Books and other Writings

The Wine Bibber’s Bible 

Tea Lover’s Companion

Tea Lovers Treasury

Tea Dictionary

Tea Leaf Reading (Pseudo.)

The Ultimate Tea Lover’s Treasury

The New Tea Lover’s Treasury


Lu Yu & Tea: A Mirror of Soul—Introduction for Santa Fe Opera premiere production of “Tea—Mirror of Soul” by Tan Dun

Sisters Under The Skin: The Languages Of Wine And TeaCopia, Volume 05 Issue 01-02

The Dutch Invent “Orange Pekoe”—Tea Muse, May 2002

Origins of Tea—Article, numerous publications

Reading Tea Leaves—James Norwood Pratt’s commentary, reprinted from Reading Tea Leaves, by a Highland Seer

In the News—Tea Pilgrimage—reprinted from Freshcup Magazine’s Tea Almanac 2001

Tea Sister—Helen Gustafson— A tribute to my dear friend Helen Gustafson, our “tea sister”

Four Thousand Experience Tea At Slow Food NationA Report by James Norwood Pratt, from The Tea Room News, November/December 2008

It was a milestone of sorts in America’s tea history: probably the largest tea party in American history; unquestionably the most sophisticated in terms of the quality and variety of tea served; and beyond sophisticated in terms of the hosts. Some of America’s foremost tea professionals joined together to serve tea at the Slow Food Nation food festival held Labor Day weekend in San Francisco. The three-day event thrilled all involved …

Love the Leaf—Why and how coffee shops should do tea (Originally appearing in August 2007 special double issue)

… Tea, dear coffee colleagues? Aren’t tea and coffee supposed to be rivals? Only in urban myth—the truth is that soft drinks are the main rival of both coffee and tea in the United States, and the good news is that soft drinks are losing ground. Although the coffee boom is old news—not that it’s showing signs of slackening—of late tea is attracting more and more attention in media and public consciousness. The reasons for this are the same reasons coffee purveyors would now be wise to enter the tea market deliberately and knowledgeably …

An Exercise in Excellence
(from TEA – A Magazine as seen in the Spring 2006 issue)
by James Norwood Pratt and Devan Shah

One of us came from Japan, others from Dubai, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Netherlands, US, UK, and two from India. But we agreed unanimously that we had never even heard of any event of the kind so well planned and organized or half so well executed. And afterwards we jurors departed homewards in no doubt we had participated in a significant event in tea history—The Golden Leaf India Awards Southern Tea Competition 2005. …

Addenda to Dictionary.

(JNP hereby repents his Sins of Omission and Signs of Ignorance)

What’s left out? Wrong? Please forgive and email suggested entries and corrections for Tea Dictionary. If possible, I will define (or re-define) terms here and enable them to be up-loaded onto the JNP Tea Dictionary CD. Mea culpa for Inexplicable Omissions like:

Bohea—Java—Nepal—“Tea Master”


~Tea’s Secret History – a Review written by JNP of A Social History of Tea by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson. Appeared in the JanFeb2014 issue of Tea Time Magazine.

~James Norwood Pratt has a regular column within each issue of The Tea House Times and contributes regularly to continuing education.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Oolong?

Why Can’t We All Just Get Oolong?

The late Devan Shah, founder of International Tea Importers (ITI), Chado Tea Rooms and Waterfall Tea Company, (left) and James Norwood Pratt (right) join Guisepi aboard his tea bus parked outside the Texas Tea Festival.

Transmitting a love of tea one person at a time

by James Norwood Pratt • Photograph Courtesy of

“T for Texas,” sang the sainted father of country music long ago, and I have lived to see Jimmy Rodgers’s prophecy come true. For years now, eight or ten tea lovers have been getting together almost every week at The Steeping Room in Austin. After a trip to San Francisco for the SF International Tea Festival, Ellen Simonetti, along with Susan Alatorre and several others, came home convinced that “we can do this, too!” Having announced, with fingers crossed, the first-ever tea festival in Texas, to their relief and amazement, they sold 600 tickets in just two weeks. Then almost a thousand attended. The tea-fuelled talk was so happy and constant, Emeric Harney (John’s grandson) in the booth to my right and Devan Shah (representing Waterfall Tea) to my left had no chance to say more than hello to me till the event closed. People from all parts of Texas—and even distant lands like North Carolina, New Mexico, and Kansas—showed up to share the exhilaration and to take some of it back home. There’s now talk of festivals in Houston and Kansas City.

Proof positive that tea is a moveable feast was the mobile tearoom hosted—in fact created and driven—by a fellow tea apostle named Guisepi. His mission is to serve tea for free to all comers wherever he parks his bus, opens the side with its customized tea bar, and hangs out his sign “Free Tea.” Guisepi is the incarnation for our time of the old tea seller of Kyoto, who actually never sold a cup of tea. Like old Baisao, young Guisepi accepts donations but never charges. His ingeniously designed tearoom is spotless and beautiful, like the tea spirit he spreads from town to town. Why not invite him to yours?

Tea is always something we learn from other people who already know how to enjoy it. It is an acquired pleasure that must be transmitted in the same way tea very gradually spread from its place of origin down the length of the Yangtze River to the China Sea and then overseas to Korea and Japan. Around 400 years ago, Europeans—Portuguese first and then Dutch—finally had a taste and managed to take tea home with them. The English, in turn, learned tea from the Dutch, and so it went around the world—just as it goes still.

We American tea lovers are the transmitters of tea in our time and place. As each one teaches another and then another how to share tea’s various pleasures, we are creating America’s future tea culture. Every society that adopts tea acquires a heightened love for applied arts; Chinese porcelain, Japanese earthenware, and English silver are all by-products of tea culture. Good tea wares must be not only practical but beautiful—both to hold and to behold—just as good tea must not only pick you up and warm or cool you but also have a lovely taste. We cherish the state tea induces—one of heightened alertness, tranquility and freedom from care, and of ruddy cheeks and sparkling conversation. We doubt that anything contributes more to sociability or the enjoyment of leisure. It is through our efforts and example that Americans, from the humblest to the most privileged, are now taking to tea. And like Guisepi, as we transmit what we know of tea’s secrets to our fellow Americans, it is easy to predict we are helping create a country that is healthier, happier, and far less quarrelsome.

TeaTime contributing editor James Norwood Pratt is a highly regarded teacher and speaker and a recognized authority on tea and tea lore, who has devoted more than three decades to its study. His eponymous Tea Dictionary was published in 2010. For more information, visit He and his wife, Valerie, live in San Francisco.

Tea Time Magazine