A list of stuff I’m really not interested in:
1 Selling very expensive tea and teaware
After a certain level (something like 357g cakes over $500, teapots over $300-500), it’s 99.x% hype, it’s either just a tiny bit better than equivalent more affordable alternatives, or often it’s literally just hype.
Many tea and teaware people lust after I suspect they wouldn’t really care about if the price tag was hidden. And many shops just have some very expensive stuff to position the rest of their stuff as “good value” and themselves as “premium”/”expert” brand. It feels very obvious but I thought to spell it out in case it wasn’t.
I drank a 50s red mark and a few 20/30s puerh. They were great, but so were a ton of other teas I had. Perhaps you really need to try them to believe. I certainly had to actually try all the expensive stuff to finally be free of the oppressive story of “I need better tea”, like a fool I believed it. It was rubbish.
Even trading in things like this promotes feelings of greed, anxiety and jealousy. This is really against the “tea will bring you peace” spirit I set out to share.
When “rare” tea like this (like the 60s loose) comes to us it’s generally gifted or at very discounted prices from collector that love what we do, hence we either gift it or pass it at normal markups, not silly “market prices”.
Many people won’t believe this and will cry “fake fake!” because their minds are so used to a world where everything is for profit and everyone is trying to scam each other. The only thing I can say is that I feel very lucky I don’t feel like that about my fellow humans, it must be very hard to constantly being scanning for dishonesty in others.
A significant part of this is all the “investment” (buying with the idea of selling later) tea and teaware, and most of the “collectible” stuff as well. More pointless stuff I happily leave to those with more greed.
2 Giving the impression of exclusivity
There will always be new tea, it may be true that this particular one runs out but so what?
There are ton of tea around, somehow both in west and east vendors have convinced us that what they’re selling is the best deal ever. How many times does this have to happen before we learn? It took like 10-20 times for me, but finally I got there!
You will learn what tea you will like the more you drink, and make better purchase decisions over time.
I believe if you bought tea you later regret buying because you “fell” into the scarcity/exclusivity trap this is a serious failure on the part of a vendor.
3 Being recognised as “serious collector”
Let’s be honest, there’s a large part of the “online tea community” where showing off that “My tea is better than yours” is the main and end goal.
It’s never talked about so explicitly of course but if you read between the lines you see so much of what’s exchanged for what it really is: attempts to prop one’s fragile self-esteem up with thoughts like:
- “I’m smart because I paid less than you for better tea”
- “I’m important because I pay the most for the best teas”
- “My sense of self-worth is derived from having people recognise my good taste in tea”
- “The only valid way to drink tea is the one I do”
- “I’m a tea expert and putting others down helps this reputation”
The temptation to join in and respond in kind is strong of course, some random person over the internet has just told you your tea must be bad/fake and you must be stupid, so what do you do?
Go and drink more tea, at some point a compassionate response that understands why people are behaving like this will emerge.
4 Drinking tea only on the level of taste
“All of humanity’s problems stem from (hu)man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” (Blaise Pascal).
Comparing tea only on what it’s easily perceivable leads to a lot of obsession with what’s “better”, and a lot of the competitiveness, greed and delusion I talk about in point 1, 2, 3.
5 Selling tea for profit
At the moment (june 2021) we operate at a loss, and I’m not worried about it. We also sell a tiny quantity (a couple cakes a week or so) but the people to which we do make all the difference.
It’s not even that I want to finance my own tea drinking habit, it’s that I want to meet other people that are honestly trying to live a more peaceful, non-harmful, “enlightened” life. I believe some tea is a great support for this, and to provide such tea is both a privilege and a very needed service.