Why I can’t be a reviewer- Part I

Or more specifically a tea reviewer.

Well, besides the fact that I sell Chinese tea and perceived independence is lacking.

After all, it would be pretty fun to share my drinking journey with the world at large.

Not to mention the fact that it is an easy source of inspiration for this blog.

The second point is not something to be sneezed at, with the serious stuff at the company blog where I talk about brewing techniques, selection of tea, history, geography, chemistry blah blah blah, this is basically the more whimsical blog but at the same time I am mindful that my rants can be rather irritating. The long and the short of this is that- I don’t always have any inspiration to write here.

But it is just not in me to be a reviewer, for the following reasons:

1) Consistent Format

As I see it, a review blog should provide information to help readers decide whether to make a purchase or not.

Image from sxc.hu

Image from sxc.hu

A good example of this is CNET– one of the most popular electronics blogs.

When I am buying a phone or a laptop, I often read the reviews and a consistent format helps me to compare different models.

In fact, at one stage many reviews sport the exact same photo taken from the phone camera to illustrate the prowess (or lack thereof) of the camera function, a key consideration in an age where ‘selfie’ is a ‘proper’ word.

So, if I write a tea review blog, it would be a fairly consistent format:

–          Same type of photographs

  • Dry leaves on a white background
  • Liquor in a white cup
  • Wet leaves on a white background- preferably one leaf that is fully unfurled with a standardized unit of measurement

–          Brewing method clearly stated

–          Simple but descriptive

Why this is a problem will be explained in tandem with point 2).

2) Privacy

For someone who blogs and promotes my company through social media like Facebook, G+, Twitter, this sounds a tad odd but I am a rather private person.

That means if I write a review, it is all about the tea.

You won’t read stuff like:

“Today was a horrible day, my girlfriend and I had a massive fight and she moved out.

Desolate and despondent, I slumped on the couch and wept. Yes, I know it is not manly to weep but indulge me.

Thankfully I remembered Derek from Peony Tea S. or is it Penny Tea I can’t remember had kindly sent me some samples of some a Tieguanyin.

Oh, Tieguanyin, I still remember the first time I had it was with her.

Damn, note to self, she walked out of the door, remember!

The tea was just what I needed for a time like this.

I will survive, I have tea! Who needs you!”

Combining 1) & 2)

Image taken from sxc.hu

Image taken from sxc.hu

It can be rather boring to be honest.

Seeing the same type of photos, writings and honestly if you don’t play that game of imagining obscure flavor notes that show off your superior palate but proves utterly useless for other purposes, it reads 80% like any other review of the same tea.

Intensity differs, how long the fragrance/sensation lingers differs but keeping to the CNET format, it is not so different from others.

After a while, it can get a bit boring.

Especially since my highest praise for a tea goes something like- “This is how Tieguanyin should be, good ‘Yinyun’” as opposed to the other end of the spectrum “This is scarcely worthy of being called a Tieguanyin, no “Yinyun” at all”.

Useful for one to assess production quality but rather banal.

There are another 2 more reasons which is a story for the next post.

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