I had plans to write about a specific topic but last week-end, I spoke with a really nice old lady.
She asked me if I had any hobbies and among my answers was tea (the others wouldn’t really interest you, would they?).
This was the beginning of some questions regarding tea and its colours, the different producing countries, the plant… as she told me she didn’t know a thing about tea.
And as I began explaining things like that green and black teas are made of the same plant or that the different tea colours are “just” the result of different fermentation and oxidation processes (to make it real simple), I thought to myself “what is with tea that makes people so confused?”
I gave some more thoughts to this question and I had several other coming to my mind.
Why is tea so complex? Or rather why does it appear so? Isn’t this a way for us tea lovers to be a little mysterious and have a certain aura around us (the one of the guy or girl that knows how to do something the others don’t)? What is so different between coffee and tea that makes people think that tea is produced by several plants?
I think there is a need for more simplicity around our favourite drink. Why? First of all, being able to explain something in a simple way is a proof of one’s mastery of the concept. The poet Nicolas Boileau said (the translation is mine and mine alone) “What is well thought is clearly stated/and the right words to say it come easily.”
This must be our goal when speaking about tea because (and this is the second point) non knowledgeable people will get confused about complex explanations and since we are all both enthusiastic and full of knowledge, we will always be eager to say more than less.
And this might scare a lot of people. While going for the KISS (or Keep It Simple Stupid) rule will help us explain our hobby and passion to a lot of people and you might even make them try this strange thing we are drinking.
The second reason is that we (as tea drinkers but this also happens to anyone who knows) might be a bit haughty when dealing with other people that are true beginners as we know how to do it right (and sometimes more than some people trying to sell us tea)
I know that you, dear reader, do not fall in this category (no not at all) but let me tell you there are some people that do.
What will they achieve with such behaviour? Frighten people, make them unwilling to learn more. In other words, they will go against the “spirit” of tea as we all know that tea is not only a drink but something you share with people, something to enjoy be it alone or with other people.
So from now on, I will try to do that and also here on my blog: speak in a simple way but not with simplistic ideas.
I hope you will join me in this quest for simplicitea.
It made me think of:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” — Albert Einstein
But more important in this case: people that have walked a certain path of knowledge (or skill) tend to forget that others did not. We walked the path from teabag to gourmet tea and further, mostly in our own tempo, our own route and our own mistakes. But others are still at the start and don’t even know that there is a path and a destination.
So I think it is not actually about simplicity but about walking their path with them. On their speed, taking their route and with their conditions. Just pushing and guiding it in the right direction.
So I think simplicity is just part of the story. Just like the right sequence, comparisons to what they already know etc.
This is something I had not considered: walking the tea path with people is what matters but I will still ask for more simplicitea when walking the way with them. By doing this, we will manage to remember what is truly tea.