Like many who delve into the world of wine and tea – whether as a hobby or profession – I find that the enjoyment that comes from a glass of fine wine or a cup of good tea goes beyond the liquid under my nose. Their enjoyment has many facets, which include culture, agriculture, nature, economy, politics, botany, and perhaps most importantly, the people who make this stuff. Without knowing any one of these facets, their consumption becomes merely a shallow hedonistic exercise; and large sums of funds would be wasted towards flavored beverages, or worse, status symbols.
The above is not my own recent epiphany. It was meant to be a leading introduction (maybe a lame one at that) to an excellent essay written by Ms. Kathy Zhang of the Australian National University’s Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies (Anthropology Faculty). Her insightful essay is the kind of material that help quench my thirst for tea knowledge. Unfortunately for me, my pursuit of wine and tea knowledge has to be mostly done indirectly. I am a bystander, a spectator, a mere consumer – though an educated one at that, at least I'd like to think so – of information, if you will. Whatever I understand about pu-erh and Chinese tea cultivation, I owe it to people like Ms. Zhang as well as a horde of tea enthusiasts who are the backbone of various discussion fora.
Enough said. Here is the article.
Note: Thank you to kibi_kibi for finding and sharing this article on Livejournal Pu-erh Community, in which a healthy (if somewhat heated) discussion was born out of Ms. Zhang’s article.