjeeling can be called Darjeeling tea. The author states the tea gardens are facing many problems that will affect the future of the famous tea, soil erosion, loss of workers, failure to plant new plants and so on. After reading this book one feels almost like a tea expert. Fajer Al-Kaisi narrated the book.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Certainly not the worst narrator I have come across on Audible - but he managed to mispronounce a lot of especially names of people and places. I'm personally also not a huge fan of narrators who switch from their 'normal' voice to a sing-song whenever South Asians are speaking. While generally read ok, he also introduces some pauses at wrong places - maybe he didn't prepare enough before the recording, but there are definitely sentences that would have benefited from a re-take.
Any additional comments?
The story was very enjoyable and interesting, and I don't regret getting it, despite the not so perfect narrator.