In the past, on some occasions, I’ve been portrayed as a person of strong opinions, in various fora.
Yes, fora, not ‘forums’ . This is something else I feel strongly about. But I digress.
‘Tea people’ often have strong opinions. After all, if you are the kind of person that stands up against the sort of beverages that a majority find acceptable, you’ve probably got the courage of your convictions in other areas. So when people around you are taking part in what I’ll deem ‘Bizarrely Acceptable Social Conventions’ or BASCs, you may differ.
The idea that what is currently available in a tea bag is acceptable is a BASC in much the same way is that there are people who make statements to the effect that Bob Dylan can sing in tune or that Keanu Reeves can act. They are clearly untrue, but nevertheless, there are groups of people who are willing to claim to believe them.
And often the reasons are unclear.
As a committed drinker of quality tea, I have been forced to make statements over the years about the subject. For example, the quote on the left from a blog post of a few years ago in a blog about cafés.
And I certainly don’t resile from this comment, or any others.
Recently, I was engaged in a small exchange on line, and I realised that the person I was talking about was just as committed to their opinion about tea as I was.
Although we disagreed.
I was then reading The Lazy Literatus blog about Starbucks, and I was struck by his insistence that putting popped corn in genmaicha was somehow wrong compared to putting popped rice in.
I couldn’t see the difference myself.
And it got me thinking about many opinions that I have expressed, as well as others.
So, over the years, I may have made statements about various things, and I’d like to add some context.
When I say I’ve never tried a Japanese tea I like, that is literally true. It does not mean I don’t continue to try them, albeit reluctantly. It does mean that one day I may enjoy one and have to admit it (in fact, it happened once, but the extremes of weather and sugar were more important to the liking than the tea was).
In fact, I’ll be delighted to admit it, if it occurs.
When I say I don’t find teabags acceptable, I’m talking about two issues. One is the mostly inferior quality of the tea in bags; and one is the actual bag itself – I don’t find any of the current technologies acceptable.
Next week, I’ll be trying a bag made of ‘soilon’ from a tea company I have a fair bit of time for. We shall see…
Anyway the point is, we all have positions, and they are valid; they are justified, they are brilliant.
But each of us must be prepared to test ourselves. You don’t like iced tea: Try a few. Your can’t abide chai? Again, try a few. You don’t believe that tea made in a samovar can taste any good? Keep proving it to yourself.
We must all fight against BASCs and carve out our own beliefs. But we must keep testing them.
Who knows, one day I might be sipping Vanilla and Nutmeg Gyokuru from a bag. Improbable as that sounds.