; Cwyn's Death By Tea: You Know How I Worry ;

Friday, July 17, 2015

You Know How I Worry

I recently surprised a friend by saying I don't spend much time chatting with tea vendors. Given the constant mixing of vendors and tea drinkers on social media these days, one hardly knows where tea drinker stops and vendor starts. Very often these people are one and the same. In the case of less scrupulous vendors, having a troll avatar to bash the competition lends even more confusion to the tea nerd. On social media, I already have plenty of tea hoarding buddies, but what I really require is my tea vendor to be a Vendor because I'm tea needy, tea hoarding-level needy. I don't think people understand puerh hoarding tendencies, not even tea vendors, so let me explain because you need to see how completely rational tea hoarding really is.

We must accept that Tea Need is a boundary created by worry. Vendors might try to soothe the anxious customer dealing with a sell-out by saying "there will always be more tea," but a tea hoarder knows better. Principle of Puerh Worry #1 is There Won't be more tea. The best tea available sells out and quickly. And it is gone forever. Say that again. Forever. And no, there won't be another tea cake like that one. It rained this year so we don't have the drought-strengthened tea we had for the past two years. And then we know puerh was over picked anyway, and over-chemical-ized too and isn't the same today as it was 15 years ago. Puerh leaves are like eyebrows. Anyone who overplucked in the 90s is bald faced in 2015. So too the good tea tree is sold out and empty. Your best investment nowadays for a decent sheng collection along with copious teaware is to buy a shotgun.

Far worse, people actually drink up their good tea. They don't save it and age it and think to send me some. They hoard their cakes with good reason, and knowing this fact means I must hoard too. I could offer a tea hoarder 10x what a tea is worth, and we all know he will never sell. Ever. Not even the moldy stuff. Fire fighters can break down the door and the landlord can terminate the lease, but that hoarder will hold out and even then rent a storage unit rather than give up that gone-forever Apple Scruffs. I know for a fact the TV show "Hoarders" is a set-up, with an ultimate goal of targeting tea people. They are creating a facade of general hoarding interests, but you know what? People don't care about watching folks who can't throw away worthless junk like plastic bags and clothing, and the producers know it. We are being lulled into complacency, they have their eyes on us tea hoarders because we have the real stash. The only choices are a storage locker or you drink up. Take your pick, bottom line once it sells out, the tea is just gone, people.

The truly worrying thought is, what happens if the tea vendor decides to stop selling? Throws in the towel because too many idiots are buying cheap Dayi that lasts 8 steeps at best instead of the good stuff that leaves you crawling on the floor and passed out under the table. I've sold online and I know what a pain in the ass shipping is, just that tedious task alone is enough to send most sane people applying for a real job. Even the ones who stick with it are still worrisome, what with the mandatory two or three extended vacation times a year when they actually close the store. Do these vendors think they are teachers who get summers off? I don't care that the postal is closed for the New Year, deal with it and stay open like a normal KMart on Thanksgiving. I can just feel the people out there buying and the rising panic when website quantities don't get updated on a daily basis. Recently I survived an extended panic when white2tea took a vacation. They graciously agreed to visit me, otherwise I might have done the Unthinkable and actually ordered from someone with free shipping.

Days when nobody is Running the Store and willing to Ship puts me in a serious bind. By contrast, if I'm a smoker trying to quit I can always go across the street and hunt the parking lot for half-smoked butts. But I can't just walk into the Kwik Trip looking thirsty and expect them to have my top tier puerh pie in stock. And then if I complain that one of the hundreds of beverages they sell aren't going to do it for me, they will simply call the doggie wagon. People say I should feel sorry for marijuana users instead because weed is illegal, but why? If I want weed I can start knocking on doors down the block and eventually I will find some. But puerh tea can't be manufactured with a couple of grow lights in the basement, it comes from Overseas and only from Yunnan, China where nobody will give you any, no matter how much Wild Turkey you bought in the duty-free.

