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the straight dope
tea party By jeffwith1f
Originally published on

the 2005 UM Satirical Cannabis Cup
For starters, I can’t believe that it worked as well as it did.

When I came up with rules, I knew they had to be simple, if they were to survive the party environment, and subsequent ensuing confusion. So when I wrote down what my plan was, it took 4 pages, including appendices and diagrams. This is not simple.

This is crazy, (I thought/my wife said), it won’t work, “4 pages, have you gone mad?”

But I realized that only one person needed to really know the “rules” per se. Beyond that you need:
-3 or 4 people you can trust, who can drink a lot of tea, and who are social,


-entrants, who are willing to submit a decent sized sample “into the machine” and possibly, no, probably, never see it again. They also need to do so at an appropriately early time to take part in the evening’s proceedings.

All anyone else had to know was, “Take what’s in this envelope, and write down what you think.” 1 – 10 (bad - best) on taste, 1 – 10 on potency.

Simple right?
Worse comes to worse, I figured, we’d find nothing out, but people will still
enjoy some varieties of tea, and everything will be good.

Well, enter problem # 1. Submission deadline time comes upon us, and nearly no one is around, we got just enough entrants to keep it interesting.
All told there were 8 samples of tea put forth by as many parties.

We could have accomidated nearly twice as many, and the competition would have been more interesting because of it. While I am still trying to work out the details, I am unaware of anyone approaching anyone involved with this party trying to put forth a late submission. We surely would have accepted them, as stated in the eMail, until about midnight, but instead, nothing. What gives folks?

At this point I believe it's time to give a big thanks to the good folks at Canadian Smoking Glass who were both generous with numerous quality samples and instrumental in our preparation. These are clearly people that care about Tea, and its preparation and enjoyment. Genuinely nice people and they were packing stunning wares as well.

They brought their magic bagging machine and busily got to work prepping the submissions with me into 3 separate samples for each and then providing them to be randomly assigned to coded envelopes, each containing a sample scorecard.

I kept track of what-was-where by writing it down on a “key” which I promptly folded up and put away for later.

I took the submissions into my bag and got ready to start getting them around the party, starting by giving about ¼ to the C.S.G. guys to enjoy with whom ever was around their booth.

It was at this point that I realized Problem # 2 with my plan. The 3 or 4
"trusted people" required to send samples around the event were not really lined up to start. Being new to the scene, all the people that I knew at this event were either busy as heck, dealing with the growing insanity that was starting to occur, or, not due to arrive for several hours.


Now I'm walking around a large, somewhat out of control party, full of people I don’t know (at all), with about 1 ½ oz. of (other people’s) tea, broken into individual samples and I need to distribute this around to all sorts of people AND get the cards back at the end of the night.

If this weren’t tea, and were, for example, an illicit substance, it could have
been bad news if I was busted as this, my friends, would be trafficing, or perhaps worse, jumped by people that wanted to jump-start a free stash, but fortunately for me it was tea, people were well behaved, and the less said the better.

With some help, and working with a couple of new-found friends, slowly over the night, I got the tea around to people, who in turn got the samples around the party. The envelopes were supposed to go out in distinct areas at set times, but at the end of the day, they simply got passed around randomly over the course of the evening. Randomness was the desired effect, and randomness was achieved, so I was happy.

A big thanks goes out to Bryan at this point for truly embracing the spirit of
the competition, and acting as a top envoy of delights. Your precision marking and sealed, returned feedback was a thing of great joy to me.

I managed to sample some stuff as it went around, authough (and by design) I had no idea what it was at the time, but I did, as did many others, ponder the subtleties of the submission and judged it accordingly.

It was around now that I realized what was Problem # 3. Ok…you send out an envelope and a card with a sample of tea, and you try to tell people, “Give me back the card when you’re done.”

You’d think that probably a lot of those cards would never find their way home, right?

Well, we prepped 24 separate samples, and somehow, at the end of the evening I managed to get 21 back. More than enough to get results.
Which I got right on.

Below are the standings as I tabulated them.
I have double checked them now, and also included the late submission from Deeko that came in after results were announced. (While for the winning submission, Burmese, It didn’t affect end results) and also adjusted my calculations for a 9 that I read as a 4, which totally affected the potency outcomes, but interestingly did not affect the Overall results at all, as while the R2 was super-sweet potent, it clearly tasted quite nasty.
All in all a close race.

Congrats to Burmese.
champion of the cup
I'd like to add at this point, that while it may smack of a rigged event (what with Sea winning), it totally wasn't, and as weird as it was, his submission was judged fairly by our peers to be the superior tea at this party.

Perhaps it was just statistical noise, but I think the numbers show that there were distinctly better strains of tea available, and that came through in the judging.

and so...the results

Overall Score
1. Burmese 14.75
2. Juicy Friut 14.6
3. 1F 14.3

1. 1F 7.3
2. Burmese 7.25
3. Fat Albert 7.2

1. R2 8.5
2. Burmese 7.5
3. 1F / Juicy Fruit (tie) 7.0

Individual Results
Fat Albert
Taste: 7.2
Potency: 6.6
Total: 13.8

Juicy Fruit
Taste: 7.3
Potency: 7.3
Total: 14.6

Taste: 7.25
Potency: 7.5
Total: 14.75

Purple Haze
Taste: 5.25
Potency: 5.75
Total: 11.0

Taste: 6.6
Potency: 6.3
Total: 13.0

Taste: 5
Potency: 8.5
Total: 13.5

Taste: 6
Potency: 6.3
Total: 12.3

Taste: 7.3
Potency: 7
Total: 14.3

what else?
to recap, a couple of problems with the system came up and were resolved, at least enough to continue the event as per the magic that was the evening. While not perfect, it ran better than I expected, as such I am happy, however, I look forward to hearing about suggestions and improvements from the community at large.

and, oh yeah..
Marc looks just like his icon.

thanks to everyone for thier help.

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