Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea’s globally inclusive and in-depth overview of the tea industry will take readers on a tea journey around the world. It covers tea production in every tea growing region on Earth—a total of 67 countries.
Jane Pettigrew has 35 years of tea industry experience and is currently the director of studies at the UK Tea Academy.
Bringing the book from its research phase to publishing was a four-year endeavor. She spent the first three years visiting plantations in Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas, as well as connecting with growers via telephone and email.
“The challenge was to find the less well-known growers,” Pettigrew said. Some of these growers were cultivating tea in new areas such as the United States, Great Britain and other parts of the European continent. “It has been such an extraordinary adventure and so fascinating.”
The book’s 434 pages are sectioned into seven chapters. The first covers the origins of tea—where it first grew, the plant’s characteristics and subspecies, as well as tea harvesting and manufacturing and details about tea-producing regions.
Subsequent chapters focus on continents. Chapter Two covers North America. Chapter Three covers Central and South America and the growers of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia. Chapter Four covers Africa, and not only the commonly known growers of Kenya, Malawi and Uganda, but also the new growers in Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Reunion Islands and Madagascar. Chapter Five goes into Europe’s tea gardens in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Georgia and Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey. Chapter Six, the largest chapter, focuses on Asia and encompasses the countries of China, India, South Korea, Japan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and more. The Seventh and final chapter features countries of Oceania: Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.
“More and more people seem to absolutely be in love with tea plants and want to grow them,” Pettigrew said.
Pettigrew elaborates on regional characteristics of the tea industry. She points out why different regions specialize in different types of tea and how their cultivation practices came about, such as why good oolong teas come from Taiwan. Pettigrew also commented on the prevalence of smallholder farmers in places like Africa and Indonesia and the growing importance of smallholders in India. She added that organic tea cultivation is becoming more common, as Darjeeling is more than half organic now.
Pettigrew also goes into how the tea industry enriches populations. “Tea is being used as a tool to create a better future for people,” Pettigrew said. There is a concern in the industry to create sustainable jobs, even in places like the Congo, which is going through a civil war. In Togo, a Dutch ethical body called the Noar Foundation has set up a tea project to give people stability and a future, said Pettigrew.
In each chapter, Pettigrew gives the history of how each region became a place for tea cultivation. In some cases, the origins go back thousands of years, and in others tea production has just begun within the last five. She also explains how production methods have evolved over time and how they vary between regions.
An eclectic collection of photographs from around the world illustrates the diversity of the terroirs and the people cultivating them. Detailed maps of tea growing regions were meticulously designed for the book with a cartographer’s oversight.
World Tea Expo Book Release Party
What: Join Pettigrew for a Book Release Party and signing. Her book will be available for purchase.
When: 4:30 p.m. June 13
Where: Main stage.
Don’t miss: Pettigrew will also host the Origins Tasting Tour and moderate a panel discussion on Career Pathways & Opportunities in the tea industry.