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Reviews of Curiosi-tea

Curiosi-tea Book Reviews in Brief:

“Curiosi-tea is part scientific exploration, part historical narrative, part political thriller and part Epicurean indulgence.” The Mail newspaper

“a no-brainer choice for any tea enthusiast” Zen Tea House, Kentucky, USA.

"an exuberant bit of fun, gorgeously produced and full of fascinating information... a total work of art...” Rachael Kohn, ABC radio national presenter

"This is a book that gives access to radically different ways of looking at tea and tea culture, the kind of book that will be remembered and talked about by people for generations to come. It is already a tea classic which I hope will find more and more readers and adoring fans."  Peter Micic, Cloud Nine Teas, Yunnan, China.
“... not your ordinary book of tea but an extraordinary perspective of life through the prism of tea and its super cultural capacity to invigorate, unite, calm, excite and spiritualise humanity” Australian Stage Reviews

“... superbly blends a depth of scholarship with audacious humour” Yuko Fujimitsu, WA Education Dept

“Best Tea Book we have ever read... Funny, informative, and brilliantly researched... a must have for all serious tea buffs.”  Bianca’s Tea and Coffee
"Curiosi-tea shows great Virtuosi-tea. I enjoyed it very much and learnt a lot. A huge amount of information and wit." Alan Macfarlane, tea author, scholar, Cambridge
"...a fascinating, interesting and absorbingly passionate writing on Tea... A deep study of the subject, with minutest and historical details of significance deeply embossed in the readers mind with wit & humour." Prakash Mehra, former Superintendent of Assambrook Estates Ltd; Tea Trader & taster.



"This might very well be the best tea book I have ever read… smart, savvy, sophisticated. It is fun, accessible and thoroughly engaging… Camellia Cha (aka Anne Norman) is a wordsmith of exceptional talent and just one very cool storyteller. Everything about this book has been carefully chiseled, shaped and honed. One of the first things that grabbed me about the book was the design, the layout, the gorgeous maps, the wonderful drawings… So what would you expect to find in this tea-singly delightful book? Here are some of the topics:

  • Tang, tea, tongues and tongs: commodity in Tang China
  • Christiani-tea: tea drinking Jesuits
  • Camel-mile tea: Russian Caravan
  • Market-a-billy-tea: an Aussie icon (Ceylon Tea)
  • Victorian Morali-teas: Queen Victoria
  • Musicali-tea: the journey of tea through song

The titles alone are enough to seduce you and pique your curiosi-tea for more infusions of tea tales and adventures around the world. This is a book that gives access to radically different ways of looking at a tea and tea culture, the kind of book that will be remembered and talked about by people for generations to come. It is already a tea classic which I hope will find more and more readers and adoring fans. Rarely am I so enthused by a book on tea, but this is a gem. I would go so far as to say that it is already dwarfs the ocean of books out there on tea, and will become a tea classic in the 21st century." Peter Micic, Cloud Nine Teas, Yunnan, China.

