The Meaning of Tea- A Film Review

By Jason Walker

Scott Chamberlin Hoyt pours out a visually spectacular and emotionally captivating chronicle of tea in the lives of people around the globe.

The Meaning of Tea is just that, a documentary that seeks to discover the meaning that tea has in our modern, daily lives. The scope ranges from the economic importance tea plays among women tea pickers in India to the waning of traditional Japanese tea culture in light of the rising popularity of coffee. We even get taken to Tea, South Dakota to discover the interplay of small-town values, tea, and the decline of front-porch hospitality. Not to mention stops in France, Morocco, Taiwan, and the UK.

Does tea bring us in touch with the spiritual? James Norwood Pratt and master teapot maker Zeng Cai Wan would say so. Does it connect us to those around us? Does it give us a chance to slow down and reflect on our lives? Ronen Dutta captures it best. There's something humorous about the way he reminds us that the word "tea" doesn't actually have any meaning. It is the needs and desires we bring to tea that impart the herb with so much potential. And the people we meet in The Meaning of Tea ascribe so much to the little leaf. Some is spiritual and deep. Other times, tea brings people and families together. And still other times, tea just carries laughter.

Of course, we are reminded that Hoyt is shaping the story we see. The film comes together in a way to remind us that tea brings us to nature. Picturesque scenes of flowing water create a cohesive flow between the vignettes of tea and life. Tea drinkers are even reminded of our connections to those who may not even appreciate tea.

However you pour it, The Meaning of Tea invites you to explore the meaning you ascribe to your tea. By the end of the 74 minute film, you will be left with a smile on your face, a sense of contemplation, and the feeling of satisfaction you get after enjoying a nice cup of tea.

Visit the film's page here: The Meaning of Tea. The Meaning of Tea will be exhibiting at this year's World Tea Expo.

Jason Walker operates Walker Tea Review, a video blog where you can find tea tastings and tea reviews of teas from retailers that include Adagio Teas. In his videos, Jason brings his experience of living in China and managing corporate education to bear in helping tea drinkers select and enjoy their tea experiences.