For All the Tea in China is interesting reading, giving a focused view of Fortune's travels, his opinions of the Chinese, and his errors and successes in dealing with the people. There are also some wonderful descriptions of scenery, and an account of the almost unbelievable difficulties in transporting plants and specimens, even with the new Wardian cases that kept plants alive and essentially self-watering in airtight casing—provided, that is, they were not broken in transit or weren't opened by curious officials, both of which happened to Fortune when he tried to ship green tea back.
It's hard to believe Fortune managed to sneak so many bulky cases full of tea and tea plants out, much less contact and contract the tea experts, yet somehow, he did—and this despite never really understanding Chinese culture.
Recommended to people who like tales of travel, enjoy tea and stories about tea, or who are interested in Victorian England and its empire.
(2) by James Norwood says that the native Indian tea was much superior and the hybrids are nearly worthless. I have no way of knowing which tale is true.
Published March 18th 2010 by Viking Adult
Original Title: For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula of the World's Favourite Drink
ISBN 0670021520 (ISBN13: 9780670021529)
(1) The book has two subtitles and two covers. It's either For all the Tea in China: How England Stole the Worlds' Favorite Drink and Changed History for a later printing or For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink. I guess it's a matter of choosing the cover you like best.
(2) An excellent book, by the by.