Apr 1, 2011

Tea Nazi

Remember the soup Nazi? :D

A friend of mine, Pan, I call him "tea Nazi". But since he doesn't watch Seinfeld, there is no way I could explain to him about it.

I am not saying he kills with his tea :-p He is the owner of a small teashop, which used to be in Maliandao (the "tea city" of Beijing), and now is in transition, after he got a "real" job in a TV station of Hangzhou.

You know, most small sellers are very nice. Many of them are truly very kind, and some others at least fake smiles to their customers. Pan, I have to say, is not nice to everybody. He has a lot of rules, and says a lot of "no" to customers. For example, for all requests of price reduction or free samples, his answer is usually "no", without additional explanations. He does give free samples to buyers, in my opinion, very generously. The 2005 Bai Mu Dan I blogged is a sample from him. It's a top grade tea of 5 years of aging. The Meng Ding Snow Orchid I blogged is another sample from him, a tea I would otherwise have no way to obtain. And there are a few other very nice samples. But he only "assign" samples to people, and doesn't allow people to request samples. When Pan tells people about a  tea or a brewing method, he sometimes talks in a way like a teacher to a 5th grader. I guess many people don't like his way of conversation, considering he is only 24 years old, and most customers are much older than he. But indeed he is very warmhearted, and wants to help you as much as he can in terms of these questions. Besides, with my experience of dealing with people, I can tell his way of talking is not because he has too much ego (though he does have some, I would say), but because he is truly crazy about the subject matters.

Once Pan told me such a story. A customer in his shop asked him, pointing to a White Peony, "why is your white tea in green color?" Pan said, with a straight face, "yeah, it's green because I dyed it green." The customer immediately escaped the store, scared and puzzled. Pan told me the story with a good laugh. But I was scared too, "How can you ever say something like this to a customer? Now she truly believes it and what if she tells other people you put green dye to your tea!" Pan said, "If she really wants to know, I would explain to her with more details about white tea. But she didn't seem to be that curious at all." This is even worse than telling a customer he didn't want to sell a tea to her, which, of course, Pan has done for a few times too. I didn't know what to say except telling him how buyer-repellent he could be!

To be fair, Pan is a nice guy and loved by a lot friends. Out of his tea store, he looks totally normal, and doesn't offend people as much as when he is in the tea store. There are a lot of people who were not freaked out by him and bought his tea again and again. He is outgoing and very frank to comment on his own teas about their strengths and shortcomings. And he does have a unique collection of tea. Although I do believe he could be milder and more sophisticated, his craziness doesn't bother me at all. I am surrounded by all kinds of crazy friends, and I like a lot of crazy people :D I think it's quite interesting to have one or two (as long as not too many!) soup nazi or tea nazi in real life, and it's even better when they are good guys who bring us good stuff. 


Unknown said...

No tea for you! Get out of my shop your banned!

Ho Go said...

Offending people can be a great skill! But, this is different from being offensive. My mentor was a challenge to everything I stood for! All concepts and beliefs could not stand up to this fire that burned in him. This fire is burning in all of us. Drink up.

Gingko said...

Yeah, I think our tea nazi is too young and will probably cool down with time being :-p Also I wonder if it's a big city thing, like the soup nazi.

Rich said...

As with a young & high-roast oolong, aging reduces the fire :)

There was a tea wholesaler that I randomly met in a local tea shop last year as he was traveling throughout North American tea houses to prove that his products were "the best." I talked to several teahouse owners that were "lucky" to have him visit and were subjected to his very offensive way of demeaning their products/businesses in order to promote his wares. At least two retailers angrily kicked him out of their stores...NO MORE TEA FOR YOU!!! People are funny.