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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by Drax » Jun 8th, '16, 12:55

wyardley wrote:
Milo wrote:
wyardley wrote:
Milo wrote:Addendum: if you are a true tea nerd (read: insatiable interest in tea) skip the books and just go to Hojo Tea's website. Akira Hojo is pretty much the Harold McGee of tea and has written a cumulative body of literature that puts every other tea expert to shame.
I'm sorry, but I think that's a ridiculous comparison.
This sounds like a learning opportunity for me. Say more.
Harold McGee actually gets the science right (and cites research backing up his claims), and is well regarded for his writing about the science of food. That's not even remotely comparable to the kind of pseudo-science on Hojo's site, most of which is not backed up by anything, as best I can tell.
I concur with the pseudo-science statement, and have had the same issue -- lots of claims, but never any proof (and always fortuitously aligned with what he's trying to sell at the moment).

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by Milo » Jun 8th, '16, 20:24

Drax wrote:
wyardley wrote: Harold McGee actually gets the science right (and cites research backing up his claims), and is well regarded for his writing about the science of food. That's not even remotely comparable to the kind of pseudo-science on Hojo's site, most of which is not backed up by anything, as best I can tell.
I concur with the pseudo-science statement, and have had the same issue -- lots of claims, but never any proof (and always fortuitously aligned with what he's trying to sell at the moment).

Blast. I guess I must've persuaded otherwise by his writings (that and the teas I've ordered from him). Anyway...shoot. That's disappointing. Well, glad both of you could set me straight though, I appreciate that.

So who, if anyone, would you say is the Harold McGee of tea?

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by chingwa » Jun 9th, '16, 08:29

I never understood some of the Hojo-hate on this forum. Maybe his claims aren't backed by peer-review scientific style papers, but does everything have to be put to such stringent measures before it has any merit? Certainly all interactions I've had with him have been polite, useful, and informative. And in my personal experience his products and tea have all been of very high quality.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by William » Jun 9th, '16, 20:16

wyardley wrote:That's not even remotely comparable to the kind of pseudo-science on Hojo's site, most of which is not backed up by anything, as best I can tell.

I would be more cautious (and respectful), my friend.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by GooseberrySpoon » Jun 14th, '16, 21:18

I recently read Joseph Wesley Uhl's The Art and Craft of Tea at the library. It was a lot more informative than the usual tea books they get (mostly how to do Dowton Abby style afternoon teas or herbalism nonsense). It was also very beutifully done. There was some East vs West stuff that made me roll my eyes a bit though. The Asians have tea as a way of life and spirituality vs. the drug pushing empire builders of the west using Tea as a commodity. I don't often feel the need to be defensive of the British empire, but he definately glosses over the Han Chinese empire (which didn't appear overnight) or that to be used as a currency tea had to be considered a commodity.

Also, I'm a firm believer that no one should be able to non-ironically use the word "indubitably" other than Sherlock Holmes.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by NateHevens » Jun 20th, '16, 13:40

chingwa wrote:I never understood some of the Hojo-hate on this forum. Maybe his claims aren't backed by peer-review scientific style papers, but does everything have to be put to such stringent measures before it has any merit? Certainly all interactions I've had with him have been polite, useful, and informative. And in my personal experience his products and tea have all been of very high quality.
If your claim can even be mildly mistaken for a scientific/medicinal claim (which I did see quite a bit of on Hojo's site), then yes, it does need to be backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. You cannot say, for example, that Sencha cures cancer (I'm not saying that Hojo said this, but apparently Dr. Oz has said this, or something similar), you better have the science to back that up, or you better just shut up.

(The Sencha cures cancer thing is actually a problem I've been running into at Teavana... sure, people are coming in buying lots of Sencha, which means more sales, but for someone like me, who has been proudly accused of "scientism" in the past, it's frustrating and depressing as all hell to hear "my daughter has cancer. 'Doctors' insist on radiation, but I heard on TV, confirmed by my naturopath, that Sencha cures cancer. Let me get a pound." I don't know how to tell them "you are murdering your daughter. Stop wasting money on tea and get her to the hospital.")

