Will Battle joined the tea world as a trainee tea taster with Tetley’s, after completing university studies in the UK. He travelled the tea lands for 10 years with Tetley, completing his training in India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. Tasting tea after tea after tea each day – and visiting tea gardens, is work he loved, he says.
“I am the luckiest man alive, being able to spend my days tasting tea and travelling to producing countries,” says Battle, who showcases the wealth of teas in his new compendium The World Tea Encyclopaedia. “While most people have heard of Darjeeling and Ceylon tea, the book shows what may have been overlooked and why we should try it,” he said.
Battle views tea as a fabulous, multi-faceted and societal product to be involved in. After Tetley’s he moved to Switzerland and then the Netherlands to do a similar work for Douwe Egberts, importing tea into the Netherlands. In 2016 he and his family have moved back to Lincolnshire, UK, and was there Battle set up his own business to import fine teas for small and medium sized tea companies.
The idea for a World Tea Encyclopaedia: The World of Tea Explored and Explained from Bush to Brew, was born a decade ago as a consequence of his reading many, many wine books. He reasoned there was clearly a space for someone who has seen all of the world’s teas to try and put this vast variety of cups and origins into one volume. In the 359-pages that Battle allocated to the task, tea lovers and consumers discover a rich product offer, inviting them to explore new cups beyond the standard selection. Years of preparatory work and in depth exploring followed this decision, compiling, structuring and drafting.
The encyclopedia contains beautiful high-resolution images throughout and the detailed maps created for the world of tea, along with in-depth explorations of tea-producing countries. Readers learn life beyond the discount tea bag. The tea bush is the hero of this book. Battle takes a look at the origins in which it grows, the landscapes and climate that influence it and the artisans who craft it – and how it all comes together to make a delicious cuppa, surely the only drink to enjoy with this delightful, detailed book, perfect for all tea fans and enthusiasts.
“Only comparatively recently have tea drinkers started to explore the variety that tea can offer. The diverse array of tea from across the world that is available at the click of a mouse or a visit to the local tea shop needs to be better known and understood,” says Battle, who hopes that his book will enhance the reader’s enjoyment of what is a lovingly-created artisanal product.