Five Things I Like and Dislike. Quick Judgements, Tea Chat Rooms, Condensed Descriptions.

Five more things I like & dislike…

Tried Some Teas From Pu’erh YS & W2T (Or Vendor X). They’re Bad. Where Can I Buy Better Pu’erh?

I’ve seen statements like this on and off throughout the years and I don’t like it. The more scant the evidence the more I find this frustrating. A few times, I’ve seen people refuse or willfully forget to say which teas they’ve tried from these vendors. This isn’t helpful at all. If you’re going to lob grenades at well-established vendors you should be very specific on what you have and have not tried and how you’ve brewed it. If you’re a beginner, there’s a good chance this has more to do with your experience than the tea quality being subpar.

Yunnan Sourcing is a massive shop. It covers a huge range of pu’erh alone. you’ll have a very different experience with their tea depending on what you ordered. There are legitimate reasons to check out other shops for pu’erh but if you tried the two cheapest things on Yunnan Sourcing’s site, that does not make you an expert. It’s probably not a good idea to dismiss them categorically with such limited experience. White2Tea is smaller and a bit more curated, but there is still a significant range of style and quality. I’ve seen people pull full 180s on both of these vendors before. Keep an open mind and don’t jump to conclusions after a session or two.

r/tea. A good place in general to discuss tea.

Slow Tea

ICYMI, check out Cwyn’s post on Personal Puerh Aesthetic: the Why. It’s now been nearly half a year since she published it, but it’s a post worth reading and reflecting on. I think it encapsulates a good chunk of what ends up being the appeal of gong-fu tea. I might add, that I don’t think it necessarily needs to be pu’erh-specific and could be extended to other sorts of tea.

I have a morning habit of one fairly concentrated tea session where I really take my time. I do this before getting started at work. Typically I’ll drink smallish cups and maybe get through 7-10 steeps before really diving into my day. As someone that works from home, it slows me down in a very good way before I dive into more “productive” tasks.

Slack/Discord Chat

If you dig deep into the deep tea web, you’ll find a few tea-based communities on discord and slack. These groups are sometimes loosely tied in with steepster, reddit, and/or facebook.. The solo-drinking westerner has been well-covered, and these are interesting communities to branch out and converse. These groups tend to be a little more intimate and tight-knit, with the demographics likely on the younger end.

Slack. Built for workplaces. Better for tea chat.

Condensed Descriptions W2T. 1-2 Sentence Tea Descriptions.

There’s a few things that have become annual discussions when W2T’s spring line drops. One of them is their wrappers, where I stand as fiercely neutral. I just don’t care that much about the aesthetic and will stand on the side while stronger opinions speak out.

Another is descriptions. Historically W2T has been pretty sparse on information. For this, I’m somewhat sympathetic towards W2T but at the same time can understand preferring more information. Most people don’t want to sample every tea and descriptions are a useful way to filter. This year TwoDog decided to give short one-two sentence descriptions per tea in a marketing email. The sentences are concise but I think they give good information in an efficient, condensed manner. Count me as a supporter of this.

Some spitballing.. I think this may actually be a good format for other vendors as well. There’s often a lot of fluff in descriptions and a shorter format forces you to get to the point. Something like 4-5 descriptive sentences might be ideal for other vendors.

A surprisingly descriptive email.

Pu’erh Storage Hypochondriacs

Hypochondriac – a person who is abnormally anxious about their health.

Storage is an unknown for most people in the west. We don’t always know how it will turn out in the long-term or even short-term. Occasionally this uncertainty can be anxiety inducing.. After a bad session or two, I’ve seen people work themselves into a hysteria about their storage, convinced something deeper is wrong. Generally speaking, I think people should take a long view on these things.

Pu’erh storage is long-term. This includes most negatives which tend to be slow burning issues. It is of course possible to get mold quickly under extreme conditions, but that’s also easy to diagnose with an obvious cause and effect.

Freaking out about your storage? Take a step back and calm down.. You probably did not permanently screw up your whole stash. If it’s just been a few months or so, there’s tons of plausible explanations, most of them treatable. Break up some samples, get other opinions. I’ve had a few samples sent to me under this context and sometimes I don’t even think anything is wrong! Even in the cases where something is haywire with your pu’erh storage it will not make a big difference if it takes you a month to figure out the proper solution versus an hour.

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10 Responses to Five Things I Like and Dislike. Quick Judgements, Tea Chat Rooms, Condensed Descriptions.

  1. MattCha says:

    James,

    I think that article by Cwyn is the best article ever published in English regarding puerh. I’ve read it many times. I think it’s so powerful because it takes a big picture look at puerh and contains lots of truths. I think we get all too caught up in the minutiae of puerh- just like in life it’s easy to do this.

    Regarding the white2tea personality test, I think you are the third blogger to openly applaud this direction with that marketing email. I also think it is actually a pretty accurate metric too! Apparently, I’m someone who wishes he could have affordable Naka while posing as a millionaire who likes a good fight! Hahaha. It actually explains my puerh buying these days quite well as well as my personality in general! I consider myself a budget puerh buyer who is trying to spend more these days.

    On the other hand, if you choose the link that best describes you it has a powerful marketing effect of making the product more personalized towards you and therefore renders you more likely to buy… but isn’t that the point in the first place?

    Paul and Cwyn are both brilliant individuals who have done much to advance puerh drinking in the West.

    Peace

  2. Chris J says:

    Thanks for the post, lots of interesting stuff to take in for someone new to the tea world like me. Would you mind directing me towards any of the slack tea servers?

    • James says:

      I’m not sure how much I should explicitly shout them out. But you can find one in the steepster forums and a discord associated with the reddit (r/tea).

      -James

    • Aardvark Cheeselog says:

      Be active as a goodposter someplace public and you might get an invite.

  3. Zealousy says:

    Great post! Thanks for shouting out the Tea Discord! We’d love to have you!

  4. Chris says:

    For what it is worth, there is a new-ish tea sight, still in it’s beginning stages, but I’m hopeful.

    https://www.rinsedtea.com/

    There is a Yunnan Guide, that is slowly being put together, excited for that.

    Other than Teadb, there are not a lot of quality tea drinking communities, or sites. Unless, I’m missing them. I don’t seem to really gel with what communities there are presently. Happy Steeping!

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