I went and saw the movie Ratatouille today. A thoroughly enjoyable movie, and I would recommend everybody of all ages to go see it. In the movie there’s a character, Anton Ego, who’s a food critic who revels in being negative. This character made me think. It is easy to become simply critical of everything one encounters when it comes to tea, but it is important to not lose sight of the joys of drinking, and the hard work went into the making of the tea that we drink. Much of the tea out there are mere products of a factory, made with machine and devoid of any real soul, but others are crafted by hand, made with an attention to detail not unlike a cook does with raw ingredients for a dish. They size it up, they see what they’ve got, and then make the best of it. There is, indeed, much joy when one can truly praise something with no reservations, but even when the are criticisms to be made, the critic could only do so because somebody has bothered to make it. However, tea, in its final stage as a liquid to be drunk, is actually a symbiosis of both its creator and its critic. While we are evaluating the tea that was made by somebody else, we are, at the same time, evaluating our own rendition of the leaves that were given to us. In that sense, the critic is also a participant in the process of making the tea, and perhaps that’s why it is even more delightful to drink a great cup — both as the critic who delights in enjoying it, and as the co-creator who made it.