5 years ago
Monday, August 31, 2009
This film, "All in This Tea," showed up again this weekend on the Sundance channel. It's a fine documentary about David Lee Hoffman, a pioneer in tasting tea and bringing the good stuff to America. Hoffman's one of those amazing guys who can slurp a hundred cups of tea in one round and read ’em each like books. He knows the farmers have the best tea, and he walks into villages in China where they all gather and shove bags of tea in his face. He's a walking, talking tea detector.
The film is by Les Blank, a documentarian with a very hands-off style. He's a pro at profiling interesting people and ferreting out the magic in what they do, simply by watching them do it. (Apropos of nothing, he made a mind-blowing documentary years ago about rock pianoman Leon Russell, which Russell refuses to allow him to release. It's that good. I saw it when Blank screened it on my college campus.) Lots of good tea info, interesting footage of China's tea backroads, and a most curious person. It only shows up on the Sundance schedule every so often, so keep a lookout.
Here's more video — this from the studious Samovar site in San Francisco — of Hoffman doing his thing ...