"Curiosi-tea is a wonder.  I had no idea of everything that is in my morning cuppa - historical, geographical, agricultural, economic, political and cultural.  Excellent, concise writing, drole, as entertaining as it is informative. Bravo Camellia and merci beaucoup."
Barre Phillips, musician, Provence, France.
"Everything about this book is an exuberant bit of fun, gorgeously produced and also full of fascinating information. It is a total work of art, and of course even the author's name is an invention, the tea plant being part of the Camellia family. This really is a laugh out loud book, with tongue-in-cheek poetry, funny illustrations, and three narrators, one of them an avatar. There's also some important warnings to tea enthusiasts, like don't make tea from the highly toxic Angel's Trumpet! A perfect gift - if you're able to part with it!"
Dr Rachael Kohn, presenter on The Spirit of Things, Radio National, Australia 
Rachael listed Curiosi-tea in her top ten books for 2009.
"Curiosi-tea shows great Virtuosi-tea. I enjoyed it very much and learnt a lot. A huge amount of information and wit. If you ever come to Cambridge I would be happy to give you a cup of green tea and a copy of the book on Green Gold which my mother and I wrote. From a fellow worshipper of tea..."
Alan Macfarlane, Emeritus Professor of Anthropological Science and Fellow of King's College at Cambridge.
"I am so overwhelmed and surprised by your book! It's such a great new fresh take on things that I really really really really had fun looking through it! It's a great thing how there are so many different ways to look at one subject, and your creativity is beyond many Chinese tea drinker's imagination."
Jenny Tai, Creative Chinese Tea Workshop facilitator @ The Tea Studio in the French Concession, Shanghai, China.
"There is no dearth of books on tea. BUT there is only one of it's kind that is indisputably 'Curiosi-tea'. This is a fascinating, interesting, and absorbingly passionate writing on Tea. The learned author, Miss Anne M Norman, is no ordinary Tea author. A deep study of the subject, with minutest details and historical details of significance not hitherto mentioned elsewhere, are deeply embossed in the readers mind with wit & humour... There are very few books on tea where a reader does not feel bored to read again and again. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Curiosi-tea... A great job done Anne M Norman... let this name become immortal by these excellent writings."
Prakash Mehra, former Superintendent of Assambrook Estates Ltd; Tea Trader
at Assam Tea Centre, Chandigarh; and a tea taster. Now in Perth, Australia.
“I absolutely love the book! We did a run of your book through our retail store a few years back along with the cards, and customers loved it... The humour and quirkiness of your book are just so in line with what I want to do with my site and so inspiring and uplifting to me personally that I would love to have it as a permanently featured product in my business.”
Jonathan Houldsworth, Managing Director, Tea Lounge Ltd, New Zealand.
Damnit Miss Anne Norman I think I just got adsorbed .. and for how long?... by yr nano- tea leaves. Accidental proximiTEA led as quick as a CTC Teabag to instant distracta-billy-TEA. I had it for dipping when waiting for downloads but found it, despite format, not conducive to sparse sipping.  I was ambushelled by its never ending leaves, I just couldn’t help picking up the pot and guzzling from the spout.
Indija Mahjoeddin on facebook
"Curiosi-tea est un livre captivant à propos du thé. Il vous fait connaître beaucoup à son sujet et d'une manière -documentée, sérieuse et aussi pleine de fantaisie et d'humour- une longue histoire de cette plante au travers de la planète, les différents types de plants, les habitudes et les coutumes, etc.
" Earl Grey" n'est pas seulement une sorte de thé que l'on a l'habitude de boire mais il est question de promiscui-thé, nobili-thé et .... infidéli-thé.
Le "Boston tea-party" n'est pas un parti politique mais une sanglante bataille pour le commerce du thé. "Have a cup of tea" (fameuse expression anglaise) a débuté en Angleterre avec la mode aristocratique de boire du thé, c' était une question .... d'impure-thé.
Si vous avez l'opportunité de rencontrer Camellia Cha vous ne boirez plus votre tasse de thé de la même manière mais vous testerez les différentes sortes de thé, prendrez  soin de la température, de l'infusion et vous mettrez votre nez au-dessus de la tasse, comme pour un vin ! et de plus, vous continuerez à en découvrir d'autres. J'ai lu ce livre en même temps que "Le guide Théophile" (Les Palais des Thés Editions) qui a complèté la lecture du livre Curiosi-tea.
Merci, Anne, pour ce beau et bon livre. Et maintenant ... Have a cup of tea"
Annie, de Brest, France
“Congratulations for your creative ideas! I loved reading CURIOSITEA!!!!”
Victoria Bisogno - El Club del Té, Argentina.
Curiosi-tea was a popular reading hit on our recent Tea Bus Tour. I opened the book on the Mao Zedong bit and it was a great start, as it was light and funny. We even had a Chinese participant on the bus who confirmed that fact about Mao not ever bathing. lol! Then we read the long poem about tea workers and fair trade, which was serious, but in a really good way... Our tea bus tour participants loved it all!
Kulov, The Gypsy Tea Experience tea bus tour in California, 2010, USA.
Lady Gayle’s ‘Picks of the Trade’
"Curiosi-tea... an “absurd publication!” Definitely a PG-13 or maybe R-rated book :) Fun, serious, sometimes silly and obsurd [sic] take on tea: Hospitali-tea, Tranquili-tea, False Identi-tea, Infideli-tea, Civili-tea, Absurdi-tea. The audaci-tea!"
"Best Tea Book we have ever read"
The Review "If you think the world of tea is a dry affair, you haven't read Camellia Cha's (yes, this is the nom de plume for shakuhachi-playing author Anne Norman) Curiosi-tea. Apart from puns, quirky humour and zany illustrations, this book contains information on the origins, history and cultural associations of tea. The author spent several years, visited many countries and did lot of research to produce this book. Narrated by Norman and her imaginary side-kick Cha, the book tells the story of tea in China, Korea, Japan, Russia and many strange corners of the world, and delves into the lives of royalty (Queen Victoria) and the nobility (Earl Grey, Sir Thomas Lipton). It explains the types of tea and looks at issues such as should you add milk, and what's in a tea bag. Put you legs up, brew a cup of cha and bring some levi-tea into your life."
Mary O'Brien, Food and coffee writer, Book Review in The Age, 10 Aug 2010
"CoCo, Bonnie, and I met you at the Tea Expo in Vegas a few months back and you were the hit of the weekend for all of us. I’ve finished reading your book and I’m starting round two of it now…. the wit, the charm, the history of tea….its a no-brainer choice for any tea enthusiast... We are excited for your North American tour and really want to do everything we can to have you visit our Zen Tea House!!!"
Chris Sims, Zen Tea House, Louisville, Kentucky, 2010
"A tea-riffic book! A quali-tea effort"
Phillip Adams, Australian satirist, ABC radio host
藤光由子(国際交流基金派遣日本語教育アドバイザー, 西オーストラリア州教育省)

