Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby tea fish » Apr 27th, '10, 14:12

Hi Tea peeps--

I haven't posted for a while, I know, though I do still visit periodically and it's nice to overhear all the lively confabulation that happens at TC. Anyway, I wanted to let those of you who live around Boston know that this coming Friday evening (4/30) there's going to be a screening of a film called "All in this Tea."

If you want to read more about it and see a clip, here's some info on the event:

http://www.food24fps.com/

I'm planning to attend. If there are other TCers around Boston interested in attending too, so much the better!
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby rabbit » Apr 27th, '10, 15:58

I'd love to go, but I'm too lazy to drive to Boston, let me know how it is, if it's worth it I'll just buy it on the guys website.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby nonc_ron » Apr 28th, '10, 22:01

After seeing it on TV a couple times. And
after Googleing "All in this Tea" and finding two or three places selling it.
I now have my own copy of "All in this Tea" :D
I think it cost me around $25.00 (worth it)
It's by David Lee Hoffman who owned Silk Road Teas.
http://www.allinthistea.com/
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby tea fish » May 2nd, '10, 10:09

The movie was good! It showed David Lee Hoffman tramping around small tea farms and meeting farmers (and enthusing about worms too). These scenes were intercut with comments from James Norwood Pratt (about tea as a "living archaeology") and Winnie Yu.

Afterwards, Mark Mooradian from MEM teas in Somerville invited us for a tea tasting upstairs. It was an introductory sort of thing, but nice. We tried silver needles, a jade oolong, and a puerh.

I was feelin the tea Renaissance vibes!
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby tea fish » May 2nd, '10, 10:11

Oh and another interesting thing I learned: apparently, according to official/traditional Chinese tea scholarship/lore, there are 3500 kinds of tea in China. And a tea master must be able to identify 1000 of these on sight. Pretty impressive.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby beachape » May 2nd, '10, 22:37

Watched the trailer. What if a Chinese guy came to america, didn't speak any English, and started telling you how to make better hamburgers... probably wouldn't take him seriously would you?
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby rabbit » May 3rd, '10, 12:08

beachape wrote:Watched the trailer. What if a Chinese guy came to america, didn't speak any English, and started telling you how to make better hamburgers... probably wouldn't take him seriously would you?


I haven't even seen the preview for it, but if that is what happens in the movie it does kinda make me sad :( I just pictured a happy man frolicking in the tea gardens...
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby Spittingoutteet... » May 3rd, '10, 15:49

Watched the trailer. What if a Chinese guy came to america, didn't speak any English, and started telling you how to make better hamburgers... probably wouldn't take him seriously would you?


If the guy was a world-renowned expert and was handing me a huge check, I'd be more than happy to have him dictate his needs for a proper hamburger to sell to his customers.

Hoffman is simply doing what any good buyer does--find the best possible product for his customers. He pays the farmers top dollar to not only produce tea that is of the best possible quality, but also rewards those who use sustainable farming techniques which ensure that the lands where these teas are produced will remain healthy for years to come. I don't see how any of this is a bad thing.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby beachape » May 3rd, '10, 21:48

I think that would be perfectly fine for an advertisement film that shows off his tea sources and his fair trade ideas etc. I have no problem with that. I just don't like the "expert American" tramping around telling native Chinese how they are doing things wrong...and making a video of it.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby Spittingoutteet... » May 4th, '10, 10:02

I would suggest watching the film and not just the trailer. Hoffman spent many years living in China and has tremendous respect for the farmers and the product they produce.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby beachape » May 4th, '10, 10:19

I guess the trailer is probably much more "sexy" than the actual film. Unfortunately it turned me off to the film. Otherwise it is nice to have more people interested in tea.

I don't have the cash for the film but I am curious about his displeasure with Chinese tea big business. Is he focusing on Chinese domestic tea markets or on the export market?
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby aya_s » May 4th, '10, 17:44

I saw this film more than a year ago in San Francisco, so I can answer your question, but let me add a giant spoilers banner just in case:

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Hoffman's problem is that he wants to purchase tea from specific farmers rather than tea from the local government, much like say, we purchase hand-picked produce at a farmer's market rather than getting a crate of fruit delivered from a grocery store chain. He wants tea that was grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers (there's a cool scene where he smells tea and can tell just from the smell if it was grown with chemical fertilizer), and there is no such guarantee of quality if he receives a giant box o' tea through the local government.

The film focuses on his difficulties trying to explain to officials when exporting that he wants to purchase *this* tea, the tea he holds in his hands, as he's been able to firsthand smell and taste its quality, not a giant crate of "tea like this" from the government that could come from any grower, and that he has not been able to examine by himself.

I gather the Chinese system is more built around having crates of tea produced in the factories and all sent to a warehouse, and sending tea out from the warehouse when ordered, and is not set up at all to cut out the middleman and let a person purchase tea directly from a farmer and export it.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby gingkoseto » May 5th, '10, 00:58

Now thinking more of it, I feel something very special about Hoffman is, he wanted tea directly from manufacturers, instead of taking from importers/distributors, not even from exporters on Chinese side. This sounds intuitive but was quite unusual, especially a decade ago.

Just last month, a Chinese friend told me he didn't think good tea could be sold overseas and I was totally shocked by his view. But then he explained to me that the big exporters (used to be state-owned but now pretty much private dealers) he knows of are only interested in exporting cheap teas, which obviously maximize their profits. And the foreign importers who deal with these exporters would only buy cheap teas. I told this friend that nowadays more and more American companies buy directly from China, or have their own buyers to deal with Chinese manufacturers. The cheap tea exporters and importers are not involved in such hunting for real good tea. Thinking of this, we have to say Hoffman was one of the earliest to have such business adventures. I think that's quite admirable.

But I do feel the film tends to glorify Hoffman (which I don't think is necessary because what he did is already great). I guess the producer is/was not a tea drinker.
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby Spittingoutteet... » May 5th, '10, 10:45

Thinking of this, we have to say Hoffman was one of the earliest to have such business adventures. I think that's quite admirable.


I agree completely. He was definitely one of the pioneers in ensuring the export of the highest quality Chinese teas to Western consumers which, as the film shows, is not an easy task.

I still don't get the perspective that Hoffman is "telling native Chinese how they are doing things wrong". He's not telling them anything that they don't already know--that overburdening the land and using excessive chemical fertilizers makes for inferior tea. It's mentioned in the film that many of the farmers utilizing such practices usually have a section of their farm where they produce their own teas and produce that is completely organic and sustainable, because they know it creates the best product. It's simply that the Chinese government favors quantity over quality for export purposes, so it's in the farmers' best interests to make large yields of inferior product (at least at the time the film was made; growing interest in quality tea in the West seems to be changing this slightly).

Sorry, but again, watch the film before you critique it. To condemn Hoffman or the film based on a crappy two minute trailer is pretty ridiculous. If you want to check out the film, you can download it from www.surrealmoviez.info (register, then search for "All In this Tea").
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Re: Upcoming Tea Film Screening near Boston

Postby beachape » May 5th, '10, 17:36

IMO I don't think it is ridiculous to make judgments based on trailers. Thats what trailers are for. When I saw the trailer, I had a bad impression...basically it shows "white guy "expert" arguing with Chinese people in English."

Based on others' enthusiasm , it seems that this is just a bad representation of the real film.

tried that movie site...but said registration is closed :(
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