Les Blank's handheld camera
takes us into the hidden world of tea by following world-renowned
tea expert David Lee Hoffman to some of the most remote regions
of China in search of the best handmade teas in the world.
Hoffman is a step ahead of his own country in that he is advocating
“fair trade” and organics. Despite Hoffman’s
at times argumentative and condescending manner, we become increasingly
empathetic to him; he is only one small voice against a vast and
The film moves from a modern, urban setting to a pastoral China
rarely glimpsed by westerners.. Scenes shot in cinema verité
are interwoven with more formal presentations about the fundamentals
of tea with tea authorities James
, Gaetano Kazuo Maida, and Winnie W. Yu.