Planet Bordeaux, a German blog found on die Zeit, has found a good article analyzing the power of Robert Parker, the "Master of Taste", on the wine industry. Steven Shapin, a Harvard scholar, shows how Robert Parker became such an influential, and sometimes controversial, wine taster. Many lessons can and should be learned by the Tea Masters. I know one who is paying much attention!
First, he got famous because he is fiercely independent from the wine makers: ‘I don’t give a shit that your family goes back to pre-Revolution and you’ve got more wealth than I could imagine. If this wine’s no good, I’m gonna say so.’, says Robert.
Second, he tries to be as objective as possible about rating and commenting a wine. That's why he introduced a 50 points rating (from 50 to 100): "a wine gets up to five points for colour, 15 for aroma and bouquet, 20 for flavour and finish, and ten for ‘overall quality level’". He also uses straightforward vocabulary to describe a wine, instead of poetic bullshit.
Third, he does have a good palate, which even his critics admit, and it has helped wine makers all over the world produce more of the kind of wine he likes: "lots of ripe fruit, lots of alcohol, lots of oak, wine that tastes ‘hedonistic’ even when young."
We can see that true Teamasters, like Chih, Jung Sien, are following Robert Parker's path. Independent, we don't sell any tea and don't hesitate to say if a tea is bad. We believe in a more rational approach to understand and describe tea. That's why we like to taste it with neutral gaibei/gaiwan, or use a detailed form (translated in French below) to analyze the tea. And, finally, we hope that we can educate tea lovers to appretiate better teas and thereby giving incentive to producers to put more emphasis on quality than quantity.
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