02 January, 2009

That Time of the Month

Writing Half-Dipper articles is a lot of fun. I get e-mails from plenty of generously-hearted, interesting folk. I get to swap tea with like-minded souls, and sometimes even meet them for face-to-face sessions, as well as maintaining an electronic version of my garbled tea-notes to keep track of my cakes and samples. It's a very rewarding experience, made all the more rewarding by allowing me contact with intelligent, witty folk with a passion for tea. Top stuff.

The Farmhouse

So, over to a piece of recent feedback (always welcome). This time, the feedback was provided by a writer apparently unburdened by the usual requirements of good manners, which must feel rather nice (for a while).

man, it's sure is laughable how you can claim all these claims by you
assuming to be a seasoned pu erh tea drinker/expert.

it makes no sense to me that you are reviewing
so many mengku shuangjiang pu erh tea
and criticizing about them at the same time.
i guess you have to review samples/cakes that were sent
to you by the big ebay pu erh tea sellers?
otherwise you won't get anymore freebies to review, no?

The Farmhouse

The on-line pu'er community has grown a great deal lately, which is something for which we can all be grateful. It would be fine indeed if more people enjoyed real tea, particularly given the crimes being committed in the tea-and-coffee aisles of our supermarkets. More drinkers, more vendors, more good tea, I say.

Along with this worthy increase in attention for pu'er, the Half-Dipper has (much less worthily) benefited from a fair increase in its number of daily readers. The more, the merrier!

With an influx of new readers comes the possibility of certain doubts. I've written about this before, but it bears repetition, given the words from our correspondent above.

If you'll allow me, I would like to add that I'm a fan of "full disclosure": if I receive something with a potential conflict of interest, I'll declare it. If there isn't a declaration, it simply means that I am paying for the tea that forms the subject of the article. I suppose that I pay for about 75% of my tea, with the overwhelming majority of the remainder swapped with Half-Dipper readers for other teas (even if I'm a bit slow).

Every now and again, if the stars are in alignment, a vendor will throw in a free sample with a large tea order. These freebies amount to about 1% of my tea by variety (or about 0.0001% of my tea by volume). I suspect that this is fairly common for readers with and without their own tea-blogs.

So, that's that. Hopefully, that answers the concern of our correspondent above.

Again, all feedback, good or bad, is always welcomed. Even aggressive feedback is fine, as it tends to be pretty honest (if not 100% accurate). Of course, if you want to write a 3-page poem in iambic pentameter describing your love of the Half-Dipper, that's fine, too.



The Farmhouse

P.s., To address a specific concern of the above correspondent's regarding good ol' Shuangjiang Mengku, I count six (6) Half-Dipper reviews from that factory during 2008, which range from favourable to unfavourable. That seems like a reasonable number, likely to be repeated in future, given my drinking habits. My reaction to them will depend on nothing more nefarious than the following factors: (i) the quality of the tea; (ii) my mood; (iii) the performance of [insert name of local sports team].

Shuangjiang Mengku are variable, to my tastes: always pleasant, occassionally very good. Like those infamous Singapore ladies that ST mentioned, I'll be watching Muyechun for some more sweet goodies...


Anonymous said...

Sir, I really like the way you manage your fans and critics. Great approach and super blog. Will definitely tell you what the ladies here are drinking next. hahaha!!!


Hobbes said...

Singapore ladies... you playboy. :)

Happy New (Solar) Year,


Anonymous said...


it was me who made that comment. this is a blog. we can read it or we don't. we can comment on it or we don't. i just had to comment on it. you responded to my comment in a very professional manner. respect! i also totally respect your honesty actually in your reviews. very admirable.

have a nice day.

Arcane-Dissonance said...


As a complete novice, I really appreciate all the work that you and the good folks at Tea Masters, Mattcha's, and so many other notable blogs do. It's nice to have a thread tied a bit closer to the action in china that we in the west can follow.

Sorry, I'm no good with iambic pentameter!


Hobbes said...

Hi chaps,

I really appreciate the kind words.

First poster - totally right. I always rather get feedback than not - you can't change if you don't get any response, after all.

Happy new year both,


Unknown said...

hahah... thanks for the laugh. "That time of the month"....

- Scott

Anonymous said...

There seem to be a few disgruntled tea blog readers floating around out there right now but your professional and restrained response seems to have cooled the angry heart. Poor Tea Goober was attacked rather mercilessly a few days ago also. Astounding. Perhaps it has something to do with the unusual conjunction of Venus, the Moon, Saturn and Mercury but of course I'm just babbling here in Arkansas. I've learned so, so much from a few of the tea bloggers out there. I can't thank you, and them, enough.
A faithful follower of your blog but rarely do I comment, eileen

Hobbes said...

Dear Eileen,

It's great to read your comment - there are a large number of readers whom I've never heard from, and it's a real pleasure to meet the silent majority! Thanks for reading, and do please let me know if you'd like more or less of a particular topic.

With best wishes,


Anonymous said...

The canines, by the way, are sleeping beauties!

Hobbes said...

They look a lot nicer than they smell. :)