How to write about tea?


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: How to write about tea?

Postby lordsbm » Mar 12th, '13, 09:31

I think just write whatever you feel is good enough. I appreciate whatever info I can get from any review, it's not like I'm paying tea session for the reviewer :lol:

Besides a lot of other factors can affect the taste of the tea you gotten. It may not be the same. Like a review I read on a China tea forum of the XG nanzhou 2008 (olympics) bing.

The initial review said the bing has strong chaqi, so strong you can feel numb drinking it. So someone read that 2008/9 review in 2012 and went to buy one to try.

Buy when he gotten it the liquor brew reddish, taste like old tea (cheng xiang) and there's not much tea aroma or chaqi. He posted the photos (liquor, leaf, wrapper) and asked if he had gotten a fake from the shop or wet stored.

The "gurus" in the forum, said the tea is real but was natural stored in Guangzhou (the shop is there). On that same thread someone open that bing in question which he bought in 2008. The brew is still clear yellow and the chaqi still there and had aged well. That guy said he'll food wrap that bing and put in back in his storage.

4 years difference, same production, different taste, different brew.

On the other hand, I review a review which the reviewer didn't say too much about the taste of the tea and just a couple of photos of the bing and wrapper. But she went into detail of saying how she brew the tea, in grams, temperature, the water flow rate of rinsing and 5 steeps.

I can understand why she didn't go into details of the taste, as there are factors that can affect the taste which include weather and season.

I guess I'm just happy to see a review of any tea I'm interested in :D
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby MarshalN » Mar 12th, '13, 11:03

lordsbm wrote:Buy when he gotten it the liquor brew reddish, taste like old tea (cheng xiang) and there's not much tea aroma or chaqi. He posted the photos (liquor, leaf, wrapper) and asked if he had gotten a fake from the shop or wet stored.

The "gurus" in the forum, said the tea is real but was natural stored in Guangzhou (the shop is there). On that same thread someone open that bing in question which he bought in 2008. The brew is still clear yellow and the chaqi still there and had aged well. That guy said he'll food wrap that bing and put in back in his storage.


Off topic: What is this forum you speak of? Reddish? Chaqi from a cheap XG bing? These things don't make these guys sound like they know what they're talking about.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby lordsbm » Mar 12th, '13, 12:12

MarshalN wrote:Off topic: What is this forum you speak of? Reddish? Chaqi from a cheap XG bing? These things don't make these guys sound like they know what they're talking about.


茶语清心

To my understanding, pu erh regardless of brand or grade does have medical properties. Chaqi is interpreted by some when their body have certain reaction to the tea. No?

Anyway, XG nanzhou 2004 bing is rumored to have LBZ content in them. True or not I don't know, never tasted it. But the prices does reflected that that production had been speculated to sky high prices.

I'm not saying what they said in that forum is right or wrong, just sharing what I read. If anything, I find them bias towards non-big name brand tea.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby honza » Mar 12th, '13, 13:27

MarshalN wrote:I find all descriptors to be rather useless. I mean, my idea of "smoky" might not be your idea of smoky, and sometimes people can't even agree on what some terms that I thought are basic might mean - for example, when I wrote about sourness, lots of people had a simple question - how can tea be sour? Well, it can be, but a lot of people either don't think about it as sourness, or in many cases haven't really experienced sourness in a tea. If that's the case, it's very difficult to talk about it in a meaningful way................... which is presumably what really matters?


+1 !
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 19:16

lordsbm wrote:
MarshalN wrote:Off topic: What is this forum you speak of? Reddish? Chaqi from a cheap XG bing? These things don't make these guys sound like they know what they're talking about.


茶语清心

To my understanding, pu erh regardless of brand or grade does have medical properties. Chaqi is interpreted by some when their body have certain reaction to the tea. No?

Anyway, XG nanzhou 2004 bing is rumored to have LBZ content in them. True or not I don't know, never tasted it. But the prices does reflected that that production had been speculated to sky high prices.

