After a casual date in Taiwan took him to an all-night Chinese tea ceremony, Jeff Fuchs was hooked – he wanted to find out all about the tea culture. The documentary, based on Fuch’s book called The Ancient Tea Horse Road: Travels with the Last of the Himalayan Muleteers, will air on the documentary channel July 23 at 9 pm ET.
Originally from Manotick, Ontario, Fuchs spent a decade travelling to China’s Yunnan Province, the origin of all tea on earth before exploring the ‘Tea Horse Road’ – a 5,000 km mule trail through the Himalaya Mountains. Fuchs shares his knowledge and enthusiasm on a teascape tour: leaves harvested, fried and dried, prepared for market and then presented for drinking.
Yunnan locals say it was an almost mythical pathway that tea traders followed through the Himalayas – a treacherous six month trek passing through nearly twenty-five cultures, before arriving at the trading centres of Bengal and Kathmandu. Tea trading on the Road ended in the 1950s after the Chinese invaded Tibet. A half century later Fuchs was determined to retrace the traders’ steps.
“I think the Tea Horse Road journey is one of the reasons why tea is the second-most consumed fluid on the planet,” Fuchs says. In this documentary, viewers watch Fuchs as he travels the roadway. On the way Fuchs meets some of the surviving tea traders who recall their own journeys on the Tea Horse Road.