bef said

Misty Peak Teas marketing practices

I lately thought about starting a thread about Misty Peaks marketing practices, but refrained myself from doing so.

Things have changed overnight though, as “Phil America”, (who is the Misty Peaks co-owner and marketing director, according to his LinkedIn profile) sent an unsolicited message on one of my old Instagram posts that was featuring a puerh ball from another vendor.

In that post, he said that it was “sad to see anyone still supports them” (“them”, being one of their competitors), as they had “stolen” the puerh-ball idea from Misty Peaks who “invented” it, which is “widely known within the tea world and even they are credited on Wiki”.

I though it was rude, but then I saw that the same guy basically spent his evening posting the same kind of messages on other people’s Instagram posts featuring puerh balls from other vendors.

On another Instagram thread, a brand new user (@devinlacoste) created just a few hours before came to the rescue of Phil America, and threatened me to have my account by having followers to send fake reports. This user was public and had zero followers. It’s now private, and it’s featuring exclusively pictures of half-naked women to attract followers (now counting 445), so I guess he (he being the new fake user account) will soon have my Instagram account suspended.

I think that vendors posting unsolicited messages on people’s Instagram feeds to criticize their choices as consumers is just so wrong.

Doing so with a personal account and trying to make it look like it came from someone that has no attachment to said vendor is even more worse.

Modifying Wikipedia to credit themselves for something they didn’t invent is pretty wrong too.

But then, creating a fake account to literally threaten and attack other Instagram users that don’t agree with them is just… unimaginable. Although I can’t prove that this fake user account is owned by a Misty Peaks, it’s a weird coincidence that the first post of that user was to threaten me to suspend my account using Instagram followers, and right after he started to post only sexy women pictures to get tons of followers. Also a great coincidence that not long after, Phil did the same threat of having my account and the accounts of other people responding to him suspended by asking his followers.

Another past event of course was them selling spring tea during winter – about this one, Misty Peaks marketing director also told me: “You realize it was a preorder for the next season, right?” Yeah, right…

Anyway, this whole Instagram thing coming from Misty Peak’s co-owner and Marketing Director was so shocking that I couldn’t help but to share it here. I won’t remain quiet just because their Marketing Director is now using fake Instagram account to have my account suspended. If that’s how they want to do business, so be it.

I thought that we could also use this thread to consolidate here other experiences with their marketing practices.

156 Replies
Brian said

yep. i can back up these claims. pitiful really.

Login or sign up to post a message.

I was one of the Instagram accounts that got targeted last night and simply deleted that marketing/spam/troll guy and ignored his account. Also reported the guy too. I suggest everyone do the same and block/report the accounts.

I’ve been watching the exchanges since last night and this whole thing is just hella ugly. We don’t know the story of this whole thing, but it looks bad on the company regardless.

It is truly stupid how a marketing guy thought it was smart to go troll and threaten everyone on public social media.

I cannot believe there is this much drama and ego in online tea. Good grief.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Brian said

“phil” also blocked all the people he spammed from posting on his acct.

Login or sign up to post a message.

AJ said

I thought the wikipedia reference a bit odd, so I went to look for myself.
It’s there as claimed, although I’m disappointed nobody yet’s edited it for poor wording/the partial ellipse, as well as the lack of a citation. I tagged it for citation myself, but didn’t want to interrupt this thread by editing the wording.

I also spent some time combing the change-log:
06:39, 1 July 2015‎ Daveofart (talk | contribs)‎ . . (66,514 bytes) (-17)‎ . . (→‎Shape)
06:37, 1 July 2015‎ (talk)‎ . . (66,531 bytes) (+482)‎ . . (→‎Shape)

6:39 was to remove a broken image tag that WAS posted where the blank rolled pu’er space was. 6:37 was to add Rolled Pu’er to the wikipedia in the first place. Both in July, 2015.

bef said

AJ: Also the Wikipedia post that added the puerh ball thing came from an IP located in Los Angeles. Guess what – Misty Peaks Marketing Director lives there, according to his Linkedin profile: What a coincidence…

Also, have a look at this user’s history on Wikipedia:

One of them being creating a page about Phil America that was removed because of conflicts of interest. The other being a page about Dear Burma, which is one of the companies that he’s running.

