Monday, March 5, 2018

A Growing Pragmatic Movement in Puerh

Upon my return to puerh, I first thought it was a little unusual that there were more than a few people calling my recent posts “pragmatic”.  Well, these days I try live my life minimally and pragmatically.  I feel it’s a good way to think and live and enjoy the wonders of life.  So, quite naturally, my puerh drinking and buying should reflect this I suppose.

It occurred to me recently that my pragmatic position on buying puerh tea may have been influenced by a larger pragmatist movement taking place in Canada right now and spreading quickly globally.  In Canada there seem to be political, academic, and general philosophical branches in the current pragmatic movement gaining steam here.  The first two branches seem to come from Canada’s recent history of pragmatic conservatism and a fringe academic, Jorden Perterson, who apparently is currently the bestselling author globally.   I can’t say that I prescribe to any of these types of pragmatism.

I think the growing popularity of the pragmatic movement is a response to the recent “Post Truth” and “Sunny Ways”  governments in the US and Canada as well as the general philosophy of those voters who elected them.  To me, in a general sense, it speaks to looking at things matter of fact instead of getting caught up on emotion, marketing, philosophy, political correctness and branding.

How does this apply to puerh?

I think a pragmatic philosophy is especially needed when buying puerh outside of Asia.  We are more at the whims of marketing and branding because the way most of us buy puerh here is online.  I can tell you from experience that it is far easier to walk away from buying puerh in a teahouse in person than it is to resist the marketing of online vendors.

I actually think there is a pragmatic movement occurring in the puerh drinking world right now in the West.  Just the last few weeks, for instance, there were two puerh bloggers suggesting to drinkers to use a more pragmatic perspective on buying puerh.  Marshal’N of A Tea Addicts Journal lauds us to Buy Less, Buy Better and James of TeaDB suggests that we should focus on buying less and enjoying what you already have by Setting Down into Tea.  Both of these posts challenge the current consuming culture of Western puerh purchasing habits.  I think both offer great pragmatic wisdom to puerh buyers out there.

I think there is something to be said about pragmatic wisdom.  It speaks to both a pragmatic approach and long enough experience to back that up.  Essentially, the above bloggers are speaking with pragmatic wisdom and asking us to perhaps tap into our own.

This pragmatic movement in puerh circles indirectly challenges the Post-Truth construct of puerh consumption and marketing.  I guess to some extent it is a challenge to all puerh vendors to step it up.  In Cwyn’s Death By Tea’s yearly predictions she predicted that 2018 will be the year of the Testy Tea Customer as puerh market experiences decreased purchasing power.

Instead, I think 2018 might be the year of the Pragmatic Tea Customer.



Cwyn said...

so-called "pragmatists" practice wishful thinking at the start of every single New Year, but end up spending a lot more than they plan.

It's Cwyn with a C.

Matt said...

Cwyn N,

Well, it looks like you got me pegged... Hahahaha... Joking aside, I think the pragmatist wouldn't restrict themselves to a budget... that's so not pragmatic.

If there is a new years prediction that's sure to be true, it is that I will inevitably spell your name incorrectly with a C. Sorry about that.


John B said...

It seems worth noting that Peterson is referencing American Pragmatism, a set of ideas that has more to do with a theory of truth, and positioning of abstract concepts related to subject scope like post-modernism, a criticism of extensions of French philosophy. It's not really related to being practical, at least not in the sense of saving money.

Matt said...


Good point. Maybe this post is a bit more about being practical and a little bit about being pragmatic or vice-versa. But not the type of pragamatism of Peterson, that’s for sure.

Good job on starting a tea blog but so not practical.... hahaha


John B said...

Part of the idea about the blog is to keep track of notes and links, and another part is to waste excess time, and both go really well. The part about getting feedback and initiating discussion never did work out, but I still have tea groups for arguing with people.


Matt said...

John B,

I just realized that your tea blog started up while I was drifting away from blogging. Thanks for putting stuff into writing. I’m going to have a good read of it. I already enjoyed the post about boiling water.


hster said...

Matt- Good to see you are going strong again. Puerh buying is so resistant to pragmatism and minimalism that I consider it my most impractical habit. I dare not attach the world pragmatic anywhere near puerh lest my husband shows up to troll me.

Congrats on 10 years!

Matt said...


I constantly struggle with this too even lamenting it in various blog posts.

You have past ten years now as well so it means a lot from you.