I'm not saying what they said in that forum is right or wrong, just sharing what I read. If anything, I find them bias towards non-big name brand tea.


That's one of my favorite large type of tea forums :D I can't say puerh board is my favorite board there, but it's one of the places with greatest diversity of opinions, which is more important than many other things, especially for puerh.

I do personally feel some people there are over-enthusiastic about xiaguan and dayi. But I also think it's understandable enthusiasm, and xiaguan and dayi are indeed respectable. Besides, some of the xiaguan and dayi die-hard fans there are very well-seasoned tea drinkers. So probably sometimes they are quite right :D
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby shah82 » Mar 12th, '13, 19:46

I try to check out that forum regularly as well, just to get a sense of how a certain demographic of chinese like their tea. I do think that they are, for the most part, highly unsophisticated consumers who don't really have great access to anything like unbiased opinions.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby futurebird » Mar 12th, '13, 19:59

gingkoseto wrote:I do personally feel some people there are over-enthusiastic about xiaguan and dayi. But I also think it's understandable enthusiasm, and xiaguan and dayi are indeed respectable. Besides, some of the xiaguan and dayi die-hard fans there are very well-seasoned tea drinkers. So probably sometimes they are quite right :D


Xiaguan was the first puerh I ever tried and the reason I got interested. I have to give them some credit!
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 20:50

shah82 wrote:I try to check out that forum regularly as well, just to get a sense of how a certain demographic of chinese like their tea. I do think that they are, for the most part, highly unsophisticated consumers who don't really have great access to anything like unbiased opinions.

If you hold your standard very high, this comment is applicable to most, if not all, online forums. 8)
On the other hand, with the diversity of opinions, you can choose what to take home. If there aren't that many opinions presented, then most people in a place may think they all got the "right" opinions, and that's probably the wrong type of "right".
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby shah82 » Mar 12th, '13, 21:00

I'm not holding my standards very high. MIT and jft4u over in Taiwan has a much more vibrant flow with fewer barely disguised touts hyping overpriced tea.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 21:06

shah82 wrote:I'm not holding my standards very high. MIT and jft4u over in Taiwan has a much more vibrant flow with fewer barely disguised touts hyping overpriced tea.

Or more people you would agree with? :wink:
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby shah82 » Mar 12th, '13, 21:44

No. Mean what I said. That site is full of touts pumping up product i.d. I read it because it's worth knowing how such a widely read forum is flowing. However, one would have to be an idiot to take anything said there seriously without some degree of corroboration.

As for seeking opinion that meshes with mine, well, beyond the obvious failings of independent thoughts, I'm not sure how that would work. For example, how many teas that are familiar to US consumers are discussed on that forum? They don't discuss very many Taiwanese brands, which is most of what we have here. They certainly don't discuss Nada's pressing. Not only that, they don't discuss all that many boutique pressings--and the majority that do get discussed are explicitly an artifact of name hill recognition, particularly Bingdao, Xigui, Mansong, Wangonzhai, GFZ, Banzhang, and Mahei. They barely discuss Nanjian or Fengqing or other minor factories of note.

Taiwan forums and Taiwan blogs have fewer touts, and more of them identified and operating openly. They don't waste everyone's time on obviously bad deals like Fujin as much. They will talk about specialty boutique, both high and low end, big factory and small factory. They will also be more usefully critical in threads with both pro-folks and con-folks. There's just a bigger degree of critical thinking in general. Gingkoseto, I don't think you really understand just how much easier Westerners have it when it comes to public resources online about puerh. We might not be able to buy good teas as easily as Asians do, but I took full advantage of these resources to reliably buy what good tea there is here without regrets.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 22:02

shah82 wrote:No. Mean what I said. That site is full of touts pumping up product i.d. I read it because it's worth knowing how such a widely read forum is flowing. However, one would have to be an idiot to take anything said there seriously without some degree of corroboration.