Maybe I’m shallow, but I loathed him as soon as I saw the sculpted hipster hair in the Linkedin profile.

Kuroneko said

I also think it’s misleading language to boast that you “made public in the West” the ball shaped puer. They’re not outright saying they invented it (that’s easy to dispute), but rather they’re claiming to be the first to market it here. It’s a bit like Christopher Columbus discovering America…

*edited to remove snark :)

It appears philamerica removed Misty Peaks from his Linkedin profile.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Rasseru said

I hope we dont have to deal with another monkey king

bef said

Who are you referring to? Misty Peaks’s Marketing Director or me?

Uniquity said

I suspect that Monkey King and Phil America may be the same, but who knows.

bef said

Uniquity: Hum, that’s interesting. I didn’t think about it, but honestly, it might make sense.

Rasseru said

@bef – no, not you – I’m referring to the troll that appeared here during the last tea drama.

Uniquity said

Well, I am pretty certain Monkey King is deleted now but I remember that s/he only had two tasting notes. One giving a Misty Peaks tea 100% and lots of praise, and one saying that EDIT: Whispering Pines (sorry, bad memory) stole a tea from Yunnan Sourcing. That said, the language was more crude, so I could just be making links that aren’t there. If Phil America busts out a “sissy” we’ll know though, hah.

@Uniquity: I started wondering if Monkey King was a Misty Peaks-related sockpuppet after I saw their tasting notes as well. But I assumed at the time that the account was made by some unhinged fan/stalker because I couldn’t imagine a business owner stooping to this level of juvenile behavior. Now it looks like Phil and MK may be the same person.

Rasseru said

haha yeah I saw that 100% MP review as well, I try to be fair and play devils advocate but that seriously rang alarm bells.

Its such a shame when you see people really trying to be ‘the best’, especially in a nice community like this were others ive met on here really advocate sharing and a fun experience

Also, Monkey King attacked me when I dared to criticize MP’s marketing practices — and didn’t stick to their obsession with Verdant.

bef said

Well, seeing that they (or someone that’s supporting them) are now using fake accounts to build false reports about me and have my Instagram user revoked…

Do you think that’s going to work? Someone tried this with me on twitter once. I was the one who broke the story about a has-been folk singer’s homophobia a year before her public meltdown, and then my story got picked up by international outlets and she blamed/still blames me for destroying her career. She and one of her fanboy/stalkers filed all these false reports against me, but their efforts were not successful since twitter had gotten wise to her tactics. Every now and then, when she gets bored, she still tries to bait me on twitter.

Addendum: If you recognize the person I am describing above, please don’t put it here. She googles her name obsessively and has google alerts — and would show up here to bully people.

bef said

@kristinalee well the fake Instagram account now has over a hundred more followers. The fake user told me he could go up to 200K and then file fake reports. We’ll see…

I’m sure people here would vouch for you. That’s kind of what I did… I got a handful of friends on twitter to agree to write to twitter on my behalf if she succeeded.

mrmopar said

I think if I found out they were behind it they would lose any hints of support I have for them. I really try to be objective but that guy caused us a lot of division I never thought existed on this site.

@kristinalee I think I remember that twitter war/folk singer thing. Wasn’t someone suspended from their job over it as well?
Can you follow me? I need to email you. Thx! :)

Haha, a lot of things happened from that. I followed you.

awesome! pm’d you

Lynxiebrat said

I just googled it…I vaguely remember that mess…I am curious to find out if that guess was right.

Dustin said

Monkey King was the worst. Shockingly antagonistic with every single post.

Login or sign up to post a message.

As for wikipedia, there is some precedent for blocking members or representatives of a group from editing their own wikipedia page. For example, members of the Church of Scientology are not allowed to edit their page because they are…um…exceptionally careless with actual facts. That’s just the group I happen to be aware of — it’s probably not uncommon since people are hardly objective representatives of their own groups.

And they’re easy to spot because they’ve got that triumphalism and confidence.

Brian said

the problem is…..they changed the wiki entry to “Puerh”, not a Misty Peaks Tea wiki.

