Been plowing through my latest acquisition, “The Professional Barista’s Handbook.” There are three pages devoted to tea. That’s two less than the section on water, and one-fifth of the size of the milk chapter. I’m not sure what to think when author Scott Rao writes, “It would be nice to see a few more cafes treat their tea programs with a fraction of the respect they give their espresso programs.”
But I knew this before I got the book. From the introduction: “My coffee library was chock-full […of nuts? No,] of colorful descriptions of brewing styles, growing regions, and recipes, with a few almost-unreadable scientific books mixed in. I would have traded in all of those books for one serious, practical book with relevant information about making great coffee in a cafe….This book is my attempt to [create that book.]” Rao could be talking about my tea library. Coffee is still way ahead: tea doesn’t seem to have the culture of tech-oriented coffee geeks debating the finer points of chemistry. Now coffee has Rao’s books, and tea doesn’t have that either.