Tasting techniques and other similar things


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 4th, '13, 17:46

Adam My:
I remember sitting in a university classroom in China a few years ago, most of my classmates from other east Asian countries but a very few Westerners, the Asian students taking notes on what the experienced teacher was teaching, but a couple of the Westerners forever shooting their hands up in the air asking "why?" whenever they were told something by the teacher.
Which was very frustrating for everyone because no one was at the level to understand the explanation. If you study maths or science at age 12, your teachers will not bother explain the intricacies of quantum physics to you no matter how many whys you ask, because you don't know enough whats at that age.

I think most people in the west grow out of the "too many whys" stage by the time they leave school. There's definitely an art in knowing when to content for a while with absorbing and taking stock, before returning to the questions. But maybe this is something that only comes with a bit of perspective.

I mean, if you get that worked up about these things there are plenty of topics about yixing teapots, for instance, that no one asks "why" about, i.e. why is this clay better than that one, there's some smart speculation about porosity or high/low-firedness but a lot of it boils down to accepting either ones own judgement or the judgement of others. Shouldn't you be asking questions about all that too?

Let's put it another way. You may not know why/how acupuncture works. But you find yourself needing an operation, without anaesthetic, and you've seen two previous patients undergo the same operation, with acupuncture, and they didn't feel much pain. You're about to go under the knife and are offered the acupuncture, do you decline?

That's not to say I find the original topic hugely plausible, but I think you overstate your scepticism.

Finally, your quote: "Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist"

This only makes logical sense if you believe in God. You can't have an explanation existing without that someone is there to do the explaining, i.e. someone who already knows. And a belief in God is not easily compatible with too many "whys" and too many proofs, right?
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby AdamMY » Mar 4th, '13, 18:03

yanom wrote:Adam My:
I remember sitting in a university classroom in China a few years ago, most of my classmates from other east Asian countries but a very few Westerners, the Asian students taking notes on what the experienced teacher was teaching, but a couple of the Westerners forever shooting their hands up in the air asking "why?" whenever they were told something by the teacher.
Which was very frustrating for everyone because no one was at the level to understand the explanation. If you study maths or science at age 12, your teachers will not bother explain the intricacies of quantum physics to you no matter how many whys you ask, because you don't know enough whats at that age.

I think most people in the west grow out of the "to many whys" stage by the time they leave school. There's definitely an art in knowing when to content for a whilewith absorbing and taking stock, before returning to the questions. But maybe this is something that only comes with a bit of perspective.

I mean, if you get that worked up about these things there are plenty of topics about yixing teapots, for instance, that no one asks "why" about, i.e. why is this clay better than that one, there's some smart speculation about porosity or high/low-firedness but a lot of it boils down to accepting either ones own judgement or the judgement of others. Shouldn't you be asking questions about all that too?

Let's put it another way. You may not know why/how acupuncture works. But you find yourself needing an operation, without anaesthetic, and you've seen two previous patients undergo the same operation, with acupuncture, and they didn't feel much pain. You're about to go under the knife and are offered the acupuncture, do you decline?

That's not to say I find the original topic hugely plausible, but I think you overstate your scepticism.

Finally, your quote: "Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist"

This only makes logical sense if you believe in God. You can't have an explanation existing without that someone is there to do the explaining, i.e. someone who already knows. And a belief in God is not easily compatible with too many "whys" and too many proofs, right?



To the last part; that is blatantly false, but I don't want to get into a theological discussion in a tea chat room.

I am an academic on track to receive a doctorate in mathematics, but I am also a teacher. To answer your first point, if your teacher responds with anything along the lines of "you don't know enough to understand," in most cases they are a bad teacher, it really only is when you are at the very high levels when things become horribly intertwined that it would take an entirely different course to work up the background to prove the result that is used to complete this result. But that does not mean that the teacher shouldn't be able to give a semi convincing plausibility argument that should help illuminate what is going on.

In terms of earlier on levels of teaching, then in most cases to ignore the why's is what is failing schools all across the US and to some extent the rest of the world. Its actually a huge tragedy that many grade school math teachers don't know how to work with fractions themselves, so they barely teach them to their students, and can not answer any questions on them. But I am not saying you need to give them a complete break down of the history and formation of mathematics and physics needed to fully understand why that result is true. You should be able to give some reason convincing enough to their level to make them understand, and failing to even attempt that is horrible teaching.

Throughout my many many years of schooling, I can not tell you how many times I was taught something, then a little later I was told "you know that thing you knew to be true, well it is not always true, but now that we can explain a bit more lets examine when it is and when it is not true..."

