Friday, December 2, 2011

The Paradox of Unremarkable Tea

I have been writing about a lot of rather long posts about rather weighty and deep topics lately, so I thought of tackling a lighter, and more boring subject today, the topic of unremarkable teas.

Unremarkable teas are rare:

How much tea do you drink that is just not very interesting or notable? I sample a lot of teas, and I actually find them mostly pretty interesting. I am the sort of person that tends to be pretty interested in life, and in tea, and I tend to find interesting qualities in most teas, so there isn't that much tea that I find unremarkable. Unremarkable is not the same as bad. Bad teas usually get my attention. Sometimes they can be terrible. Undrinkable teas are the worst...the ones I pour out into the sink. I hate pouring out tea. But this experience itself is doesn't happen that often, thankfully, but it leaves an impression on me. In order for a tea to be unremarkable it needs to tread that fine line between good and bad. It needs to be good enough that I enjoy drinking it, but boring enough that it doesn't leave much of an impression. It can't be similar enough to other teas I've had that it leaves an impression on me. It can't have any interesting aromas that I have never been exposed to before. It needs to achieve that delicate balance between being similar enough to other teas I've tried that it doesn't stand out as new or different, but not so similar to any notable teas that I notice the similarity enough to make a mental note of it.

The more I think about it, the more remarkable and notable it seems when a tea is unremarkable. How odd. And the data backs this perspective up:

I have used the term unremarkable exactly nine times in writing reviews on RateTea, of the five-hundred-something teas I've reviewed. Interesting, no other reviewers have yet used the word "unremarkable" in their reviews on the site. Which teas did I find unremarkable? Honestly, I do not think they are worth mentioning. Do a google search if you really want to know. They're really not bad teas.


  1. My definition of an unremarkable tea: I drink it and when I'm finished, I don't recall what I had.

    Also, on the topic of composting...the city of Portland is trying a system of curb-side compost pickup. There's hope!

  2. That is good news! I think that's a move in the right direction, although what I think would make even more sense, at least in some areas, would be to have building-wide composting setups. It seems a bit unnecessary to collect compost and ship it off somewhere and then ship the soil back out to different places when you can turn compost into rich soil just about anywhere!