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My cup of tea dating game

, taste as if the place they’re from is the only place they could ever be from.

Until recently, the millennia-old Chinese tea industry was tightly shuttered, even more than the country as a whole. Lately, though, an outward-looking China has been marketing its cultural patrimony, and tourism to tea-growing areas is encouraged.

It’s rare, expensive, and frequently counterfeited, but this one was authentic.

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It took me two flights from Hong Kong, already on the far side of the world from home, and two days of waiting for Liu Guo Ying to lead me on an hour-and-a-half-long hike—up a slope that would have seemed steep to a mountain goat—to tea gardens that few outsiders have ever seen.

And it kept getting better—richer and rounder with every cup.

By the time I’d finished the pot, I’d formulated a mission.

Large metal teapots sat atop buildings, announcing them as tea factories.

Even though I didn’t speak the language and couldn’t grasp the customs, I felt like I fit in perfectly.

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