a rant....

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Dec 29th, '08, 10:10
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by xuancheng » Dec 29th, '08, 10:10

I like tea web logs.

I have the sense that many authors seem very humble, and admit they are not experts, but keep a log for the love of tea. Web logs are free, anyone can publish whatever they want. At some point you have to realize that there is no publishing company or internet editor to tell you what is a great read and what is not worth your time. You have to do your own quality control.

That being said, I think web logs add a lot to the tea community. None of my friends from home drink tea. I don't know very many people who do drink Chinese style tea or Japanese (or any who drink Korean) I have actually been able to meet a few people through web logs, as well as learn a lot. And most important are the ones with pretty pictures!

In conclusion, I think that we should all be able to see some irony in an author who is arrogant about being knowledgeable about tea and thinking he is important because he or she self publishes on a free public forum. It's kind of sad, you should have pity on these poor souls rather than hold them in contempt.

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Dec 29th, '08, 10:38
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by Chip » Dec 29th, '08, 10:38

Nice thing about web blogs, nobody is forcing anyone to read them. Same can be said for TeaChat in general or particular forums within TeaChat.

I view tea blogs as an extension of someones tea passion, they are generally not professional tasters, though some have at least some training. A lot have learned side by side with the TeaChat community. If I want, I can take what they say with a grain of salt and simply move on.

I am amazed at the quality and effort that some bloggers put into their tea blogs. They clearly display talent and an appreciation for the leaf. I enjoy seeing the differing personalities that often come out as I go from blog to blog.

So, while I do read blogs for information, I often read tea blogs to also "meet the blogger" so to speak, many of whom I would call my friends as well.

Of course, if someone is pouring kudos unto themself, and then blowing smoke ... that is different.

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Dec 29th, '08, 15:50
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by heavydoom » Dec 29th, '08, 15:50

the one thing that really gets to me is when they describe these tastes that are found in the tea. i have a good palate. maybe i just haven't tasted enough things to compare tastes with but when i drink green pu erh tea, it's really hard for my mouth and tongue to analyze the layers of tastes found within the final brew. i don't know what to make of green pu's taste. sure, there is the obvious astringency but the hints of this and hints of that? i am scratching my scalpel. yet, these bloggers who drink and review a particular cake, these tea bloggers do come up with all these wonderful sounding adjectives to describe the layers of tastes found with the tea.

don't get me wrong, you tea bloggers out there, i admire you for the amount of time you guys dedicate on these blogs. some look amazing with their layouts and photos. jobs well done there.

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by Proinsias » Dec 29th, '08, 18:01

Impressive U-turn, 100pts!

Have you heard those raving wine crazies? The mind boggles. I can taste white and red, good and bad, more or less tannic but all these flavours just make me laugh. I really hope no one listens to these people whom I admire.

Objective scientific description please people, the flowery poetic talk is just silly and confuses me.

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Dec 29th, '08, 18:16
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by heavydoom » Dec 29th, '08, 18:16

Proinsias wrote:Impressive U-turn, 100pts!

Have you heard those raving wine crazies? The mind boggles. I can taste white and red, good and bad, more or less tannic but all these flavours just make me laugh. I really hope no one listens to these people whom I admire.

Objective scientific description please people, the flowery poetic talk is just silly and confuses me.
you hit the nail on its proverbial head.

case in point : there is this radio ad by this ontario wine seller, this guy goes on about this wine of a certain vintage with the long name consisting of at least 6 words, how this wine has hints of nutmeg and hints of lavender under the tongue with a hint of dafodils right on the tip of tongue with a subtle hint of some nutty chestnut b.s. ......on and on and on......i think to myself : give me a freaking break! this is ridiculous. also love the fact how you can swirl and take a whiff of some wine and they can pin point whatever about a vintage of a wine.

forgive me for ranting in this rant thread. but that is the whole point, innit? :D

