Imagine five folks just off the street of Taiwan, where scooters fly past recklessly and to which corrugated steel grates close at night. In they sit, on finished stumps, before the cross section of a much grander tree. Behind them, Taipei loudly beats the stuffing out of Saudi Arabia in baseball. In front of them, a man explains that when making tea, he prefers the old way of cooking the leaves, on charcoal, rather than electrically, for the full month. He rolls each tea leaf into a dried, compressed ball by hand.
To get to the bathroom, you have to climb something of a ladder past the shop’s desk, and walk through a living room past a silver, state of the art karaoke set. The man conducting the tea ceremony pours a few of the leaves out from their tiny pot, into a Space Jam mug, to show you how profoundly they expand when they again become wet.