A young woman loves tea art. But Du Xin Yu is never allowed to touch tea while growing up because of her father’s tragic death. But after watching a show by tea master Afei, Xin Yu’s love of tea art is revived and she sneaks into Zhuo Qing Garden to take the qualification test to become Afei’s disciple. As Xin Yu works hard to prove herself, she falls in love with the tea garden chairman’s oldest son, Tang Zheng Hao, who also works in the garden. Zheng Hao’s younger half-brother, Cheng Feng, also falls for Xin Yu, which further fractures the brothers’ already contentious relationship. Di Yi Rou has always loved Zheng Hao and will do anything to make Xin Yu fail after seeing Zheng Hao’s heart taken away from her. But despite the obstacles, Xin Yu finally becomes the first female tea reviewer in China only to lose her sense of smell at the peak of her career. To complicate matters, a secret comes to light that pits Xin Yu’s and Zheng Hao’s families against each other, almost guaranteeing that the star-crossed lovers can never be together. What will become of Xin Yu’s precious career and her love for Zheng Hao? Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
I usually fast forward past the theme song introduction as well as the ending of Chinese dramas since they are 98% about showing you *spoiler* clips before you've even started the drama. Even so, it's hard to fast forward perfectly that you don't find yourself catching a glimpse here and there that causes you to start into some scenes knowing exactly what will happen. This drama was the exact opposite.
I thought I had an idea how this drama would play out. At the time, the genre tags only listed "romance" & "drama". Boy, was I in for a surprise when those theme song *spoiler* scenes ended up being so different than I anticipated. Oddly enough though, this drama is filled with every type of melodrama trope you've ever come across sans amnesia. In almost every scene it was utterly predictable how things would play out. Halfway through you could start predicting scenes 10 minutes before it happened it was so obvious.
What I thought would be a nice rom-com that taught me a thing or two about the Tea Arts quickly turned into full makjang melodrama. By episode 10, the only thing about tea you found was some life or death competition with everyone betting everything they had on a stupid outcome time and time again. I never knew there could be such intrigue and terror surrounding a Tea House. Halfway through it devolved into characters that become actually quite scary. This verged on hitting Thai lakorn levels of melodrama. So, everything that I wanted to like about this drama faded into nothing, and although I continued to watch episode after sad episode hoping that there would be light at the end of the tunnel and we could come back to just a nice OTP doing nice Tea Art, it never happened. The melodrama was taken to the very end. It doesn't matter whether there was a sad or happy ending, because the predictability left the ending flat.
Zhu Peer was the best part of this drama. He acted his heart out. Great comedic timing and effort to give all to having good chemistry with his leading lady. He made melodrama actually look normal and natural. Acting beside some of the other cast made them look like they were reading a badly written speech, while he was playing along. At times it almost felt ad lib with him.
Pan Zhi Lin did her best to act her part. She maintained great chemistry with her leading man, but when apart from him, she struggled to pull off anything special in her character. She often came across as giving trite monologues clearly written for her to sound like some sort of sage of tea that often didn't go with the situation. She is made in to be this super powerful person who changes people with her tea, but there just wasn't enough invested in that aspect of it to warrant believability. She came here be taught but I don't recall her being taught very much at all. Those relationships and aspects were just glossed over in favor of all the quadrangle romances and scheming. It was a detriment to her character where they gave her so much drama her acting got drowned out by it.
The most confusing acting came from Dai Xiang Yu. If I'm being honest with myself, he did an excellent job in his part for what this drama was asking, but I struggled with watching his character. He has two sides of him and I can't put my finger on it actually other than to come to the conclusion that this guy, irl, is such a good guy that it comes through regardless of the situation. I think because of that, everything else had to be over-the-top to compensate. I'm not sure how to think about his acting because of it.
The music was fairly cute. Nothing super catchy that I'd download any of the songs, but appropriate to whatever scene was happening. It wasn't overbearing or annoying and there were maybe 1 or 2 songs that could stick in your head later on.
REWATCH: 0/10 <= I gave it a 1 cause I had to give it something
NOPE, ain't gonna happen. Once was definitely enough. Not enough cuteness to even warrant fast forwarding a second watch.
Honestly, I cannot believe I watched this whole thing all the way through without dropping it. I'll say that it was because of the two lead males that I did. One, because I liked Zheng Hao as a character and, two, because I was hoping for something wonderfully special from Cheng Feng that ultimately never happened. If the acting from them hadn't been so interesting, I'd have scraped watching this story. It was so not worth the price of admission.