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Dec 29th, '08, 18:34
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by ABx » Dec 29th, '08, 18:34

heavydoom wrote:the one thing that really gets to me is when they describe these tastes that are found in the tea. i have a good palate. maybe i just haven't tasted enough things to compare tastes with but when i drink green pu erh tea, it's really hard for my mouth and tongue to analyze the layers of tastes found within the final brew. i don't know what to make of green pu's taste. sure, there is the obvious astringency but the hints of this and hints of that? i am scratching my scalpel. yet, these bloggers who drink and review a particular cake, these tea bloggers do come up with all these wonderful sounding adjectives to describe the layers of tastes found with the tea.
You can if you force yourself; that's the point. It also does a tremendous job of helping you to refine your palate. The fact that you haven't developed your palate doesn't mean that others haven't. I'm sorry, but that's an astoundingly weak justification for such an insult.

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by Proinsias » Dec 29th, '08, 18:55

heavydoom wrote:forgive me for ranting in this rant thread. but that is the whole point, innit? :D
Nah, that would be a blog post with the comments disabled.

I don't mind seeing the odd rant post on here as long as the opinion stated doesn't degenerate into more unpleasantness with each post, in this case we seem to be moving towards secret admiration - win.

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by heavydoom » Dec 29th, '08, 19:52

rant = catharsis. i feel so much better now.

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by Geekgirl » Dec 29th, '08, 21:13

heavydoom wrote: i am scratching my scalpel.
That could be dangerous.

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Dec 29th, '08, 21:26
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by Space Samurai » Dec 29th, '08, 21:26

ABx wrote:
heavydoom wrote:the one thing that really gets to me is when they describe these tastes that are found in the tea. i have a good palate. maybe i just haven't tasted enough things to compare tastes with but when i drink green pu erh tea, it's really hard for my mouth and tongue to analyze the layers of tastes found within the final brew. i don't know what to make of green pu's taste. sure, there is the obvious astringency but the hints of this and hints of that? i am scratching my scalpel. yet, these bloggers who drink and review a particular cake, these tea bloggers do come up with all these wonderful sounding adjectives to describe the layers of tastes found with the tea.
You can if you force yourself; that's the point. It also does a tremendous job of helping you to refine your palate. The fact that you haven't developed your palate doesn't mean that others haven't. I'm sorry, but that's an astoundingly weak justification for such an insult.
This is true, it took me lots of practice to be able to sip tea and pick the flavor apart. But I got better at it. And now when I drink a wine, as inexperienced as I am, I can still break down the flavor. Hell we have a training class for this kind of thing; we teach new people how to describe flavors beyond salty, sweet, or bitter.

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Dec 29th, '08, 21:42
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by xuancheng » Dec 29th, '08, 21:42

heavydoom wrote:the one thing that really gets to me is when they describe these tastes that are found in the tea. i have a good palate. maybe i just haven't tasted enough things to compare tastes with but when i drink green pu erh tea, it's really hard for my mouth and tongue to analyze the layers of tastes found within the final brew. i don't know what to make of green pu's taste. sure, there is the obvious astringency but the hints of this and hints of that? i am scratching my scalpel. yet, these bloggers who drink and review a particular cake, these tea bloggers do come up with all these wonderful sounding adjectives to describe the layers of tastes found with the tea.
This gets confusing to me too. And I can see where you are coming from, but I think you are viewing the subject from the wrong angle.

There is a lot of tea language in Chinese for describing different sort of tastes and feelings you get from the tea. I know a lot of these words from my reading, but in terms of exactly what they describe, I am often at a loss. You can't really learn what this stuff means without some one drinking the tea with you and pointing out what each of these words mean.

Lots of bloggers are not Chinese, they don't have the time to learn all of these strange terms (although many actually do), but most importantly, they may not have access to an experienced tea drinker who can pass on the exact meaning of each word.

