Site-Wide Activity Forums Tea Conversations Do you feel intimidated by those who know more about tea than you?

14 replies, 13 voices Last updated by  Anonymous 5 years, 7 months ago
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  • #7470

    Jackie
    Keymaster
    @jackie

    Here’s a thought I’ve been pondering, do you feel intimidated when you read discussions or blog posts by people who know a lot more about tea than you do? I know some people like @thedevotea won’t know the meaning of the word, but others, the more quiet souls here, does it bother you sometimes? Do you ever read about a tea post, where you have no clue what the terms mean, the tea is, or what the writers are talking about? Are there times when you’d like to chime in asking questions, but you don’t because you feel you’ll look ignorant, or clueless? Do you ever feel that those who have more tea knowledge than you ignore you? Or would ignore you, if you did have your say? Is there an inner circle you’d like to break into? I think I should blog about this, but I’ll start a forum discussion first.

  • #7471

    Robert Godden
    Participant
    @thedevotea

    The only way to learn about anything is to watch , listen to, discuss with or argue with those who know more than you.
    Although it’s also not mandatory to have your knowledge at a particular level. If you’re Ok with what you know, then great.

  • #7472

    Gingko
    Participant
    @gingkoseto

    “Do you ever feel that those who have more tea knowledge than you ignore you? Or would ignore you, if you did have your say? ”

    In my observation, among online tea forums, some are definitely much more intimidating than others. But I have an impression that a lot of tea lovers (especially some very geeky ones) are introverts. In my experience dealing with introverts (I think I know a lot of introverts :D), many of them are by far not as intimating as they appear. Not all introverts are like this, but sometimes an introvert may appear rude, but once you know him/her, you will know that it’s mostly because they are shy and don’t know how to express themselves, and they are indeed very kind and generous people.

    Besides, in any case, if anybody appears intimidating, it’s their problem, not yours ๐Ÿ˜€ In fact, Jackie, your questions immediately reminds me of, not tea stuff, but my high school! I grew up in highly intimidating education environment, and I think that’s one thing that I’ve learned from it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • #7473

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I think I’m with @thedevotea on this one, the only way one learns is to glean from those who are in the know. I was in the tea business for about eight years, and have been drinking it longer than that, but I still do not know all there is to know.

    On the flip side, I would hope that others do not feel intimidated by what knowledge I do possess. We were all “newbies” at one point, and as much knowledge as one may or may not have, that person is bound to eventually come in contact with someone who is more knowledgeable.

    So I would say, ask questions and glean that information. Learn whatever you can, because it will only enhance your love and appreciation for tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #7477

    Xavier
    Participant
    @xavier

    liberteas said:
    So I would say, ask questions and glean that information. Learn whatever you can, because it will only enhance your love and appreciation for tea.

    This is what Internet and forums are really about.

  • #7478

    bram
    Participant
    @bram

    I don’t mind a blogger/writer that knows more than I do. It might even be a reason to follow him/her.

    What does irritate me are writers that claim to know more, claim to be an authority. They are specially irritating if they make one error after another. In other words if they don’t know it even a little. I might sometimes see it, but someone with even less knowledge than mine might not.

  • #7483

    lahikmajoe
    Participant
    @lahikmajoe

    You know, this is an intriguing question. One that really deserves a blogpost. Thanks for the idea Jackie.

    I was recently in a tea shop, and the tea shop assistant mentioned an introductory class the owner was giving on green tea. Immediately after her words left her mouth, she said, ‘Oh, but you know too much about tea for that to be of any use to you.’ Quickly, I assured her that it wasn’t the case.

    I’m also fascinated with how to better bring people to tea, and would’ve been just as eager to see how the introduction was presented.

    Before I began my blog, I was quite intimidated by the far more knowledgeable tea people online. It actually made me hesitate longer than I care to admit. Then a friend assured me that this could actually be used to my advantage. That I could write the blog as someone ‘on the path‘ of discovering tea.

    It’s all the encouragement I needed.

    I live in a culture (Germany) where blogging is eyed with great skepticism. Many people here wonder first of all how serious one can be if the work is thrown up on the web without any obvious financial gain. Secondly, the question posed is, ‘How knowledgeable is this person, anyway?

    Some people know a lot more about tea than I do. I suspect that it’ll always be true to some extent. I’m much more interested in the exchange of ideas than in proving how brilliant I am when it comes to tea. Does that mean I reject learning more? Clearly not.

    One of the nicest things about this tea community in particular, from my perspective, is that any ‘putting on of airs’ would be rather transparent. Quite quickly I’d think.

  • #7496

    jopj
    Participant
    @jopj

    Tea in all aspects is non intimidating add good leaves, boil water and steep! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • #7529

    Gingko
    Participant
    @gingkoseto

    Alex Zorach said:
    Hmmโ€ฆmy experience has been that whether or not I feel intimidated by someone depends not so much on how much they know, but rather, small details of how they communicate.

    I think a lot of it boils down to whether I get the impression that a person is measuring other peopleโ€™s worth or status by their level of knowledge.

