Look hard enough at any scene where experts and amateurs congregate around a subjective experience, and you’ll find a conflict simmering beneath the surface between new(bies) and old(-timers), articulable facts and the knowledge and awareness that comes only with extensive experience and exposure.
This is something that relatively-green community members like myself have to be wary of. In attempting to apply existing skills and philosophies (say, somewhat-quantitative approaches and evidence-based best-practices) to a subjective and often ineffable sphere, it’s easy to tread on toes. This isn’t just a matter of rocking the boat the boat and upsetting the established pecking-order; it can be easy for a rookie to shove the burden of treating their myopia inexpertum onto those who are vastly more-experienced but perhaps less-inclined to articulate a basis for the positions informed by that experience.
To be blunt, you can only apply your epistemological paradigm to the stuff you know about, and newbies don’t know shit. An argument that seems simple often seems so only because you are blind to half the issue and have distilled it into an oversimplification. It’s trivial to offer your argument and expect a response, but often exceedingly nontrivial for an expert to articulate an effective rebuttal, because you lack the fundamental framework necessary to be having the discussion in the first place. What’s more, yelling “show me your evidence” at someone does not inherently constitute “scientific discussion”.
Think of tea like music, or visual arts. Yes, there is a large degree of subjectivity to the experience and arguably a lot of bs involved in maintaining a pretense of connoisseurship, but there are also “real” metrics of worth that form present and past zeitgeists, and these are often inaccessible without a breadth of experience and some kind of (formal or folk) education. There is a limit to how fast this framework can be acquired, and there are reasons beyond base elitism that a 20-year veteran of fine arts might avoid a debate over why they think Jackson Pollock is good (ie not just a hack with an enema bulb farting paint at a canvas). Every newcomer is burdened with the twin responsibilities of developing his or her own knowledge, and coming to terms with the fact that it will take a while.
Notwithstanding all this, there is plenty of room for new perspectives and approaches, and development of the “common” knowledge-base. I strongly believe that there are unplumbed depths and unsolved puzzles to pu’er – at least in a Western context – and that can be attacked with systematic investigation and, yes, the application of an (ostensibly-)scientific approach.
Speaking of which, stay tuned for those pumidor controls articles I’ve been putting off all summer.