In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China—territory forbidden to foreigners—to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune’s journeys into China—a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.
Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune’s pursuit of China’s ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.
“With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural nineteenth-century China and Fortune’s fateful journey into it…if ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it.”
“Pause to reflect that the tea you are enjoying is totally hot—as in, stolen! Nabbed! Ripped off! Nothing more than the subject of international corporate espionage!”
“An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction.”
“The plot for Sarah Rose’s For All the Tea in China seems tailor-made for a Hollywood thriller…a story that should appeal to readers who want to be transported on a historic journey laced with suspense, science and adventure.”
“In For All the Tea in China, the most eventful era of the tea plant gets the inspired treatment it deserves.”
“A delicious brew of information on the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world…a remarkably riveting tale.”
Booklist, starred review
Sarah Rose has covered a broad range of beats, including international politics and economics during the Hong Kong handover, finance and business during the end of the dot-com bubble, the environment, and local stories about cops, courts, and schools. She now writes about food and travel for the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Journal, Outside, and Bon Appetit, among others. A Chicago native, Rose holds degrees from Harvard College and the University of Chicago.
- Publisher: Tantor
- Genre: Nonfiction/History
- ISBN-13: 9781400185375