Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mediocre Sheng Conundrum

I was amused to come across this 2011 teachat poll:

"Would you rather ... under extreme circumstances, have a relatively mediocre tea, or none at all. "

By very definition, most of us are drinking mediocre tea most of the time. Of course what one considers mediocre tea particularly for puerh will vary enormously.  At one extreme end is MarshalN who calls most stuff available in the West as mediocre crap tea and at the other end is Cywn who doubts the existence of crap tea since mediocre puerh is still outstanding.

Those of us forced to rely on the internet to procure our tea supply,  I'm talking about decent even moderately good sheng that is not bad but is not exactly so good that you clamor to buy more.  There's nothing wrong with drinking average teas as long as you didn't overpay for it.  Mediocre teas are necessary when you are first starting out since everything is new to you and you need to establish reference points.  If you insist on avoiding mediocre teas,  hedonic adaptation inevitably kicks in and even above average teas can become contemptuously mediocre to you.

I love puerh. But for someone like me with a sheng intolerance and tea closet crammed to the gills with decent teas bought for a song in a climate known to flatten out tea,  it becomes ever harder to find above average newborn sheng that bypasses pain receptors and stoke the hoarding impulse.  Even if I bought something which is a notch above average, it costs easily 4-20 times as much as my old stuff and it's rarely even 1.5x as good. My current solution like so many is to not seek out newborn sheng.  Why risk the triple whammy of over-priced undrinkable mediocre (or soon to age mediocre) sheng?   But even so, given how much ho-hum stuff pervades my collection, I'd better embrace that mediocrity somehow.

Behold the 2003 Dadugang Eiabora Mansa which might even struggle to be uplifted into the mediocre category.  Plenty of people were bashing Dadugang aging potential even back in 2006. Even during the massive puerh boom- Dadugang Factory hasn't distinguished itself.   The still state owned firm appears to be  churning out mass factory tea but their new stuff isn't worthwhile enough to make it out to the Western market.  I bought this $12 cake for the ridiculous name alone and it's a milquetoast of a tea.

But this tea possesses in abundance one redeeming quality that I did not forsee back when I was greedily buying up young sheng.  The tea is just feeble enough that it is one of the few shengs my body tolerates and brings about the right amount of focus and attention without making me jittery.   Sigh. I'm the anti-Hobbes and need totally weak ass tea to make my session right.  Let me just put a blanket over my head and contemplate the sad facts.

I spent 3 hours in the ER today with my husband who needed a few stitches. The entire process could have taken fifteen minutes but because he answered that he wasn't in much pain, we were plum forgotten about.  The almost dying should have priority but I vow to have my own suture kit and lidocaine ready.


  1. Sorry about the ER... hope he recovers speedily. Maybe some lao cha tou will help him feel better?

  2. Not to worry Ira. My man is healing nicely. It was just being in the ER for hours waiting and waiting that frayed my nerves. Nothing cheap aged sheng couldn't repair.