I know I said that studies should be taken with caution but I found an interesting one and I wanted to share its conclusions with you.
This study shows that price tag can change the way people experience wine.
If you want, you can read it here or you can read my summary (with some short cuts as I am no neural sciences expert).
20 students (among them 11 males) who said they liked and occasionally drank red wine were asked to perform a test to “study the effect of sampling time on flavor” while they were performing another test.
Each one was told they would be tasting 5 different Cabernet Sauvignons, identified by price and put in a random order but there were only 3 different wines.
One of them was given its normal price tag, another its normal price and a lower one, and the last one its normal price and a higher one.
The final results were that the students could taste 5 different wines and that the more expensive ones tasted better.
I will spare you all the neural things but the obvious thing is that more research has to be done to see if experts will replicate these first results.
Let’s take a step back and think about the results and how they could be used for tea.
It would mean that for specific origins and flushes; the higher the price, the higher the pleasure to drink it.
I guess we won’t have any answer here unless someone made blind tastes with other people.
If you think tea is a normal product (ie with price defined by a cost-based approach), this is disturbing. However, if we think that some teas (not all of them) could in a way be considered luxury goods, then the picture changes and they partly become Veblen goods, goods whose demand is proportional to their price.
I said partly because only a few people will ever pay millions of Euros for some tea
What teas could fit into this pattern? My guess is that teas with a certain prestige around their name, teas with limited harvest each year could perfectly fit the bill.
This does not mean that we might pay too much each and every tea but that the high price of some teas will create the perfect conditions for our mind to believe we are drinking an awesome tea.
Sometimes our mind doesn’t mind playing a little fool trick on us but remember it is the one saying “Trust in me…”