It could be changed if someone clued in wikipedia, I think.

Brian said

i dont know how wiki works but it should be changed. it’s blatant advertising and its garbage

AJ said

I can delete it (Wikipedia can be edited by anyone; I just forgot to log in first), however deleting without provocation tends to gain more attention than adding without provocation, and I didn’t want to remove it in the middle of a discussion. But I did add a call for citation.

I was going to ask if anyone with a proper grasp of mandarin would check the traditional/simplified characters, since they’re so much longer than the other teas (and google translate gave me “ball-er tea” repeated; unintentional, or trollish joke?).

Also, it appears it was deliberately added before Melon Tea (Revision: ), resulting in it appearing like an older addition. The different shapes are not listed alphabetically (at least by pinyin).

@AJ Check which characters?

This article talks about the Pu Er Jin Gua Gong Cha (lit. Pu-erh Golden Melong Tribute Tea) and shows a lovely example from the Qing Dynasty. It’s probably bigger than these popular 7 to 10 grams Dragon Balls. I used to sell a Black Tea ball made in the same manner back in 2007-2010/1? I also saw these small pu-erh balls becoming more popular in 2009. I ignored them at the time because the predominant way of making them was using saran wrap. The hot steaming tea is put into saran wrap squares and then tightened. The extreme heat from the steamed soft leaves commingles with the off gassing saran wrap contaminating the tea. Even before witnessing this deeply flawed process I had guess something was wrong when I tasted various “balls” from other sources and several had an off chemical taste which I attributed to the tea being cheap quality. Later when I witnessed the process at a small tea factory in Xishuangbanna did I realize why.

Finally this year my mother-in-law started making some in her spare time from our stash of mixed leftover mao cha samples. She is using cheesecloth (or rather rice cloth) which is a cotton cloth. She weighs the mao cha, puts it into the small pieces of cloth, loosely ties it shut and then puts it into the steamer. She uses spring water to do this!! Once the tea is steamed soft she takes it out of the steamer and lets it cool briefly and then slowly twists and tightens the cloth and then rolls in the palm of her hand to give it a round shape. After thats done, they are allowed to dry in the cloth for a few hours and then removed and allowed to cure further until dry.

Anyways… I know we didn’t invent it, but we might be credited with improving on it just a bit. ;-)

AJ said

@YS What I mean is, they have 洱|茶|球 洱|茶|球 (sic) under both Traditional and Standard, with Qiùchá as the pinyin.

Also noticed they made a mistake with their linking etiquette. At least these are things I can tidy up.

@AJ 球茶 is not the right term. It’s pretty much universally called 龙珠 Lóngzhū (trad. 龍珠) Dragon Pearl aka Dragon Ball.

If you search 龙珠普洱 (Dragon Pearl Pu Er) on taobao you get 3541 results. Most of which all appear relevant.

If you search 球普洱 (Ball Pu Er) you will get 362 results… many of which are not relevant, not unless you want a 6.6 kilogram 2008 World Cup Commemorative Pu-erh Soccer Ball!

AJ said

When I searched the pinyin (Qiùchá), I got no relevant results at all.

I can’t believe Dragon Pearl Puer didn’t occur to me, especially since this thread keeps reminding me of Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Yunnan Blacks…

If nobody else beats me to it, I’ll update/completely restructure the Shapes table with this info in the morning. And hopefully find the time to find a public domain photo to use. The glaring white spot of a missing photo bothers me.

@AJ no problem… are you going to add the Soccer Ball Pu-erh shape too.. ;-)

But seriously you are a saint for adding this information to wikipedia. Email me at scott at yunnansourcing dot com and I’ll send you some photos you can use.

AJ said

Updated everything but the image (someone, I think from Steepster, removed the reference to Misty Peaks about half an hour before I edited everything), as well as fixed the wiktionary links.

@AJ I appreciate you spearheading the effort to get the wiki cleaned up. That entry has been bothering me for a while but I didn’t feel it was prudent for me to edit it myself. Many thanks!