On top of the realities of tea leaves, tea buying and vendor vacations, we have our own families to deal with who constantly reinforce the need to buy tea. Now while I've verbally beaten my own son into submission, I realize not all tea people are as successful or so fortunate with their own families. In fact, I've been considering opening a Counseling Business to help fellow tea hoarders with their problem families, because I feel deeply, deeply, deeply for you people. I can only imagine what it is like to have a spouse looking at the hoard giving you the tear-filled eyes, and oh god the questions "How are we going to pay for Junior's college?" or "How will my mother/cousin/sister/brother/uncle ever get out of Mexico?" And even if they don't say anything and the kids are all done and paid for, next it's the Italian Vacation and the wife-beater car they aren't grateful for anymore, the Edison bulbs they think they need, and your tea collection is always there to blame.

Now this is a form of passive discrimination and abuse of the tea drinker race, but clearly our society has a long ways to go on these issues and we'll all be in the grave before any of it changes. What the loved ones don't realize is that the constant implicit criticism of any tea buying just grates to the point of needing to buy more. Because regardless of how the family feels about it, that cake is going to sell out either way and In is always better than Out. We can't control market forces, or tea vendor vacations, but we can still hit Buy and this is the ultimate way of feeling better, especially when a family turns stubborn.

The truth they need to understand is the same with any addiction, the tea hoarder simply does not care. At the core, I don't care what you think about my tea addiction, and you can choose to get that and be grateful that I'm not like the alcoholics down the street. At least a tea addict can still give you a grope now and again, and will stay with you as long as you accept the fact that if the credit card has any room on it whatsoever, that money will be spent on more tea. A productive family goal is to save money on lawyers and buy more teaware. Yes, every single April can be a time of joy and a ray of hope to the family who Accepts first flush, instead of the misery that tea season all too often is for one's co-dependents.

But all this is why I really need the tea vendor to be a vendor. Tea drinkers have social media covered, to quell all the sell-out worries which beset us and to promote teaware hoarding. We'll worry about how to brew the tea. In return, I need my tea vendors to keep paying off tea farmers and packing the boxes. And I need my family to respect the reasons behind why I have a post office box for my bills and to keep away from my crocks. Because I'm simply too busy with the problems of tea selling out and competition with other pesky buyers who have more to spend and hog two tongs instead of just one, and no real way of getting rid of those people. Then I have storage to think about, how to work less and drink more, that second mortgage paperwork, and whether tea vendors will start accepting SNAP sometime soon so I can dump Paypal.

I hope I've clarified tea hoarding because my job is to hoard. A vendor's job is to ship the hoard and my family's task is to say "good job Momma" when the postal forklift arrives. In this context, whether or not I actually drink any of those teas matters very little because it's about the shopping and how much room I have under the bed, and not at all about tea drinking. Once you really take the time to think about it, hoarding puerh makes more sense every passing day, and a truly proficient hoarder plans ahead. Do you all think Last Thoughts and Chawang Bulang will sell out anytime soon? Cuz you know how I worry...


  1. Oh Cwyn we know you worry because some of us also worry about the same possible shortage of our favourite type of pu'er tea (specially at reasonable prices).

    What did I do when W2T announced the latest YiWu tea? I bought TWO cakes, not two tongs so no panic on your side please (at least yet). One of them will have to be sneaked into the house for obvious reasons as my wife is also starting to worry about my perceived obsession of tea hoarding. The other cake will be stored in my office drawer where I have a new small humidor for that same reason.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. I think I know that guy in the third picture! I am with Rui and having a hard time "justifying" the new inbound.

  3. I know what you mean. My wife asks from time to time when we will start selling all that tea (she feels bold because she is backed by my mom) but I allways explain her, that tea is love and love is not for sale.

    1. Yes, and not even the moldy love is for sale.

  4. I keep cracking up at the picture of "Mommy's tuos." Those ribbons don't look terribly effective...

  5. Great post. Speaking of which: https://psychanaut.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/tea-sale/

  6. "A productive family goal is to save money on lawyers and buy more teaware" cracks me up.