The Ultracrepidarian’s Notebook

Monthly opinions, research and reviews in the world of tea. This stimulating non-commercial blog is never used to promote the products of Tillerman Tea.
Tea: A Nerd’s Eye View

Tea: A Nerd’s Eye View

A Good Start to the 2020s Every year sees a slew of new tea titles on bookstore shelves; most are ordinary. They add nothing new to our understanding of tea. However, a couple of times each decade a wonderful and informative new text appears. Virginia Utermohlen...

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A Tea Myth: Challenging the Orthodox View

A Tea Myth: Challenging the Orthodox View

In the beginning Prior to 1848 the common perception in the West was that black tea and green tea were produced from different plants.[1] So, the Royal Horticultural Society, with the support of the East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to locate...

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Authority: Or, What Did Simon Say?

Authority: Or, What Did Simon Say?

  Arguments From Authority In the early Middle Ages, Christian scholars based many of their arguments on the writings of Aristotle. Aristotle’s texts arbitrated any dispute. Aristotle was the authority and people have been making arguments from authority ever since...

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Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Easier done than said   “They can’t even boil water.” Who hasn’t heard that said of someone they know who couldn’t comprehend the difference between a chef’s knife and a mixing bowl? Well, technology has made boiling water a rather easy process today. In fact,...

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Grouses, Gripes and Other Miscellany

Grouses, Gripes and Other Miscellany

I’ve been travelling most of July and haven’t been able to conduct the research that is needed for an informative piece so, this month, it is grouses, gripes and other miscellany. In other words, it is a collection of opinions all of which are firmly held until I...

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Gaoshan: Taiwan’s New Tea

Gaoshan: Taiwan’s New Tea

Gaoshan: the baby As Taiwan’s Spring 2019 high mountain oolong tea comes on the market, a brief look at the history and development of this style of tea seems in order. This recounting cites only two or three independent sources and is based primarily on the...

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Muzha Tie Guan Yin

Muzha Tie Guan Yin

Muzha   This recounting of the story of Muzha tea is based on recollections and oral traditions related by Lin Wen Shin, a long-time grower and producer in the region. I have not verified the story against documents from the various periods for none exist; or at...

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Dong Ding the Witch is Dead

Dong Ding the Witch is Dead

The Tale of Lin Feng Chi In 1855, Lin Feng Chi set out for the Chinese mainland from his home in Nantou county on the island of Formosa (now the country of Taiwan.) He was off to write his provincial civil service examinations. As he was an impecunious scholar,...

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Thea ex machina

Thea ex machina

“Hold on, I’m coming”   Amongst avid tea consumers and many vendors, there is a bias against using machines to harvest tea leaves. This bias runs so deep that some use it as the primary indicator of quality. For example, consider the following observation:  ...

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