    This exactly reminds me of my high school again! :-p I totally agree that what’s intimidating is usually not someone’s knowledge or intelligence, but whether or not they intimidate others directly or indirectly, or subconsciously.
    When I was in high school, most people in that environment evaluated others by how smart they were. I know some smart kids who were truly smart but they also knew very well how to intimidate others make others feel less smart in front of them. I think the key to the end of such intimidation is changing our value system.
    I have the similar impression that some very intelligent people are not intimidating at all. I think that has to do with that in their environments, merely appearing knowledgeable doesn’t bring much reward, and there are other qualities that are valued as much as being knowledgeable. On the other hand, I think some of my high school friends still know very well about intimidating others and they thrive in certain industries :-p

  • #7531

    bram
    Participant
    @bram

    Gingko said:
    When I was in high school, most people in that environment evaluated others by how smart they were. I know some smart kids who were truly smart but they also knew very well how to intimidate others make others feel less smart in front of them. I think the key to the end of such intimidation is changing our value system.

    My experience is that it has nothing to do with being smart, but with people trying to be seen as better. People that feel the need to push others down so they are higher (in the eyes of people). I know a lot of smart people behaving small and not so smart people behaving big. Same goes for physical greatness, better in sport etc. They just try to be accepted as the better person, whether they are or not. I even think that they are usually not the best or smartest, otherwise they did not need to behave this way.

  • #7543

    angrboda
    Member
    @angrboda

    In the beginning over on Steepster I did a bit. Mostly because I was very conscious of the risk of flaunting my own ignorance with some sort of stupid, wrong statement.

    After a little while though, I realised that this was kind of useless and holding me back so I did my best to learn to ignore it and just press on with what I wanted to say. And the most important thing I learned is that when it comes to tasting tea and the different notes you can find in it, there is no right answer. That has actually turned into a bit of a… how do you say this in English? Something you believe strongly to be true and will tell others about at any given opportunity? Well, whatever it is called, it is one for me. Nobody can experience exactly the same as me, so nobody can tell me I’m wrong. They can’t smell with my nose or taste with my tongue, so if those who feel they’re better at tea than me try to correct me (as opposed to merely sharing their own experience with it), then I know not to bother listening to them.

    For the more technical things like how each type is produced and whatnot, I know I don’t know anything. Or more correctly, I do know it, I just can’t remember it. It doesn’t intimidate me that others are more solid in that stuff. I just assume they have a much better memory than me. And a better understanding of the mechanics of the production. When reading about it there are some things that just continue to baffle me because I just can’t imagine it in my head.

    So no, I have no problems just asking my question if I’ve got one, but it has been a learning process not to be at least a little worried of looking stupid while doing so.

    (In a way it’s a lot like learning a second language and using it a lot. My written English has always been quite good, if I do say so myself. But since meeting my fiance, who’s English, that my spoken English has improved in leaps and bounds, because I got so used to using it all the time that I stopped being afraid of mispronouncing something.)

  • #7546

    mbanu
    Participant
    @mbanu

    It has happened to me before. :). When it does, I do my best to remind myself of our common passion.

  • #7620

    hiphopteashop
    Member
    @hiphopteashop

    angrboda said:
    In the beginning over on Steepster I did a bit. Mostly because I was very conscious of the risk of flaunting my own ignorance with some sort of stupid, wrong statement.

    I totally agree with this. As a newbie myself I’m not ashamed to admit there are a fair few blogs I’ll read with Wikipedia open in the background, so someone having more knowledge doesn’t bother me. I get more worried about posting stuff on my own blog (www.hiphopteashop.blogspot.co.uk if you want a shameless plug) , especially with tea reviews. I always feel like I’m cheating slightly. But I always like to think it’s more about your passion for the subject than how much you actually know…

  • #7622

    tarastyme
    Participant
    @tarastyme

    There is always someone that knows more. I have been drinking tea for years and have my own preferences and also my own opinions. People don’t always agree with either one of those. I have felt intimidated because I am still learning about tea itself. Tea has been around for thousands of years and it is very difficult to absorb all the knowledge. I have been lucky in that the individuals I work with have many years of experience and knowledge. I also do a lot of reading and research.

    Recently I felt intimidated because I tried to convey some simple information but was told I was wrong yet was not told what I was wrong about, which was really confusing and frustrating. It makes me not want to continue conveying information because maybe I didn’t completely understand what I was conveying or maybe it was something else. Either way it left me feeling a little insecure and intimated.

  • #7629

    Anonymous @

    That would mean everyone actually, in some form or fashion.
    Tea has such a wide spectrum that it is quite impossible to interact with tea lovers of different levels of experience without learning something new.
    For example, I know native of Mt Wuyi, Northern Fujian. His family are farmers (he is a wholesaler) and he stayed there all his life until 5 years. Ask him anything about Wuyi teas and he has an answer, from the legends to the realities. From the breed to each gully. Yet once I went to see him with some Taiping Houkui tea leaves in my bag from a previous vendor, to my surprise, he though those were longjings.
    On further reflection, it would not be surprising since many of these farmers spend their entire lives drinking teas from around their region- studying their own teas in depth would be a lifelong affair.
    That is depth.
    Some have breadth, I’ve met some who know quite a fair bit about every type of tea but because their in depth knowledge of specific breeds would be significantly lesser than local farmers. Many books I’ve read allude to that.
    That is breadth.
    There is something to learn from everyone, if I’m intimidated, that means I wouldn’t get to talk about this and interact with like-minded people. ๐Ÿ™‚
    That is the spirit of Chinese tea culture, making friends through tea.

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