US Cover

For All the Tea in China

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, Robert 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.

Chosen as BBC Radio’s Book of the Week.

  1. Dolly’s avatar

    i just finished this wonderful book this morning -read ever so slowly as to stretch out the suspense. Someone please turn this book into a movie . Just fantastic!

  2. Joe Tonner’s avatar

    Yes a BBC drama would be good

  3. Isobel Whitton’s avatar

    Hi Sarah

    Just finished reading your book “For All the Tea in China” – It is excellent ! I can’t believe I am Scottish and have been drinking tea since I was 5years old and did not know any of this rich history.
    I am part of a committee who is organising Scotland’s Tea Festival and wondered if you could sign a couple of books for our raffle ? We would also be interested in selling some for you on a sale or return basis if you have a local UK distributor ?

    Did the film get made ? It would make a wonderful film .

    Best Regards

  4. Susie Felthous’s avatar

    Thank You Sarah!

    I am a home gardener and daily tea drinker so “For All the Tea in China” was an entertaining, educational find. I’m going to recommend it to a friend who only reads non-fiction and the New York Times. She needs an adventure story. Now for one of those mugs.


  5. Brendo’s avatar

    I consistently bring up what I learned from this book in conversation. And find myself regularly recommending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a tea drinker, amateur botanist, and a gentlemen adventurer. Thank you Sarah!

  6. Fred Genualdi’s avatar

    I just finished listening to your book and it is terrific. A wonderfully entertaining book that is chock full of history. And I quite enjoyed your reading style. Thanks for writing and sharing.

  7. john’s avatar

    A great movie in the offing, surely. i have talked about it at just about every dinner I’ve been to.

  8. John Monaghan’s avatar

    Really enjoyed your book ‘ For all the tea in china’. You have an extract 3rd paragraph on P171 regarding a female traveller following Fortune’s path to Bohea and making observations of tea pickers etc.

    I would be interested in knowing the name and source if possible as I would like to read more of this journey.

    I appreciate that you are busy and I don’t mean take your time but if you have some details that would be most appreciated.


    John Monaghan. Perth Western Australian.


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