Brian said

that soccer ball is hilarious and looks impossible to break up

AJ said

You’re welcome. A few people were asking for it in different sub-replies. If anyone has any thoughts, or references I could cite, that would be appreciated. I emailed Scott about a photo, thought he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

Also those soccerballs are terrifying. They’re so shiny it looks like they were cemented together. Besides the fact, they are /obvious/ forgeries. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Adidas Teamgeist 2 Magnus Moenia 14-panel variant footballs were used:

2008 Olympic Ball:$59.JPG?setid=880000500F


NOT the classic 32-panel pentagon/hexagon Adidas Telstar pictured.

It seems like a rookie mistake in puer-soccer-ball-forgery.

@AJ I can easily take a photo of a tea ball if that is all that you need.

@AJ – I didn’t get your email…. so I’ve just put the photos here. You can use them as you need to. I don’t have any designs on owning them, though I will use them for an upcoming product we’ll offer.

The 3rd photo is probably the best choice. I can take another photo of just a single one on a white background if you think that would look better.

AJ said

Sorry about that, I should have guessed. I didn’t get a ping back for ‘lost mail’, so I just assumed it went through.

Thank you for the offer, CLT.

@AJ np… not sure what happened, but you’ve got the photos now. Thanks for being an unbiased content provider.

AJ said

Hm… Logged in to wikipedia to find I got a message from another user I noticed editing the puer page earlier this week:

“I think you’ve misunderstood the shape of puerh what was meant here… it’s a pressed ball of puerh, which is quite unlike the rolled dragon pearls common in green & black tea.
Here’s an example "

Thoughts? My geology-oriented mind wants to make a counter-argument of his definition of ‘compressed’, but.

@AJ The Crimson Lotus rolled Dragon Ball looks the same as the picture which I sent you. The balls in the picture I sent you are also roughly 8 grams. The are basically made by a combination of rolling in the hand and tightening them in fabric. Rest assured both the balls in the imgur link I sent and the ones referenced in the Crimson Lotus listing are most commonly referred to as 龙珠普洱 Lóngzhū pǔ’ěr (Dragon Pearl Pu Er).

AJ said

That took longer than it should have. Wikipedia has a LENGTHY copyrights ordeal for image uploading. I went with the last image:

@AJ Awesome! Should we add the soccer ball shape and calabash shape too? LOL!

AJ said

Good gosh, it looks like a dairyqueen icecream.

Rasseru said

You’ve just revealed the next group buy o.o

@Aj @Rasseru @Yunnan Sourcing … on April 1st I’ll announce the “Shitty Tea Group Buy”.

@Everyone , this is going to be quite rude… but let’s just say that it will include toilet paper that I have to clearly understand the trademarks on ‘crinkled’ versus ‘folded’ because I don’t want to be contacted by a company telling me that their toilet paper is ‘crinkled’ which is much different than ‘folded’ so all the other companies using something that looks and uses the same is actually quite different.

AJ said

Damnit, I just got pinged from wikimedia for not providing enough copyright information for the image. Images are a pain.

Login or sign up to post a message.

bw85 said

Haha… I’m pretty sure misty peaks didn’t actually invent the puerh ball…

Login or sign up to post a message.

Brian said

i am so completely done with Misty Peaks Tea. They are a joke and a sham. Nicholas and his brother both. steer clear. you have been warned.

Is Nicholas Phil’s brother? I don’t even really know who runs this company…

bef said

Nicholas and Phil are co owner from what I understand.

Brian said

they are brothers and co-owners

Login or sign up to post a message.

@bef Were they able to get your account suspended? Surely instagram has some protections against this kind of thing? That’s just awful!

Unbelievable… guess what… some guy from Portland didn’t invent the pu-erh ball. They have been making pu-erh balls and black tea balls for more than a decade. Really incredible.

bef said

Actually it’s not Misty Peaks who threatened me publicly, but some fake user account that was created (I guess) just for that. So I can’t prove any connection, though I personally suspect there is one.

Well, it depends how many unhinged “fans” the company has, and how many fans the fans have. If a company can get a bunch of its fans and their fans to write false reports against you, it’s actually pretty easy to get someone suspended from social media. It’s just as easy to start a new account, though.

Ughhh… I guess that’s a real weakness in instagram.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Ubacat said

Login or sign up to post a message.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.