Plus you should go back and re-read my posts, I was never skeptical that this was true, in fact most of my posts were suggestions on why it might be true. Similar with a lot of the yixing threads, though those are far more complicated than many people seem to believe it is, so I mostly ignore those, as it honestly is not this clay, this shape, this filter, or this thickness, its a gamut of things, which is why you never see the people that really know about yixing on this forum making any sort of claims about what a pot will do to a tea just on a photo alone. In fact most of them ask for some level of tests to be done then based on the persons responses then give feedback.
User avatar
AdamMY
 
Posts: 2353
Joined: Jul 22nd, '
Location: Capital of the Mitten

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 4th, '13, 18:38

if your teacher responds with anything along the lines of "you don't know enough to understand," in most cases they are a bad teacher

You should try teaching languages, there are times when the only appropriate answer is "because that's how it is". A bad teacher would go into a 20 minute discussion, way above the heads of the students, and nothing would be learned.

Regarding the quote, I appreciate it's not a place to discuss God but if you don't see how the internal logic of the quote points in that direction then, respectfully, I'm not sure if you should really be using the quote.

Anyway, this has drifted far enough into classic internet argumentativeness.

Theredbaron, I'm cheered by your earlier description of your teacher. My cynical mind was leading me to think far less charitably about what sounded a tiny bit like his sales patter. I wonder here if there's a bit of a cultural difference. In the west if someone presents themselves as a source of knowledge we're trained to question that and perhaps make the guy prove himself first. Whereas the old-fashioned eastern concept (whopping generalisations alert) of a masterful teacher and earnest willing student presupposes that the student has already chosen to follow the teacher, and therefore will -- for the time being -- accept what he's told.
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 4th, '13, 18:52

redbaron, I think the very least you can do here is to describe your experience. It's ok to not know the chemistry, thermodynamics, and physics, but I'd think you can put into words the difference between using a special saucer and a regular one. How did it change the tea?
User avatar
tingjunkie
 
Posts: 1412
Joined: Jul 8th, '0
Location: NYC

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby AdamMY » Mar 4th, '13, 20:40

yanom wrote:
Regarding the quote, I appreciate it's not a place to discuss God but if you don't see how the internal logic of the quote points in that direction then, respectfully, I'm not sure if you should really be using the quote.
.



....

Again I am not going to get into a theological discussion, but your internal logic here is seriously flawed. Honestly, why is it the faithful have such a problem with Scientific pursuits when they alone can attempt to verify that which religion has so adamantly claimed is true all along?

Honestly anyone that knows a bit about science, consider thinking forward along all paths of research, what one could ever show there is no "God"? I think all Science is merely suggesting is that we are wanted to find answers, and not just sit hoping everything is going to turn out alright.

Edit: Fixed a typo... ( there are likely more).
Last edited by AdamMY on Mar 4th, '13, 20:51, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
AdamMY
 
Posts: 2353
Joined: Jul 22nd, '
Location: Capital of the Mitten

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 4th, '13, 20:49

yanom wrote:The aspirin thing is like bees: no one can explain how they fly, but they do.

Were you being sarcastic here? :roll: :lol:
User avatar
gingkoseto
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24th, '
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 4th, '13, 21:00

theredbaron wrote:Can anyone give me a logical explanation why coal fired stoves are considered to give better tea water quality over any other flame - a concept that is quite well described all over the place?

i can... but i quit... :P
many science majors can explain this simple phenomenon. let them try...
quite a few ancient Chinese intellectuals who weren't science majors explained it too. if you are curious then you may look for their words too :wink:

I'm sure Lin Pingxiang is a good guy as he does have very good reputation in tea world. But I deeply doubt he would agree with you on a lot of things you said. I could be wrong, but I do have the doubt :!:
User avatar
gingkoseto
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24th, '
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby edkrueger » Mar 4th, '13, 23:42

I've love to hear a logical explanation of any empirical facts... :P
User avatar
edkrueger
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Jun 24th, '

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby Tead Off » Mar 5th, '13, 00:01

rdl wrote:redbarron,
chin up. it's said we all have two friends that always accompany us on each side. one who is a positive friend, and one a negative friend. we need both unless we choose to go on our way stumbling over just the words of friends who comfort us. that other friend is there to balance us and keeps us more securely on our feet.
happy tea adventures where ever they take you and thanks for sharing.

It's all happening in one's head. It begs the question 'what we think is in our heads?' Some secret knowledge, information, teaching, belief? Can we stop listening to these voices? :D
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3364
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 01:13

tingjunkie wrote:redbaron, I think the very least you can do here is to describe your experience. It's ok to not know the chemistry, thermodynamics, and physics, but I'd think you can put into words the difference between using a special saucer and a regular one. How did it change the tea?



I am not good in describing taste of tea or anything.

The only thing i can say is that it added slightly more depth to the tea, if that makes sense to you.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby TIM » Mar 5th, '13, 01:21

theredbaron wrote:
tingjunkie wrote:redbaron, I think the very least you can do here is to describe your experience. It's ok to not know the chemistry, thermodynamics, and physics, but I'd think you can put into words the difference between using a special saucer and a regular one. How did it change the tea?



I am not good in describing taste of tea or anything.

The only thing i can say is that it added slightly more depth to the tea, if that makes sense to you.


