Tasting techniques and other similar things


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby Tead Off » Mar 5th, '13, 02:24

We all use the word depth but what is depth? It is a word used to describe another sense, not a sense in itself. It is usually associated with taste and its complexities. Depth by itself is meaningless unless it is associated with a bodily sensation. All of our bodily sensations are interpreted by our thinking, and our thinking is completely determined by our backgrounds and the information put into our brains. Each person's thoughts/interpretations, can never be the same as another's. Impossible. We experience things in a unique way, every one of us. It cannot really be communicated to another but we try. So we use words that really mean different things to different people. It's quite humorous to try and arrive at a conclusion. People take conclusions as truth. How sad. :(
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3589
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 5th, '13, 03:13

AdamMY wrote:
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).


Adam, you completely misunderstand (which I'm sure is my fault). I'm not talking about whether or not there's a god -- that's 100% irrelevant here. I'm talking about paying attention to the words that the woman you quoted chose to wrote, because the words as quoted imply that there exists a someone-who-has-all-the-answers. And because of that I thought it was an odd (but funny!) quote for you to marshal in favour of a scientific approach.

theredbaron, yeah I never assumed you and the guy have some old fashioned gongfu film style clichéd relationship. But the Chinese teachers (I'm not talking about tea here) I've known have tended to have a slightly different attitude to the teacher-pupil thing, which I tend to like.
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby Tead Off » Mar 5th, '13, 04:30

Can you really teach someone to taste? This is an involuntary system that goes on no matter what you are thinking about. You can teach someone what to think about tasting, impart suggestions, descriptions. But they are not the same thing as tasting itself. You cannot taste the same way as someone else. Impossible. You can only agree on the description. Taste and description are not the same thing. So what role does a teacher play? If that teacher wants you to believe as he/she does, good luck to you. You cannot teach someone to have an experience. You can teach them to believe in a description but that is only for the purpose of discussion. Sensation is involuntary and prior to thought. A good teacher will remove themselves from your experience and allow you to be free of description and conclusions. They can demonstrate how to brew tea, talk about qualities, etc., but you will have to come to all of this on your own regardless if you have someone helping you or not. Tradition is repetition, not freedom. But, I digress..........
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3589
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 5th, '13, 04:50

A: I'm good. I'll give you the tools to be as good as you can be.
B: I'm good. I'll make you as good as me, and then see how much further you can go.
Seems like A is the modern western standard, B the traditional eastern version. In a very unsatisfactory generalised nutshell.

You cannot taste the same way as someone else.

I'm not sure that's true in a meaningful way.
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 5th, '13, 05:05

I'm not sure that's true in a meaningful way.

That probably doesn't sound very polite. :oops: I just mean that, I think two people can taste in basically the same way. In a wine context it became trendy to talk about "calibrating your palate" with those of well-known critics, working out their palates compared to yours: if your palate coincided with one writer, you know you can buy the stuff he likes; if however he consistently likes stuff that was (say) too strong for you, then there's a fair chance that you'll only like the stuff that he says is too weak. None of that is particularly relevant to tea -- except the idea that palates can be very similar.
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 05:51

Tead Off wrote:Can you really teach someone to taste? This is an involuntary system that goes on no matter what you are thinking about. You can teach someone what to think about tasting, impart suggestions, descriptions. But they are not the same thing as tasting itself. You cannot taste the same way as someone else. Impossible. You can only agree on the description. Taste and description are not the same thing. So what role does a teacher play? If that teacher wants you to believe as he/she does, good luck to you. You cannot teach someone to have an experience. You can teach them to believe in a description but that is only for the purpose of discussion. Sensation is involuntary and prior to thought. A good teacher will remove themselves from your experience and allow you to be free of description and conclusions. They can demonstrate how to brew tea, talk about qualities, etc., but you will have to come to all of this on your own regardless if you have someone helping you or not. Tradition is repetition, not freedom. But, I digress..........



I do disagree to some extend.
A good teacher will point out ways to you how to improve your skills in not just preparing tea, but also how to improve your experience of taste. He can point out what is important in particular teas, and how they work (taste is not just on the tongue, but will also continue in sinus cavities, etc). Different teas have different ways of developing their particular taste (pointing downwards, upwards, explosive, slowly, quickly, only during the aftertaste, etc), which can also be indicators of quality, and knowing about this will help you to better judge teas.
Discussing taste of teas is not talking about absolutes either way - while the experience of taste may be individual, there are certain characters different teas possess which are inherent to those particular teas only.

Maybe one can, with enough determination, come to similar results by oneself (which i somewhat doubt), but with a good teacher you can make much quicker progress.
Please note - i mentioned the terms *a good teacher*.

I also do notice the following quite strongly: when i haven't met my teacher for a long time, i do feel my skills beginning to slack a bit. Drinking tea with him are very good refreshing courses, sort of honing me again, in addition to learn something new as well.

I don't really understand why this issue of a tea teacher is such a problem. Most fields require a teacher (professor, master craftsman, or whatever else). That does not mean that some rare extremely gifted people may not reach certain heights by themselves, but most normal people do undergo apprenticeships, or go to universities, or take courses.
Why is that seen as so problematic in this subject of tea here, on this forum?
theredbaron
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby Tead Off » Mar 5th, '13, 12:03

As with any subject, a teacher is a good thing to have. They can point to certain things, help to facilitate with the tools you will need for your subject, make suggestions, comments, etc., but it will always be for you to look for yourself, to experiment, & to stand on your own, so to speak. Once belief is established, repetition becomes the practice. Repetition, contrary to popular belief, puts you to sleep. It's like a veil being drawn over your eyes. Both the teacher and the 'student' must be aware of falling into this game. This way, both remain free and neither forces the other into repetitive action. If you look at your own life, you've probably run into people that were in a position to help others but did it for reasons other than simply 'giving'. There's a lot of pride and 'ego' involved with people who gather knowledge of any subject. They want others to listen to them, to recognize them, to value them. We only have to look at ourselves to see this, right? Methinks a good teacher becomes invisible. Very rare.
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3589
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 5th, '13, 12:14

Tead Off wrote:Both the teacher and the 'student' must be aware of falling into this game.



