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all in this tea

January 12, 2010

All in this Tea (2007) is a documentary film directed by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht and was filmed mainly in the Anxi Province in China. The film follows rogue tea collector and importer David Lee Hoffman, former owner of Silk Road Teas, through China as he sources some of the best teas on the planet. In doing so, it is apparent why it is so difficult to find top quality tea in North America. Doing business in China is not easy. Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of Hoffman, though, the future of organic, quality teas is very bright.

Hoffman is portrayed as a renegade tea aficionado, pioneer and hero. He wants only the best tea, and he knows exactly what he is looking for. Just a quick glance and slight whiff of the dry leaf is all he needs to make a decision on whether to buy it or not. His skill is uncanny, an eye and a palate trained through a passion for tea and years of experience.

The film is beautiful. The landscape of the tea fields is breathtaking. There is a certain romance to the ceremony of tea, from the craftsmanship of making tea to preparing the tea and then, finally, drinking it. It’s ritualistic, traditional and cerebral. This film shows tea on a holistic level, from the leaf to the artisan to the cup. Several other well known people in the tea industry are also featured in All in this Tea. One of these is James Norwood Pratt, a renowned authority on wine and tea and author of James Norwood Pratt’s New Tea Lover’s Treasury. He offers a great briefing on tea history, a good background for those unfamiliar with the evolution of tea culture and the tea industry.

I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary, I was very excited to find that a film like this existed. Before All in this Tea I had no idea of the impact David Lee Hoffman had on the modern tea industry and on the increasing quality of teas available to us today. It was very educational and inspiring. I am looking forward to viewing and reading much more about tea, if anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment below.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 11:39 pm

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to view this, but I can never catch it! I wonder if I can find it online anywhere….

  2. January 13, 2010 10:30 am

    Thank you for your wonderful review. I just want to let people know that the film is currently being broadcast on the Sundance Channel’s “The Green” series until April, 2010. The DVD is also available from the web site,

  3. cortneywagner permalink*
    January 13, 2010 10:48 pm

    Thanks for your post Gina! Amazing work on the film, it is beautiful. All the tea fans love it! “All in this Tea” is inspiring and enlightening. I will “tweet” all the info you just posted to my followers on Twitter.

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