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by jayinhk » Jun 20th, '16, 13:44

NateHevens wrote:
chingwa wrote:I never understood some of the Hojo-hate on this forum. Maybe his claims aren't backed by peer-review scientific style papers, but does everything have to be put to such stringent measures before it has any merit? Certainly all interactions I've had with him have been polite, useful, and informative. And in my personal experience his products and tea have all been of very high quality.
If your claim can even be mildly mistaken for a scientific/medicinal claim (which I did see quite a bit of on Hojo's site), then yes, it does need to be backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. You cannot say, for example, that Sencha cures cancer (I'm not saying that Hojo said this, but apparently Dr. Oz has said this, or something similar), you better have the science to back that up, or you better just shut up.

(The Sencha cures cancer thing is actually a problem I've been running into at Teavana... sure, people are coming in buying lots of Sencha, which means more sales, but for someone like me, who has been proudly accused of "scientism" in the past, it's frustrating and depressing as all hell to hear "my daughter has cancer. 'Doctors' insist on radiation, but I heard on TV, confirmed by my naturopath, that Sencha cures cancer. Let me get a pound." I don't know how to tell them "you are murdering your daughter. Stop wasting money on tea and get her to the hospital.")
That and I believe Teavana sells Chinese sencha, which might possibly raise your cancer risk because of agrochemical use!

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by NateHevens » Jun 20th, '16, 13:48

jayinhk wrote:
NateHevens wrote:
chingwa wrote:I never understood some of the Hojo-hate on this forum. Maybe his claims aren't backed by peer-review scientific style papers, but does everything have to be put to such stringent measures before it has any merit? Certainly all interactions I've had with him have been polite, useful, and informative. And in my personal experience his products and tea have all been of very high quality.
If your claim can even be mildly mistaken for a scientific/medicinal claim (which I did see quite a bit of on Hojo's site), then yes, it does need to be backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. You cannot say, for example, that Sencha cures cancer (I'm not saying that Hojo said this, but apparently Dr. Oz has said this, or something similar), you better have the science to back that up, or you better just shut up.

(The Sencha cures cancer thing is actually a problem I've been running into at Teavana... sure, people are coming in buying lots of Sencha, which means more sales, but for someone like me, who has been proudly accused of "scientism" in the past, it's frustrating and depressing as all hell to hear "my daughter has cancer. 'Doctors' insist on radiation, but I heard on TV, confirmed by my naturopath, that Sencha cures cancer. Let me get a pound." I don't know how to tell them "you are murdering your daughter. Stop wasting money on tea and get her to the hospital.")
That and I believe Teavana sells Chinese sencha, which might possibly raise your cancer risk because of agrochemical use!
Okay... Teavana insists, even to us employees, that their sencha comes from the exact same Japanese farm as their gyokuro...

Huh... the tins and the employee book and training materials all say it comes from Japan, anyways...

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by jayinhk » Jun 20th, '16, 14:00

I looked it up and there was some conjecture about it on Reddit. Do your books say it was grown in Japan or that it's a Japanese cultivar? Because the Teavana website says the sencha is a Japanese cultivar (Yabukita, maybe?) which doesn't tell you anything. The tea could still be grown anywhere.
Last edited by jayinhk on Jun 20th, '16, 14:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by NateHevens » Jun 20th, '16, 14:05

jayinhk wrote:I looked it up and there was some conjecture about it on Reddit. Do your books say it was grown in Japan or that it's a Japanese cultivar? Because the Teavana website says the sencha is Japanese cultivar (Yabukita, maybe?) which doesn't tell you anything. The tea could still be grown anywhere.
I've got the book in front of me, and I was wrong. It says the Gyokuro and Matcha come from Japan, but it doesn't talk about the origins of our Sencha at all.

