At Cambridge I used to be friends with a Chinese gentleman who had brought his own Chinese tea to England. We were room neighbours in a house owned by Darwin College. We enjoyed the most exquisite moments of friendship while sipping his Chinese tea. And smoking. We were both heavy smokers.
He was very tall (as many Chinese are, especially from the North), very friendly, dignified, patient, bright and careful in his judgements. I understand he was one of the first Chinese to come over to the West to study free market economics (-- good luck to anyone who thinks he will be offered free market economics at a European university; I wasn't).
A notable scientist, Zhang had hidden from the cultural revolution in the Army, where he worked as a cook.
Boy, could he cook. Thanks to him I got to know the authentic Chinese cuisine, which, even by my Mediterranean-leaning taste, is probably the best in the world.
Incidentally, on my last trip to France, I learned in a pâtisserie with attached salon de thé that the taste of your Earl Grey can be enhanced when you put the tea bag in a cup of cold water for a couple of minutes before preparing it as usual.
I am off to prepare another pot of tea.