The Mcgee - Patterson article is quite good, but very one sided.
The best descriptions I have read over the decades insist that to think of 'terroir' as soil is far too simple a viewpoint.
I don't think anyone's debating that the quality and type of the soil doesn't affect the way wine (or tea) tastes, or that old plants may produce different (even, arguably, better) product, and I don't think they are trying to make the point you are talking about - in fact, I think you are both making pretty much the same argument. The authors lay out in the first paragraph that they are responding to people who take the concept of terroir very literally (and yes, these people do exist).
For example, many will say the characteristic minerality of wines from Chablis comes from the limestone beds beneath the vineyards (although, when pressed, they generally admit that they’ve never actually tasted limestone).
See also the quotes in the third paragraph. The article goes on to say:
How can a place or a soil express itself through wine? Does terroir really exist?
Yes, but the effects of a place on a wine are far more complex than simply tasting the earth beneath the vine. Great wines are produced on many different soil types, from limestone to granite to clay, in places where the vines get just enough water and nourishment from the soil to grow without deficiencies and where the climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly but fully. It’s also true that different soils can elicit different flavors from the same grape.
[The stuff right after this is also pertinent, but I'll let people who are interested read the whole article rather than taking up more space than I already am here]
In other words, I don't think the article is taking issue with people who take a more sensible, and less literal, approach to the concept of terroir
. Rather, the authors are arguing that you cannot literally]
taste the minerals directly in the final product. When people say that a wine or tea has a "mineral" taste, that taste is not actually tasting the minerals from the soil directly in the wine, brewed tea, or whatever. And, as McGee points out, since few, if any, have tasted limestone, it's hard to imagine that anyone knows for sure how it tastes (of course, people have *smelled* limestone, and smell and taste are very closely intertwined, but I think McGee is arguing that any parallels are either a coincidence, or in the imagination of the person who claims to smell / taste those characteristics).
You will sometimes hear people say that the taste of wine or tea comes either purely from the land, or purely from the processing, and I think the truth lies somewhere in between. Both how the plants are grown (the soil, air, light, altitude, etc.) and the processing profoundly affect how wine and tea taste.
I was thinking about purchasing one of these too, until I read this quote from Imen's blog...
"For normal usage, soak the pot in room temperature water for 20 minutes before adding hot water. Else it can crack.
I have one or two pots from the same maker, as well as another Chaozhou pot, and I don't personally bother to do this... I treat them just as badly as I do my other pots.
There are other ways to gradually bring a pot up to temperature that are a little quicker / easier, though. With older or more fragile pots, it might be smart to put room temperature water in the pot halfway, and then add some warmish / hot (but not boiling) water to that.
YMMV; don't blame me if you crack your pot. But keep in mind that these pots aren't that horribly expensive in the first place.