Simulacra in Contemporary Chinese Tea

The lack of solid references in tea is the greatest barrier to a practitioner of the praxis – without references, we are left adrift to define our own truth[1]. Such is the rise of our post-fact reality. When some of our practitioners inevitably take the plunge and plug themselves into the coming virtual reality, why wouldn’t they brew themselves a nice pot of perfectly Hong Kong natural-stored 1955 Hong Yin Large Character edition in a Shi Dabin Ming Dynasty Yixing? If they have no references from base-reality to compare it to, then their hyperreality will surely fill the void with something palatable. This hyperreality is already available: practitioners can purchase “Hong Yin” from merchants with a range of reputations, from obviously fake to wishful thinking to verifiably real; and many reputable merchants make their own “replica Hong Yin”, supposedly matching the blend or regions or processing technique of the original. Imagining it’s a reference for the real thing is easy if you try.

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