"This book by travelling musician and modern-day literati, Anne Norman, superbly blends a depth of scholarship with audacious humour; a complete balance of her sincere quest for knowledge, her free and openhearted spirit and her subtle sense of the aesthetic."
Fujimitsu Yuko (Japan Foundation advisor on Japanese language education to the Western Australian Department of Education)
"This is the best tea table book! You actually get something funny and true each time you dip into it. It's like a 'Coles Funny Picture Book' for grownups. Try the Spirituali-tea page for starters."
Nola Firth, Australia
"I love the droll nature of the book, and the way that factual bits are interspersed with whimsical bits, etc. When one starts the kind of research you did, one is led in many different directions, until one has a web of material that relates sometimes directly, sometimes tangentially. You did a great job of organizing it, too. I read Foreplay first, or nearly first. Going through CC n U in linear order now, although the temptation to hop rhizomatically is always there. Catherine opened at random last night and giggled and guffawed. At which pages, I don't know. But we're both enjoying it. Congratulations and hoorah!"
Warren Burt, NSW.
GoughWhitlamGough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
"Anne Norman
    your devoteaL18VincentnGoughW
        Gough Whitlam"
Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister of Australia
from 1972 to 1975.
He made an apperance in the book Curiosi-tea
on p.122 in the chapter entitled:

Inequi-tea and Proper-tea Ownership

"I found this book a delightful read; a journey through time on a quest for the origins of tea. Told with wit and humour, using the art of conversation between three engaging personalities, a kaleidoscope of fact and fantasy that kept me intrigued from start to finish."
Alice, Victoria
"Here’s cheers to tea’s cha-rm: You don’t have to be a tea aficionado to enjoy Camellia Cha’s book on the subject. A roving history of tea’s takeover of the world’s café’s, kitchens and boardrooms, Curiosi-tea is part scientific exploration, part historical narrative, part political thriller and part Epicurean indulgence. And thanks to Cha’s unique take on the world, it’s a fascinating ride. Set out in bite-sized chapters, this is a book you can dip into, a cup of tea in hand, at any point. However, readers should be aware that, like me, you might choose a chapter that takes your fancy and then find yourself burning the midnight oil reading it from cover to cover."
Jo Winterbottom, The Mail newspaper, Mornington, March 3, 2010
Read the full review
"Informative yet light-hearted. A book to read with a smile and a cup of the finest"
Dr Dave Webb, University of Western Australia
"Curiosi-tea by the delightful Camilia Cha and friends is possibly the most entertaining tea book in existence and an extremely informative one at that. Full of juicy gossip and insightful information, reading Curiosi-tea is like sitting down with a fascinating old friend for a cuppa and a long afternoon catch-up in the sunshine..."
Sara Schwarz, reviewer for
"People who pun demonstrate a love of language that is playful rather than pedantic and this author clearly loves playing with language. Curiosi-tea is a punsters guide through the marvelous world of tea. Both serious and silly, its content ranges from poetry and cartoons to discussions of the cultural and political developments of the tea trade. Among my favorite chapters were those on the varieties of tea and its processing, of which, as a hardened coffee drinker, I knew little, the brief sojourn into the history of tea and indigenous land rights with reference to Vincent Lingiari and Gough Whitlam and the hilarious chapter on the sexual innuendos of the language of tea drinking. Other chapters include information on the etymology of tea, Queen Victoria's fear of drinking tea, the role of the tea-break in the industrial revolution and the use of the folk song Waltzing Matilda as a marketing tool for Billy Tea. Written in three distinct voices, the text maintains a chatty and entertaining style whilst simultaneously providing serious or amusing information that is both quirky and interesting. In addition to being well researched, the book is beautifully designed with a large number of illustrations by the author. Probably as much as any serious tea drinker needs to know can be found here but even if you are a coffee drinker you will enjoy this book. However, be warned you may find that you develop an irresistible desire to take up tea drinking."
Catherine McDonald, Australia
"Love the book... As all is interconnected, you can pick a subject, in this case tea, and spin out in any direction and enjoy a multitude of discoveries, all written with humour and a light touch masking a deep and hidden scholarship. A fantastic achievement"
Michael Sklovsky, owner of Ishka
"What a fun book! I've been enjoying a random reading of it. Your tea snippets are so entertaining and enlightening at the same time. I'm happy and proud that Issa has a little corner in it. Take care, and thanks!"
David Lanoue, translator of haiku by Kobayashi Issa,
"Really entertaining."
Alfred Hornung, Tingleman Printers, Melbourne
AustStage20100929"This is not your ordinary book of tea but an extraordinary perspective of life through the prism of tea and its super cultural capacity to invigorate, unite, calm, excite and spiritualise humanity. ...this startling book... [is] unified by a narrative underpinned by tea: tea myths and calamities, tea ceremonies and zen practices, tea absurdities and reasonings."
Daniela Kaleva  Australian Stage, 29 Sept 2010.
Excerpt from a review of a stage production based on Curiosi-tea

