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With a little help from my friends.
I never expected to find tea so suddenly fascinating. But when So Han Fan, resident tea master and proprietor of West China Tea Co. from Austin, Texas, landed on my doorstep and offered me traditional gongfu cha, I instantly gravitated toward the microcosmic world of tea, its history, the stories behind its cultivation and ancient roots in human societies. I spent a lifetime believing that tea comes in little sachets full of dust, never once seeing the whole leaf or savoring a truly well made and elegantly presented cup of this mysterious, storied, botanical infusion.
Tea has a way of bending the destiny of those caught in its orbit. Perhaps the great intelligences of this world are not the haughty bipedal descendants of apes, but the clever plants that have so cunningly persuaded us to cultivate them throughout the passing millennia.
There will be more to come. Ideas are steeping...