Tracing Tea

The tea we’re drinking right now will typically have made its way a great distance in a relatively short period of time. Of course, this was not always the case. In earlier days tea had to come to the rest of the world from China – and later India – by one of two routes. It had either to come by a lengthy sea voyage around the perilous tip of southern Africa or on a trying overland trip from Asia to Europe.

The sea route around southern Africa was probably more heavily traveled for purposes of tea transport, but it was the land route that became the focus for the Tracing Tea project. This is described by its participants as “the international collaboration of four students and a film crew who have a love of tea strong enough to survive 15,000 km in three-wheeled auto-rickshaws.”

The Tracing Tea expedition was planned to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the introduction of tea into Britain. The trip was originally planned to take the team through 18 countries in total and is being documented in a number of ways – including the Tracing Tea Web site – and is expected to one day form the basis for a documentary film and book. Excerpts of an early planning journey along the route are among the many bits and pieces already posted at the Tracing Tea site.

Some of the other highlights, photo and video galleries chronicling various parts of the route, including forays through China, central Asia, Iran, Turkey and more. Among the sizable selection of film clips are one that recalls a mishap in Austria, another that looks at a trying bureaucratic snafu in Kyrgyzstan and another of a trip though Darjeeling, India. Among the other worthwhile highlights at the site are a blog that covers various facets of the journeys and overall project and a book extract from one of the team members.

Don’t forget to check out Tea Guy Speaks!

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