The internet western tea scene differs in several ways into the scene in Asia, especially the isolationism of it. A couple of us likely go to tea shops on occasion but even for those that live near a decent one (difficult to see in the west) it’s not necessarily a normal habit. And for all those plugged to the tea neighborhood that is internet, the tea that can be bought online trumps what you can get. . I seldom buy pu’erh locally despite living in a metropolitan centre Seattle, with stuff. I locate my interests generally are better served buying online.
Insiderism can result in group think where people are technical and bubbles but where their imagination is inhibited. There can be tunnel vision when there might be ones out the instant domain, where we are restricted to the resources in our area.
We are Outsiders.
Epstein argues”our (humans) greatest strength is the exact reverse of narrow specialization. It’s the capability to integrate broadly.” He goes on to mention Netflix that is typically seen as an outsider into the studios that are tenured. Choosing which films to spend in has had a high degree of doubt and is risk. Traditional studios utilize picture’s traits stars, to decide. . Rather than focusing on those characteristics, Netflix established their recommendation plan on attempting to figure out who you are like rather than looking at what you may like. .
Additionally, it is uncommon to locate people that come into tea appearing to begin a small business. Most people are at least drawn to tea with passion and curiosity rather than a desire while many of the vendor shops are run by people who were amateurs.
In some ways lacking vulnerability lifetime specialists to tea can be a detriment. We do not get to observe experienced brewers and can settle into distinct, odd and bad habits. Tea can’t be also discussed by us . Tea can be a social beverage and doing it predominantly alone is a death from tea drinking culture. Discussing on the internet is fine and can be significant but it’s definitely not a 1 to drinking with other people to 1 replacement. (Drinking with other people is also fine and enjoyable to do. I wholeheartedly recommend it! )
I am Chinese-American, but strongly identify as a person when it comes to tea. My relatives came to America around a century ago from Southern China and opened a Chinese medicine shop . This has a seemingly obvious overlap with tea. But that part of my legacy was gone even before I was born. When I started drinking tea seriously, it was out of Denny’s debut, who has had a much bigger influence on my tea journey. The real gift was a lot of tea cups.
There’s nothing wrong with specialization of course. Or in case you’ve got an insider’s perspective of tea, this comes with a few benefits! But with other regions of interest to expand or seem at tea out their focused training has value. Fields with similarities such as wine or whisky have overlaps in areas like terroir and analysis. These are not one to a crossovers with tea, but understanding how concepts are thought about in fields that are adjacent is complementary towards java mining.
On instagram a couple of decades ago, I was looking at a tea profile and instantly felt a sense of familiarity that dated back. After massaging my brain, I realized I knew them as an internet character from Blizzard RTS gambling that I used to play… An extraordinary random and tangential link to something that actually has nothing to do with tea. However, how coincidental is it really?? You will know it’s an eclectic group if you’ve been around the american tea scene enough to find out about a few of the participants. I’ve been fascinated and befuddled at the other pursuits from the hobbyists.
Another realm of imagination is storage. Think including Marco’s hotbox that have come from the west of a few of those creative storage solutions. These were not by seasoned drinkers but by people forced by need to manage different conditions than more hotspots.
The world wide web has shrunk the planet so we are able to communicate in all kinds of ways that were not possible 20 decades ago. . I, for one, am happy to become a part of and connected with a diverse group of weirdo amateurs researching, learning and appreciating tea both independently and together.
In over a few ways, being an outsider isn’t good. As mentioned above it can be quite isolating. Lacking a formal or insider’s perspective might make people slower to pick out things that are taken for granted and would be differently educated by simply visiting a teashop a handful of times. But outside the domain will offer perspective and invention and name is also great. Our view might be a hindrance when trying to efficiently learn the fundamentals of tea brewing, such as how to utilize a gaiwan. . However, for some of those different, more complex parts of tea, i.e. tea storage in the west, using outside interdisciplinary pursuits can have some positive benefits.
David Epstein’s fantastic Range argues that generalists have provided value in a culture that has driven individuals towards intense, early specializations. 1 example he looks at is by a pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, that posted chemistry problems that are online that they could not solve . Despite significant push back from people that didn’t want to publish it they finally did. The results were surprising in a couple of ways. Solutions did come like a lawyer who worked on chemical patents, from insiders or expert chemists, but from unexpected sources.
Most of the western tea scene consists of outsiders. There are people that were born into tea, most came to it. Despite a growing teenage fascination with tea in areas like reddit, the vast majority of the western tea encounters, online or otherwise, are with adults who just started drinking tea seriously in adulthood.
Within the american tea arena there are a variety of passions and hobbies. There’s a disproportionate amount of professors and PhDs in a variety of fields. Many of these interests are in other topics that have some sort of congruency to tea. Whiskey cigars wine, or anything from the culinary world makes some sense. Others may have some similar cultural components, i.e. associated with Chinese culture. But others are entirely unrelated, such as yarn, ink pens, bonsai, archery, haiku, etc.. One of the most famed threads on pu’erh tea is done on a forum of shaving?? This mixture of interests is indeed diverse and leaves me half smiling and scratching at my head.