One Cup: A Thousand Stories

Tea is so much more than a refreshing, delicious drink. It has had a significant impact on art, culture, religion, and well-being. Journeying across the beautiful and varied landscapes of China to explore its many teas, this fascinating documentary visits the people who have built a life around tea and explores the culture it has created.

Watch One Cup: A Thousand Stories and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.

One Cup: A Thousand Stories on BBC Select

Episode 1: For The Love of Tea
For many in Asia, tea is more than a drink. It’s sustenance for mind, body and soul.

For many, tea is sustenance for mind, body and soul, the very lifeblood of humanity. This innovative documentary looks at the connection between tea, health and well-being. The tribal De’ang people believe themselves to be literally made of tea, whilst in the shadow of the beautiful Mount Emei a martial artist finesses his strikes and punches, strengthened by Snowbud Tea.

Episode 2: The Art of Tea
Looking at how beautiful tea cultures flourished, with their ceremonies and rituals.

Tea ceremonies of the past inform present day rituals including breathtaking outdoor events for 100 people on the banks of a Taiwanese river. The artistic attributes of tea are explored in this illuminating documentary. International teapot artist Mr. Gao explains the energy flow of his creations, while in London’s oldest hotel, Brown’s, the strange ritual of Afternoon Tea is raised to a new level.

Episode 3: Tea For the Soul
The spiritual side of tea is explored, where it’s viewed as a portal to an other world.

For many, tea has a spiritual dimension and can be seen as a portal to other worlds. This engrossing documentary witnesses alone monk on his life’s mission to recreate the tea cakes of a famous sage from the early Tang Dynasty. In an austere nunnery near Wuhan, the nuns experience every stage of tea-making, from picking all the way through to drinking, as an act of prayerful meditation.

Episode 4: To The Ends of the Earth
How tea spread from China across the globe, reshaping each new culture it encountered.

Tea traveled from China and soon conquered every corner of the world. This remarkable documentary looks at tea’s global domination. Starting on the treacherous Tea Horse Road stretching from southern China into Tibet, India and beyond, the healing wonder of matcha tea in an ancient Japanese temple is explored. In Darjeeling, the power of the British Empire tea trade is revealed.

Ep 5: The Tastes of the Tea Trade
Criss-crossing the globe, the entrepreneurship and ambition of the tea trade is explored.

Far from being viewed as an old-fashioned drink with ancient origins, the modern tea trade is vast and innovative. This intriguing documentary looks at the current business globally. In Dubai, a massive hub sells millions of tons of tea, traded from east to west. In Fujian Province, the beautiful withering process of White Tea, increasing in popularity in China and around the world, is seen.

Episode 6: Tea Without Limits
How visionary tea-makers are looking to the future and challenging us to taste new teas.

What is the future for tea? Will tastes change drastically? This exciting documentary looks at the possible path that tea might take. In the stunning highlands of Malawi, the Rare Tea Lady tries to wean African producers away from cheap teas to aromatic high-end blends. In Shanghai, one restaurant pairs seasonal teas and gourmet food. And the global youth fad of Bubble Tea is explored.

BBC Select free trial

BBC Select is available on Amazon Prime Video Channels, the Apple TV app and The Roku Channel for only $5.99 a month. Start a 7-day free trial and watch a range of acclaimed documentaries from the BBC and beyond. Restrictions apply*.

Get it on Apple TV
Prime Video - Channels
The Roku Channel