Adding 'Slightly' more depth to a cuppa is more important. Sight, smell and taste is all trivial.
User avatar
TIM
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 2042
Joined: Apr 4th, '0
Location: NYC

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 01:27

gingkoseto wrote:
theredbaron wrote:Can anyone give me a logical explanation why coal fired stoves are considered to give better tea water quality over any other flame - a concept that is quite well described all over the place?

i can... but i quit... :P
many science majors can explain this simple phenomenon. let them try...
quite a few ancient Chinese intellectuals who weren't science majors explained it too. if you are curious then you may look for their words too :wink:

I'm sure Lin Pingxiang is a good guy as he does have very good reputation in tea world. But I deeply doubt he would agree with you on a lot of things you said. I could be wrong, but I do have the doubt :!:



Well, but i am not a science major. Neither am i an ancient Chinese intellectual.

The surreal part of the this discussion is that i have actually said very little - and mostly had to defend over and over again that *i-do-not-know-why-that-is-so*.

What is there to disagree with that i do not know *why* something is as it is, other than that you may suspect that i may know but not tell?

Way back when i was in school i always flunked out in math, chemistry, or physics. I was good in social sciences, languages, history, art and sports.
That hasn't changed.

My dear member of the great tea inquisition - you can hang and quarter me - but i can only repeat that *I DO NOT KNOW WHY*
theredbaron
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby futurebird » Mar 5th, '13, 01:42

This discussion is at it's best we people every now and then recognize how much the other person knows rather than trying to prove how much they know.

The people on this board are extremely knowledgeable. So much so I think contests about who knows more are kind of silly.

If someone tells me that what is under a tea cup might improve the tea, my first inclination is to try it out and see what it's like.

Maybe it will retain heat differently, maybe it's less likely to spill on your trousers ruining your tea session.

The only time that I get concerned with blind comparisons is when its a matter of money. I really do want to know if expensive tea is worth the cost. No one wants to get ripped off.

With the rest I differ to those who know more and enjoy the process. The process of making tea is half of what makes it worthwhile for me.
futurebird
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Feb 12th, '
Location: South Bronx, NYC

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 01:49

yanom wrote:
Theredbaron, I'm cheered by your earlier description of your teacher. My cynical mind was leading me to think far less charitably about what sounded a tiny bit like his sales patter. I wonder here if there's a bit of a cultural difference. In the west if someone presents themselves as a source of knowledge we're trained to question that and perhaps make the guy prove himself first. Whereas the old-fashioned eastern concept (whopping generalisations alert) of a masterful teacher and earnest willing student presupposes that the student has already chosen to follow the teacher, and therefore will -- for the time being -- accept what he's told.



Theoretically speaking, also in the east before a student decides to accept someone as a teacher (guru, master, or however you may want to call it) he is to test this person before submitting himself, as the existence of charlatans is not exactly unknown here either. Also not ever teacher suits every student.

In the end though we are all humans, and all human relationships are a bit more complex. We also live in the 21st century now, an increasing global age. Paul Lim is Malaysian Chinese - which means that he is from a quite modern country.
So no, when i am sitting and drinking tea with him on the rare occasions i nowadays have the opportunity to go to Malaysia, i am not bowing down and touch his feet in reference, sitting humbly trying to keep my head below his to show my utter inferiority. :wink:

Nobody does that there.

We sit, discuss, laugh, and enjoy good tea.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 02:18

futurebird wrote:The only time that I get concerned with blind comparisons is when its a matter of money. I really do want to know if expensive tea is worth the cost. No one wants to get ripped off.

With the rest I differ to those who know more and enjoy the process. The process of making tea is half of what makes it worthwhile for me.



Now THAT is a huge question.

Generally speaking - there are clear reasons why particular teas may be more expensive than others, such as rarity, picking and processing by hand vs machine, etc.

But...

There are bubbles in the market for particular teas at particular times, such as the mid 2000's bubble in the Pu Erh market. There are manipulations in the market, by mass stocking of particular teas to drive up the prices or to speculate on future profits. There are dishonest sellers, or honest sellers who fell for dishonest wholesalers.
Popularity is another factor - for example back in 2000 or so, you could get very old Liu Bao for very little money, while now old Liu Bao will cost you an arm and a leg.
The rumor mill may drive up prices of one or the other tea, or the endorsement of respected people in the tea world.

But there is also the factor of development of taste. Some teas need education and experience to be able to understand and to properly enjoy. That is a point where it can be extremely helpful to have a tea teacher who can guide you, and show you different grades (some may not be available on the open market), show you the things you should pay attention to while brewing and drinking.




And you are right, enjoyment comes first before all. At times i drink tea with people who know much more about it than i. But i appreciate this, i can learn from them. Their level of knowledge may be far superior than mine, but we share the level of joy.
While the level of joy during this debate has at times not been the highest for me, it did not take away the level of joy i have when making and drinking tea.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

PreviousNext

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation