This is likely a topic that angers most and encourages others, especially in the world of tea. There is so much behind tea and so much more than the leaves and the hot water, and this is what brings many people into this beautiful beverage, pastime, and lifestyle.
In some cultures that tea comes from there is music that goes with it, or flower arrangements, clothing, manners, or even religion. When we adopt tea into our lives, do we have to adopt the rest that comes with it? Of course, we can, and it can be fun and beautiful to do so, but when do we make it our own?
I write this on the eve of releasing a product into the tea world that may change pu’er forever. I don’t present this with pride, but with curiosity. Will it change pu’er? Pu’er tea is one of the only teas that carries such a culture with history and tradition on its back; it was the first tea ever cultivated! It has always been pressed into bings or disk shapes, and that’s how we see them in stores around the world. Sometimes the shape of a brick or a bowl, but why not anything interesting? And why is it controversial to change that shape?
When we changed the shape of pu’er, we changed the way you can relate to tea. No longer is it just Chinese, or just Asian, or just Buddhist. Now, it is your own. We must break away from what is theirs and make it ours, with a bit of theirs still in there. Let the tea be great. Changing the wrappers isn’t revolutionary; drinking pu’er on a bike on the way to work is.
We are lucky enough to be in one of the few regions of the world that has tea from nearly every region of the world. Let us continue to pay respect to the people and cultures these teas are coming from, but not forget to remember that we too have our own that can enhance and personalize the teas we call our own.
Sometimes when something new comes to my attention, I say “of course, great idea – why didn’t I think of that?” Respectfully changing the shape of pu’er is revolutionary but very compelling. Why are we so frightened by change? Why does it throw us off and make us feel uncomfortable? We are creatures of habit after all and change requires an internal shift which we feel, initially, a bit reluctant to make. I’m sure many will protest this physical change while others will delight in a new appearance of an ancient tea. I’m in. Bottle line, it MUST taste exceptional as well. I suspect the folks at Misty Peak have nailed it.
AMAZING work by mistypeakteas.com as always!
Why should anyone be angered? Tea is an agricultural product and there is no right or wrong way to enjoy it. Just enjoy it. We are about to revolutionize the way tea is brewed and some have said disparaging things about how awful it is not to steep tea traditionally, but most have been very encouraging. A good steak is done many ways…and none is disrespectful to the steak. Tea has been held back, I believe, by trying to put it in a ‘traditional’ box for a very long time; tea houses were either the Asian aesthetic or flowery Victorian to be ‘authentic’. Now there are ‘American style’ tea places popping up everywhere. Best wishes!
Well said Diane. Tradition is important but that shouldn’t discourage innovation. Both can live and thrive side by side. I will always make time to brew my first cup of tea each morning. I welcome innovative brewers that will make my tea throughout the day easier (read faster and foolproof) to make. I can hardly wait to see your brewer in tea shops around the world.