With these thoughts i am in full agreement.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby thirst » Mar 6th, '13, 07:48

The basic empiric exercise of double-blind testing will tell you if you (heavily stressing you, meaning any individual who conducts an experiment) can reliably (heavily stressing reliably) discern any one difference that you control for, not why there is a difference, where applicable. That's another question entirely, and of course the answer doesn't come as readily.

You say that you probably couldn't reproduce the effect yourself; thus the only way to know if you can reliably tell the difference would be to have your master take part in the study, which is most likely impractical.

(»Logic« here would mean »common sense«, which is partly based on past empiric endeavours, mostly those of others, I'd think, but common sense cannot take into account everything.)

That being said, I'm sceptical about a lot of the brewing techniques and tools and the differences people here say they make, too. In those cases I'm less sceptical about if there are differences (there probably are, however minute) and more sceptical about the tastable effect that is described by the people and them being able to discern them. I'm just a beginner, of course, and things may or will change, but still.

While I'm more sceptical about the topic matter at hand than other things in the tea world: how many of the people commenting here have done double-blind testing to see if *they* really can taste any differences *they* talk about? ; )

There's a reason people demand double-blind tests e.g. when people make claims about audio fidelity.


As far as I can remember, the Pepsi vs. Coke thing went like this: Pepsi was preferred in the public testing because the samples where small and the sweeter Pepsi appealed to more people in small quantities. However, when you drink typical amounts of either cola, Coke was preferred, precisely because it is slightly less sweet. Which is to say: 1. scaling fallacy (is that correct?), and 2. it's best to set up an experiment like this to be as close to usual consumption patterns as possible.
thirst
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Jan 13th, '
Location: NRW

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby theredbaron » Mar 6th, '13, 08:36

thirst wrote:While I'm more sceptical about the topic matter at hand than other things in the tea world: how many of the people commenting here have done double-blind testing to see if *they* really can taste any differences *they* talk about? ; )



It is indeed very difficult to verify anything claimed on the internet, and a healthy dose of being skeptical is indeed warranted, especially when it touches something so subjective such as tea and tasting tea. I am not in disagreement at all on this point.

It helps of course when a well known authority such as Lim Ping Xiang can be cited. I would not cite myself here as an authority, because i am afraid that when it comes to those very fine points of tea - i am by far not knowledgeable enough.

We are in this discussion of course handicapped that quite possibly most of us do not know each other in person, or have drunk tea together. Which would make this discussion a lot easier.

What i can state though with authority, regarding developing taste: It is very important, if a tea drinker wants to grow, to regularly drink with others, and especially also with others who know more, and if possible also with a tea "master". You grow only very little, if at all, in both skills and development of taste (in all aspects - palate, sensitivity of the nebulous "Cha Qi", etc), when you only drink alone, or with others of only equal or lesser knowledge. The internet may help a bit, but it still cannot replace direct exchange in person.

I can state this because i have not only discussed this issue with my tea teacher and other tea friends, but because i can see this with myself. Nowadays i have only rarely the opportunity to drink tea in an environment i just described, and i clearly notice that i am not improving, and in some aspects even regress slightly, as compared to before, when i regularly drunk with my teacher and other tea friends, where i advanced quickly.
When i see my teacher nowadays, it works as some sort of rapid refresher, much comes back suddenly, and for a time i improve as well.

The tea world is also not a static scene - there is constant discussion and debate, changing fashions, new aspects studied, and old ones re-invented.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: Tasting techniques and other similar things

Postby yanom » Mar 6th, '13, 08:55

Thirst: I'm sure you're right to be sceptical.

I read a book about 'cold reading', showing the tricks that fraudsters pretending to be psychic use to make people think that they can read their minds, find out facts from their history, make judgments about their personality and so on.

What was interesting what that the author used to really believe that she herself was psychic. She never thought that she was conning people, she was just naturally good at responding to cues, encouraging people to unconsciously reveal things about themselves, and tying them all together to create something that seemed --or was -- real. For a while she believed she had magic powers. Then she finally realised that there was a logical, not magical, explanation for her skills and from then on saw that certain people were intentionally exploiting their similar skills to con people out money by pretending to speak to their long-dead relatives and so on.

I think something similar happens with making tea. After a few years, you get good at automatically and perhaps subconsciously adjusting your second or third brewing parameters depending on what the first one tastes like. But you don't "see" your own skills here, instead you say that their effects are actually due to a slightly different teapot (for example).

I think real tea "mastery" must come down to being able to strip out all the variables including ones own "automatic" skills, intra- and extra-day changes in palate and mood, external factors such as humidity, altitude, etc ... and once you've stripped those out then focus on the variable you're looking to examine (i.e. does the shape of this cup make the tea taste different to the shape of that cup).

(Of course that mastery could be misused like the psychic examples above, for instance trying to sell one tea for a much higher price than another almost identical one.)

For me, I'm sure I'll never be able to strip most of these things out.

But it's fun to try, fun to discuss it, fun to hypothesis about all of this, especially with other people. And for Chinese tea within the Chinese cultural context which loves ranking and grading and lists of suitable-for-this, unsuitable-for-that, according to a book written hundreds of years ago by Master so-and-搜, it makes it even more fun.
yanom
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Oct 5th, '1

Previous

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