What they are doing with all of this bandying about of verbiage is creating a new vocabulary between a community to describe attributes which they value in certain teas. Especially with pu'er tea, the tea is pressed into cakes, and while the cakes can be counterfeited or aged differently it is much easier to compare than other teas which come in small batches or are blended differently all the time.

In addition to attempting to create a language for the community so that tea can be discussed in a meaningful way, effects of storage discussed and teas can be recommended; developing the palate was also mentioned.

I am not sure if I have a good or bad palate, but it is not refined. I often find I like a part of a tea, but then forget it. Using these words acts as a mnemonic device which will remind the tea drinker of which certain teas had similar flavours, etc.

And sometimes teas just have strange flavours. I left an yixing pot of DHP out for two days, and when I opened it up the old leaf smelled exactly like orange marmalade. and not just any orange marmalade, but specifically my father's homemade stuff. I brewed another pot, and it tasted like crap. I have never gotten that smell before or since from the same tea or any other, but it was not a faint scent, it was strong; and a very familiar one. So just because we can't taste a certain hint in the same tea as one blogger does not mean we wouldn't have tasted it had we been at the same tea session.

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by Salsero » Dec 29th, '08, 22:42

I always think of these things as "taste analogies." Since we don't really have much of a language for describing taste, we tend to resort to saying that one thing tastes like another. Of course, it never does! I am still unclear what floral means, for instance, since different flowers have different scents. But when someone says a tea is floral and not fruity or earthy, I get some vague sense of what I am in for. If something tastes of "dried apricot" or "white fruit" or "grapefruit" or "cashew," of course it does not taste like any of those things ... it tastes like tea, but tea that reminds at least one person of the analogous taste. Over time, it seems that some tastes -- like "nutty" in Long Jing -- become standardized so that Long Jing drinkers pretty much know what that analogy refers to.

I agree it can get pretty frustrating at times. I find leather and tobacco to be pretty confusing ... and even camphor and smoke are problematic for me. But I keep hoping that all will be revealed to me in the fullness of time!


Of course, for us beginners it is very easy to throw words around imprecisely, but as I see it the collective internet community is a group of novices trying to learn and making a ton of mistakes. The really knowledgeable people are largely writing in Chinese. But, you know, we may be having more fun!

Here's an unsolicited list of tasting terms conceived in ignorance a couple years ago. Maybe it will help someone out or maybe it could be made into something more useful like a taster's guide.

Savory vs sweet

Sour
acid, acidic
sour tang

Salty

Bitter

Sweet

honey
molasses
maple
caramel
crème brulée
buttery-sweet

Fishy taste/smell
fishy
kelpy
marine
“brothy”

Floral
lavender

Aftertaste
sandalwood
camphor
smoke
long vs short
lingers

Texture
creamy
thick
oily

Body
astringent
viscous
full
creamy finish

Penetrating Pungent Aromatics
camphor
menthol
minty
sandalwood (finish)

Taste analogies

bean
great northern bean
cocoa
chocolate
raisin
egg
wood
peach
apricot
toasty
minty
mushroom
wheat
grains
toasted grains
grassy
vegetal
melon
leaf mold
vanilla
nutty
cashew
almond
malty
sandalwood

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by Proinsias » Dec 29th, '08, 22:52

Salsero wrote:I agree it can get pretty frustrating at times. I find leather and tobacco to be pretty confusing ... and even camphor and smoke are problematic for me. But I keep hoping that all will be revealed to me in the fullness of time!
I think purchasing a leather jacket and taking up smoking is probably the best way to approach this issue.

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by Salsero » Dec 29th, '08, 22:55

Proinsias wrote: I think purchasing a leather jacket and taking up smoking is probably the best way to approach this issue.
Duh! So often the solution is right in front of me but I just can't see it till someone points it out!

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Dec 29th, '08, 23:07
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by chamekke » Dec 29th, '08, 23:07

Salsero.

"Great northern bean"?

My, that's getting awfully specific.

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