Tea on Film | The Best Tea Documentaries

For many people across the globe, having tea is a daily tradition.  Whether it is part of a regular meal, a relaxing treat, or part of its own special traditions, the act of drinking tea crosses into many cultures.  The number of available varieties is at times stunning, with some even being considered for use based on their medicinal qualities.  If you are curious about the history of the beverage, as well as how it is used today, consider curling up with a nice cup of silver needle tea and taking the time to view the following documentary films.

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All in This Tea

All in This Tea is one of the most well-known tea-related documentaries available.  It tracks the journey of an American tea lover and importer, David Lee Hoffman, as he explores the country of China looking for the best teas available during the 1990s.  The film is part informational, part personal commentary, with interviews of other tea aficionados throughout.

The Lord of Darjeeling

Focused on the life of Rajah Banerjee, often referred to as the Lord of Darjeeling, it chronicles his work as the owner of the Makaibari Estate.  Additional information can also be found in his books, such as “The Rajah of Darjeeling Organic Tea: Makaibari.”

The Meaning of Tea

This film explores the worldwide meaning of tea, and how the meaning has changed in response to various technology and cultural shifts, especially the prevalence of mass marketed, mass produced food and beverage products.  It include information on the varieties available, and the complexities found within each, as well as traditional uses and intrinsic value.

The Renaissance of Tea

If you are looking for information pertaining to both the history and culture of tea, while also reviewing the proper preparation methods, then this is your ideal film.  Focused on the processing techniques found in China and Taiwan, while also including information regarding the use of tea within the United States, this film provides a unique perspective on the industry of tea.

Robert Fortune: Tea Thief

Robert Fortune: Tea Thief, chronicles the efforts of Robert Fortune, a Scottish botanist chosen to help the British Empire to spy on Imperial China for the purpose of learning their secrets related to tea.  This included exploration of the secret manufacturing processes that had been kept sacred for approximately 5,000 years.

Tea – Chakyouibun

An opera based on the historical occurrences, Tea tells the story of Seikyo as he finds peace from “bitter love” through the use of ritual tea ceremonies.  Tea serves as an updated telling of an ancient story, combining aspects of traditional Italian opera, classic Western orchestral arrangements, and the sounds of nature.

Looking for More Information?

The cultural significance of tea has been widely and regularly documented.  If you are looking for more information, consider the various television shows, such as Tea: A Revolution Brewing, produced by the BBC World News, or the eight part documentary series The Ancient Tea Road from CCTV-News.

Additional information can also be found in a variety of books, including information about the history of tea, various ceremonies and traditions using tea, as well as its use in different cultures today.  You can learn about specific types including black, green, and white teas, as well as the use of herbal and medicinal teas through history.

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