One would have to be an idiot to take anything said anywhere seriously without some degree of corroboration. - I won't disagree with that. :mrgreen:

shah82 wrote:As for seeking opinion that meshes with mine, well, beyond the obvious failings of independent thoughts, I'm not sure how that would work. For example, how many teas that are familiar to US consumers are discussed on that forum? They don't discuss very many Taiwanese brands, which is most of what we have here. They certainly don't discuss Nada's pressing. Not only that, they don't discuss all that many boutique pressings--and the majority that do get discussed are explicitly an artifact of name hill recognition, particularly Bingdao, Xigui, Mansong, Wangonzhai, GFZ, Banzhang, and Mahei. They barely discuss Nanjian or Fengqing or other minor factories of note.

The blue part, very true, because they don't speak English.
The green part, it depends on who "we" are, and how much counts "most"... :?:
The red part, are we talking about the same forum? Obviously we read different contents, if it's indeed the same forum...
It looks like we absolutely read different things from it, so I guess it's not surprising that we have different opinions on it.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby shah82 » Mar 12th, '13, 22:19

This isn't about basic critical reading skills.

It's about whether that particular forum is more or less reliable than other Chinese language forums and how much added value commentators contribute to what the community knows.
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby lordsbm » Mar 12th, '13, 23:41

I don't think there's anything wrong for a China forum to only talk about pu erh brand from China. I mean Taiwanese or any nationalities do go China to source the materials. Also nothing wrong with having pride of their own country brands and not supporting foreign brands. It's just the way humans are.

Also China is that big of a market with enough resources, they really don't need to be exposed to foreign. Most of the pu erh are made to suit their taste which may not be appreciated by other nationalities.

From my own experience, I find the quality of agriculture consumables exported from China is not as good as what it was 10+ years ago. Here in Singapore we used to have better quality fruits and veggies from China. China is rich enough to pay premium price for better qualities agriculture from their own country.

IMHO, touts are in any forum, it's just a matter how they present themselves. Most are negative towards advertising with fake reviews, clones id, etc.

But there's another form of "touts" which takes more time, like making friends with significant people or establishing a name of their company. Gained people trust, have people become loyal towards their brand, people likely speak highly of your products.

Example with pu erh: A highly regarded company on a forum has a lot of different products out in a year. A guy is a loyal supporter of that brand, but it's unlikely he tested the all their products. When a newbie asked about certain product, the loyal fan with likely recommended it even if he had not tried that product from that year. That's a form of being bias isn't it?

As far as which mountains taste go, I just think most people in China aren't willing to pay the premium price yet. Pu erh to most there is still a kouliang. I'm not very sure, but I believe the prices of those moutains were pushed up by foreign nationalities (Taiwanese and Malaysia? ) and being marketed as premium taste. That to me is a much bigger "tout" :lol: But that's just business.

Anyway it's OK to disagree. Everyone has different views, everyone has different taste. Just like how many in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand love durians but people elsewhere are likely to hate it :lol:

Which brings us back to writing of reviews, people just have different opinions and tastes. It's not like everyone will agree with you. Not everyone will appreciate your views. Not everyone will take what you said seriously. So just write what you want.

Ultimately it's just having a good tea that you like :)
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Re: How to write about tea?

Postby lordsbm » Mar 12th, '13, 23:57

gingkoseto wrote:That's one of my favorite large type of tea forums :D I can't say puerh board is my favorite board there, but it's one of the places with greatest diversity of opinions, which is more important than many other things, especially for puerh.

I do personally feel some people there are over-enthusiastic about xiaguan and dayi. But I also think it's understandable enthusiasm, and xiaguan and dayi are indeed respectable. Besides, some of the xiaguan and dayi die-hard fans there are very well-seasoned tea drinkers. So probably sometimes they are quite right :D


I think to most of them only DY, XG, FL, LC produce good tea. The rest are hit and misses. :roll:

That forum is useful for a newbie like me, there's a higher chance I'll find a review there of a particular tea I want to try. Then help decide if I want to buy it or not. The truth is only after I try that tea and if I like it or not. :lol:
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