"This book is so awesome and it became my favorite book. What's awesome is that it is not only about tea ceremony or Japanese green tea. I read half the pages of your book already. So much effort, experience and study!!! すごい!"
尺八奏者Anne Norman さんがお茶についての本をだしました。その表紙を担当しました。 英語ですが、とても勉強になります!!お茶の起源や、全世界のお茶にまつわる物語などをユーモア交えて詳しく説明した今までにない本です。お茶の語源や、 お茶のルーツに興味がある方は是非この本を読んでください!!オーストラリア各書店、イギリス、アメリカの書店に置いております。
野竿進悟 Nozao Shingo, Japanese Calligraphy Artist,
"Nima and I are thoroughly enjoying your book... In addition to the contents, I'm amazed at the layout - colours, fonts, drawings, printing on the angle and Chinese and Japanese characters - truly phenomenal and most impressive. I've even learned something about American history. The fact that the ships in Boston harbour were owned by the East India Company doesn't seem to get a mention or be significant information for Americans. Being simply English ships were good enough for us I guess..."
Dr Reis Flora, Ethnomusicologist, University of Melbourne
"I just LOVE the book. You are so clever... it looks fantastic - and fascinating - and funny. A triple f rating! "
Robyn S, Victoria
"Thanks for coming down and residing in Chado for two days. You added a lot of life to the place with your creativity. You're an impressive person, lots of different talents and knowledge. I enjoyed jamming as well."
Brian Ritchie (musician and co-owner of the teashop Chado in Hobart)
"It was so exciting to receive the books yesterday. I really love it and I have read half of it. I like those cartoon pictures. It contains a lot of knowledge about tea as well as interesting anecdotes and rhyme words which sounds beautiful. You really know a lot about tea and it will be popular. And the book is also the result of your hard working. I think many people will like to read it."
Maggie, Kunming, China
"The box has arrived! Congratulations again on getting Curiosi-tea published! I love the way the book looks! Great job! I actually opened the box at the apartment office and the management person immediately expressed interest in purchasing a copy! "
Maya Hara, tea nut, San Fransisco
"An excellent read Camellia, packed full of delightful morsels of history, facts and figures, tales of lust and debauchery. Thank you for that Thea, your lubrici-tea surely must make you the reigning goddess in the fertili-tea pantheon. My big take from this book is I can now make a cuppa O'Cha with out destroying its value and flavour."
Bill Lewis, Karate Ka, latent komuso and re-formed coffee addict, Australia
"Can I just say that I love the book? I had expected it to be one of those little cute things you find in the "gifts" section in book stores, just pretty pictures. I was impressed to see the history of tea and so much more - in addition to pretty pictures!"
Nina S, Australia
"What a fantastic book! I never thought tea could be written about in such a way. I received the copy in the studies of sexuality office and showed it to my colleagues, they were instantly drawn to it and laughed all the way as they flipped through the pages, surprised and delighted by the whole design of the book and the wittiness in the writing. I think you won two customers right there and then. The book is simply delightful and we are talking about using parts of it to teach some classes when appropriate. Congratulations on such a great success, I am sure it will get a lot of attention."
Josephine Ho, Coordinator, Center for the Study of Sexualities
Dept. of English, National Central University, Taiwan
A fast paced, witTEA book, cleverly combining frivoliTEA and informiTEA
"For the funnest read about Tea you'll ever find"
Camellia Cha PhT
Camellia Cha has achieved the impossible! She has: discovered the Question to the Meaning of Life the Universe and Everything, put Humpty together again, revealed the secrets of the Holy Grail, exposed tea's sexy side and written an absolutely gripping and funny book about the history of tea. A must read, whether you drink tea or not!