Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perhaps a monkey could do better ...

One sunny day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to kill the two dead boys,
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!

I've always liked this poem, and unfortunately it seems to emulate the intelligence level of people. If you come up with a good enough story that people want to believe, no matter how ridiculous it is, people will believe it and proclaim it as fact. And it seems most so called authorities take advantage of this, politicians, religious leaders, schools, they all make up ridiculous lies, claim them as fact with no proof and people eat it up. For most of this I think that people who believe any old gobbledy-goo that they hear deserve everything they have coming to them.

However that does not extend to so called authorities who are supposedly educating people about tea. There is enough confusion already without blatant false facts to be floating around as well. People who do this should be tortured, shot, killed and then given a job at Teavana. But they should not be allowed to continue to pollute the public information stream!

The reason why I am fired up is I was recently referred to a tea quiz sponsored by the Tea Association of the USA. I thought, "Hey this could be fun lets give it a whirl", I think my blood pressure tripled. Here are some, no where near all, of my results and complaints.

If you'd like to follow along here is the link.

Question 3: How many types of tea are there?

A: There are over 3,000 types of tea derived from many different plants.
B: Counting herbal tea there are five different types.
C: There are only 3 different types of tea all from the Camellia sinensis plant.
D: There are dozens of teas available.

Pretty straight forward right? This has to be one of the most unclear, muddled questions I've ever been asked. Do they want to know how many subspecies of Camellia sinensis there are? Or perhaps how many varieties, or how many categories. Hrmm, interesting, and even more interesting is what these "mighty educators" have decided to tell the American public. They say the correct answer is, are you ready? Answer C. Well given the other choices I guess that's not a bad choice. Oh wait ... yeah it is, cause its wrong.

So what are the three types of tea these geniuses have come up with? Green, oolong, and black. All I can tell you is I'm not looking forward to going home and telling my White's, Yellow's and Pu erh's that they are no longer tea. Talk about an identity crisis, maybe if I make up a cool new name for them they will feel better.

Maybe the test will get better ... oh, you have no idea.

Question 7: What country invented iced tea and when?

A: US in 1904
B: Great Britian 1650
C: Egypt in 1854
D: Iceland 1894

Ah this one they couldn't possible screw up, except for one little thing ... ah right, the correct answer isn't one of the choices, well that is unfortunate. They were close, ice tea was popularized in the US in 1904 like Teausa claims, but not invented. There are records of ice tea in England at least a hundred years before the 1904 worlds fair.

Question 8: Who invented the tea bag?

A: Samuel Twining, 1864
B: Tetly Company, 1902
C: John Sullivan, 1904
D: Dexter Company, 1899

You'd have to work for T by Daniel to screw this one up, oh wait they did it again. They say the correct answer is C, but guess what, ah yeah you know it, they royally botched this one as well. The correct answer is Thomas Sullivan in 1908. I'm assuming the whole John thing was just a typo since they got it right in the detailed answer. Apparently Teausa has this infatuation with the year 1904 cause they keep using it hoping no one will notice. But again they strike out, three swings and misses.

Honestly I think a trained ape could have put together a more accurate and thought out quiz. Teausa if you are going to claim to be an authority on tea education, please spend less time drinking coffee and more time doing your job.

This only perpetuates the stereotype that Americans are idiots, and after taking this quiz I'm inclined to agree. Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the USA recommends this test be used as a teaching tool and everyone in the tea industry take it to keep in touch with tea topics. I recommend that they shove it where the sun don't shine. No wonder its difficult to find quality tea in this country when these guys are supposedly in charge.

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