“An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction.” – The Financial Times

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.

Download the Reading Group Guide here. 

“A wonderful combination of scholarship and storytelling” – Guy Raz, NPR host All Things Considered

“With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune’s fateful journey into it…if ever there were a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it.” – Washington Post Book Review

“A story that should appeal to readers who want to be transported on a historic journey laced with suspense, science and adventure.” – Associated Press

““For All the Tea in China” is a delightful read — intrigue, suspense, eccentric characters, dastardly deeds, treachery, exotic locales.”  – Los Angeles Times

“The true story of how tea and industrial espionage fueled the great expansion of the British Empire” – Fast Company

“Book of the Week” — BBC Radio

“A fascinating story of global corporate theft and espionage.” Christian Science Monitor

“In For All the Tea in China, the most eventful era of the tea plant gets the inspired treatment it deserves.”- Minneapolis Star Tribune

“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!”- Chicago Sun Times

“Sarah Rose’s history of how tea came to be cultivated outside China reads like an adventure yarn….That he succeeded, lived to tell tale is nothing short of amazing, Rose does full justice in her appealing book.” – Charlotte Post and Courier

“A compelling sketch of the world of globalisation before the age of instant information, and transforms a modest Scottish botanist into a swashbuckling pirate capitalist, who incidentally changed the way we all have breakfast…. A genuinely curious and evocative yarn.” – Scotland on Sunday

“Our cuppa wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for an amazing Victorian, armed only with a rusty pistol and a pigtail, who stole the secret of tea from under the nose of China’s ruthless warlords.” The Daily Mail

“Surely all those old [tea] parlours that boasted portraits of the Queen or Churchill should have displayed a little picture of The Saviour of The Cuppa, too?” The Sunday Express

“Rose presents tea as the focus of an exotic adventure story.” – The Irish Times

“The Indiana Jones of Tea.” – The Daily Express

“Fascinating”  – The Observer

“Send up a prayer of thanks for the dogged Scotsman who made it all possible, Robert Fortune.” – The Times of London

“The thrilling story of how one man risked his life to change breakfast forever” – The Daily Express

“The best parts of the book are not the dangers that Fortune encountered, but Rose’s assured, confident descriptions of the manufacture of tea. Like Fortune, the reader goes on a journey of discovery.” – Mail on Sunday

“The most fun and exciting book I have read this year” – Beijing Today

“Rose has done well.” – South China Morning Post

“Smart…[a] great, intelligent read.” – Politics Daily

“This story is nothing less than remarkable.” – San Francisco Book Review

“A delicious brew of information on the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world…a remarkably riveting tale.” –Booklist, (starred review)

Booklist Editor’s Choice Pick – Best Books of 2010

“It’s an old-fashioned adventure-story-cum-travelogue: the incredible journey of a Victorian Marco Polo.”  –Strategy+Business Magazine

Best Business Books of 2010, History and Biography – Strategy+Business Magazine

“Journalist Rose is a rarity, an author who skillfully narrates her own lush work, capturing every nuance perfectly.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“Sarah Rose steeps us in the story of Robert Fortune.” – National Geographic Traveler

“[For All the Tea in China] will ensure you value your cuppa as never before.” – Country Life

“Read the amazing For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose.  It’ll get you going – in disguise, yet.” – Tattler

“[Fortune’s] story is well worth telling and despite a dearth of private papers Rose does so with skill and restraint.” – The Literary Review

“Enter Robert Fortune, botanist and plant-hunter extraordinaire – as diligent, daring and enterprising a Victorian hero as one could wish for. Sarah Rose tells a stirring tale of individual derring-do and the fate of nations.” – Books Quarterly

“It is a comfy, mildly stimulating, almost tea-like read that adds something to the fascinating history of the leaves of Camellia sinensis.” – Geographical

The Daily Telegraph’s Radio Pick of the Week.

The Guardian’s Radio Pick of the Day.

“For those who love industrial theft and espionage as much as they love a cup of black tea, this is your winter read.” – Serious Eats 

Best loved travel book of 2011 – World Hum

“Outstanding in both writing and narration.” AudioFile magazine, Earphone Award Winner.

“The spy who loved tea” – The Express

“Who knew tea could be so…hot?” – B&N Food For Thought

For All the Tea in China is a fluid and fascinating account of one small plant that soothed and solved the headaches of a nation,  and that still does, for millions of tea aficionados today.” – Contrary Magazine

“Somehow stories like these get lost as memories fade…for some reason the incredible trek of Robert Fortune has lain dormant – until author Sarah Rose dusted off his old journals and brought him back to life.” – Connect Savannah

“Written in an engaging and lively tone, Sarah Rose’s book is as much an adventure story as a piece of history.” – Catholic Herald

“[Robert Fortune] broke the tea cartel and brought tea-drinking, for both the rich and the poor, to its central place in British life today.” – Great British Life

“Sarah Rose has written a very Robert Fortune kind of book, for here he is, as he most liked to be, importantly centre stage, a spy in disguise in the heart of the empire of China.” –BBC History Magazine

“One of the niftiest and most interesting histories I’ve read lately.” – Montrose Daily Press

Sarah Rose spins this out into a popular history that provides cameos of the late Qing Dynasty, global economics, the development of botany, the tea industry, Victorian sanitation, and other interesting or delicious tidbits. – Asian Review of Books

[FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA] reads like a novel and will take you on a roller coaster of a ride from first page to last. – Newnan-Cowenta Magazine