Huh... I was definitely told it was Japanese, but...

I'll have to do some inquiry when I go into work tomorrow...

I do find it fascinating that the sencha is the only tea in our book that doesn't have it's country of origin listed... huh...

ETA... I'll look at the tin at work tomorrow, since I obviously don't have it in front of me now...
Last edited by NateHevens on Jun 20th, '16, 14:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by jayinhk » Jun 20th, '16, 14:12

Let us know! Also my comment on Reddit six weeks ago was that tea can be imported into Japan from China, and then sold as 'from Japan.' China is exporting a lot of 'Japanese' tea to Japan.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by chingwa » Jun 20th, '16, 22:51

NateHevens wrote:If your claim can even be mildly mistaken for a scientific/medicinal claim...
Does he make medicinal claims? I don't think I've ever seen that on his site. I only recall reading his research on what clays/water/properties combine to give the best tea result and flavor... i.e. what tea is best suited for this water or that teapot or kettle. In fact I don't think I've read medical claims on any of what I consider the top end online Japanese tea shops. (Ippodo, Thes Du Japon, Hojo etc.) All these places are rightly focused on the quality and flavor of the tea, as they assume that is why you are here.

While his claims could provide important insights to us tea lovers, I don't think it warrants holding him to the third degree, or calling pseudoscience just because an independent lab isn't giving verifying info. In this case, after all, the proof is in the pudding, and Hojo's stuff is often well worth the price.

Medical claims about tea (is this a western phenomenon?) should rightly be followed up with actual research, and there is research that shows some cursory benefit to overall health, but this stuff ain't going to cure cancer (probably won't even cure your runny nose), and it isn't going to cure gullibility either :D Next time someone comes into your shop deciding to buy some green tea to cure their cancer, you may want to tell them just what you told us here.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by GooseberrySpoon » Jun 21st, '16, 10:11

jayinhk wrote:Let us know! Also my comment on Reddit six weeks ago was that tea can be imported into Japan from China, and then sold as 'from Japan.' China is exporting a lot of 'Japanese' tea to Japan.
I was wondering if this happened in the tea world. It's so bad in the olive oil world that I automatically refuse anything with "imported from/bottled in Italy" on the bottle.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by jayinhk » Jun 21st, '16, 10:27

GooseberrySpoon wrote:
jayinhk wrote:Let us know! Also my comment on Reddit six weeks ago was that tea can be imported into Japan from China, and then sold as 'from Japan.' China is exporting a lot of 'Japanese' tea to Japan.
I was wondering if this happened in the tea world. It's so bad in the olive oil world that I automatically refuse anything with "imported from/bottled in Italy" on the bottle.
Yes, it is more common in the tea world than one would think. In the pu erh world, tea from one location is often blended with cheaper tea, or is just cheaper tea altogether. And Taiwan imports massive amounts of tea, much of which is indubitably passed off as Taiwanese tea to unsuspecting customers, either in blends or just substituted outright. I had a 1995 Thai chin shin oolong from tea-side.com yesterday that was pretty much indistinguishable from a good aged Dong Ding. Perhaps more complex than a Taiwanese one even! Really excellent tea, btw, and the price was right. I may pick up 100g for further aging as it was very enjoyable indeed.

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Re: Tea Book and Magazine Reviews/Discussion

by NateHevens » Jun 21st, '16, 17:44

jayinhk wrote:Let us know! Also my comment on Reddit six weeks ago was that tea can be imported into Japan from China, and then sold as 'from Japan.' China is exporting a lot of 'Japanese' tea to Japan.
Everyone at my store, general manager included, is under the impression that our Sencha is from Japan, specifically from the same farm we get our Gyokuro from.

I'll see what else I can find out from higher ups, but that's what I'm going with for now...

So... tentatively from Japan, but we'll see...

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