Response to L.A. Times Tea Article: 11 Jan 2012

by Jason on January 12, 2012

in Voices of Tea


Image: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / October 18, 2011

Read this article and some of the comments about this article from the L.A. Times.

– While I appreciate press coverage of the growing place fine teas are taking in the U.S., I squirmed in my seat at how tea (and tea-drinkers) were presented. One passage makes it look like some new hipster obsession that comes after bicycle and vinyl record collecting. Come on!

– The article fails to explain that good tea is good tea. The guys in the article are seeking the 7th heaven of an expensive tea experience. They’re drawing from an extensive collection of teaware and agonizing over choice of waters. Good teas do not have to be high-maintenance. They can also be enjoyed with simplicity.

– Good teas do not need to be so expensive. One of the reader comments below the article remarks at the apparent wastefulness. Some people collect fine, expensive wines. Others collect tea. But good teas can be enjoyed for far less. Considering how many times loose-leaf teas can be re-steeped, the cost per cup can be much lower than you imagine. Even competing with some teabag teas.

– Good teas can also be earth friendly and farmer friendly. With online retail and the work of organizations like the ITFA, it is possible to get teas while cutting out middle-men. And since there is no tea bag and string to recycle, your tea leaves return to directly to the earth as mulch or compost.

– Finally, the descriptions of the teas’ characteristics will scare some people off. How many people want to drink something that mainly tastes like moldy bread? There are so many rich characteristics to tea. Good tea is lower in astringency and bitterness than most of the mainstream teabags. It also invites you to move beyond flavor-chasing to experience rich texture and that sought-after aftertaste. Aftertaste is different from the initial flavor of a tea. It is sensed in the back of the mouth and throat. Once you experience it new doors of delight will be opened onto you.

Don’t let the tea geeks scare you off.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave January 14, 2012 at 17:23

Yes, the bandages comment completely grossed me out. What an inane thing to say… and print.

Katrina January 12, 2012 at 12:43

Jason – I so appreciated your comment on the article as well as this piece. I’ll be sure to pass it along and to make my own comment. I had many of the same reactions. I also think pu’erh collecting is a very different animal than other types of tea drinking, in terms of both approach and expense. I cringed at the comment about it tasting like bandages. I was about ready to give up tea drinking forever on that one. Repulsive. Tea should be approachable and accessible. That was the whole reason I started writing about it – to promote that idea. I’m so glad people like you are like-minded.

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