Come out, come out, wherever you are
All you bright tea nerds who fell from a star.”
Many are the parallels between tea and wine culture, but after browsing the T Ching Tasting posts in the Archive, I am thinking that the tea nerds have it over the wine nerds.
Both are extremely knowledgeable and capable of great care in the preparation and serving of their respective beverages, but I had no idea that so much care was taken in water preparation and pot preparation when making tea. Temperature is important to both wine nerds and tea nerds, but tea nerds also are concerned with small degrees of temperature, and where the water came from, what it was exposed to before it became tea, and how long the water is heated before brewing. Like a wine-lover insisting on only drinking out of the proper Riedel glass, tea-lovers make a distinction between how the tea tastes after brewing in a silver versus a stoneware or enamelware pot. I would not be surprised to find that barometer readings were taken by some tea nerds prior to tasting. Just as wine nerds pay particular attention to the growing region a wine comes from, so do tea nerds distinguish teas from their respective regions, and so on.
Nerd culture, as we all know, involves a passionate immersion into a subject, often to the exclusion of all societal norms around it. You can’t be “in the flow” and be worried about what other people think; the two states are exclusive of each other. Nerds push the envelope of our understanding of a subject, often leading to a broader enjoyment of it—where would the internet be, for example, if not for the early tech nerds?
We need our nerds. They raise the bar, enrich our lives, and bring the wonder of their worlds to the rest of us. Somewhere inside of us all lurks a nerd. What was your nerdiest moment with tea?
This post was written by Anne Lerch and originally published on T Ching 22 October 2007, titled “Are You, or Aren’t You?” On Fridays, T Ching is delighted to publish a post from our archives. Watch this space each Friday for a look . . . Back Seven.