Few have had quite the leaf influence upon me, as has Mr. Gao (aka Dr. Gao, Master Gao, or just Master). From his understated approach to communicating to his intuitive understanding of the vital 'fry' his has been a calming and entirely unpretentious influence upon my experiences and own knowledge bank. Link to the full article here.
Like all of the characters who've inspired this column, 'The Tea Sessions', it is as much about some sort of life-complicity as it is about a specific skill, though in the case of Master Gao, the skill set is as immense as he is understated. Many meals, silences, sips, and time has been spent with this steward of the leaves and his immaculate ancient tree forests. This particular journey, fellow devotee of the leaf, Marco Antonio Zamboni Zalamena (aka 'Mazz') was along for inspiration with his Yerba Mate in tow.