Topic: guest "experts"
What do folks think about having occasional features where we invite an expert (maybe a moderator from one of the Chinese tea forums, or someone who writes or teaches about tea / teaware), or (better), a couple of experts, to answer questions? We could have people submit questions, and then either vote on them or have the moderators select some, then forward them to the expert(s). The questions, answers, and maybe even some of the comments could be translated back and forth if necessary (if the guests are online and interested in participating in discussions, we could let them read / post to the thread, providing translations if necessary; however, this might be labor intensive for our already overworked translators :>). We might even be able to get some questions to people who don't go online at all, by sending them questions in written form, then posting their responses.
In this way, we could get some good information from people who we might never hear from otherwise.
If people find this idea interesting, maybe Robert, Chrl42, and other Chinese-speaking folks could come up with a few people who really seem to know what they're talking about (either from other tea forums, or through other avenues), and approach them to see if they'd be interested. If anyone has a topic or an expert in mind, feel free to post below.
Of course, most "experts" in the tea field are those somehow involved in the industry (vendors, growers, etc.), who may be trying to advance a particular belief to help their own business interests. Not only that, but there are often a lot of "right" answers to any question about things related to tea. So ideally, a lot of these topics should be covered by a panel of at least 3-5 people.
Based on the discussions we've already had, I think the biggest topics that would be of interest to start with would be:
* Pu'er storage
* Yixing teapots
* Gong fu brewing techniques
But I'd also love to see some q&a about:
* Farming techniques
* Processing techniques
* Tea cultivars / varietals
* Specific varieties of tea (yan cha, dan cong, etc.)
(we could also see if Brian Kirbis could get some of the folks he's working with, both the farmers and academics, to answer a few questions, now that he's in Yunnan again)