Possible counterfeit white tea?


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby JonnyTwo » Aug 19th, '11, 15:24

Hi guys, I've been drinking white tea for about 2 years now, ordering from different sources almost every time.

So far it seems that 99% of the silver needle white tea I have ordered, was grown in the Fujian Province, once I ordered some tea that was supposedly grown in the Yunnan province, and it was HORRIBLE, it tasted like bacon and/or those little bits of pork that's put in some soups. Anyway, without paying much attention I purchased this yunnan stuff again, from a different seller, uggghhh... 1lb of it even.

Supposedly 2011 harvest, in addition to that, it tastes just as bad as the other yunnan grown stuff I've had.

Now does anyone know how to identify counterfeit white tea??

Below is an image of, on the left, the bacon tasting (and smelling), horrible tea, which I hate with a passion, and on the right is some delicious 2011 harvest silver needle

On the left is this Yunnan province tea (tastes like bacon bits), on the right is the Fujian Province tea (tastes like delicious tea),

Here is an image of the different tea leaves together. I also noticed that when I brew the tea on the right, the fujian province stuff, i see little silver needles floating at the surface of the liquid, but not with the Yunnan stuff.

How can I know this is really camellia sinensis?

Image

Please contribute your knowledge and opinions.



http://i.imgur.com/xWPJP.jpg
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby JonnyTwo » Aug 19th, '11, 16:09

and heres an additional image http://i.imgur.com/OJTfo.jpg
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby debunix » Aug 19th, '11, 20:57

I think "counterfeit" is a poor word choice here. White tea simply refers to how the tea was processed--wikipedia has an excellent chart showing the various steps for different classes of tea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teaprocessing.svg. White tea is tea leaf that has undergone minimal processing, mostly just being dried. Silver needle describes a tea that is plucked when the leaves are tiny, young and thin.

So a lot of tea can be described as a type of silver needle white tea, but it could be made from C. sinensis or C. sinensis v. assamica, made well or made badly from well-tended or abused or feral plants, and the flavor can very dramatically--but none of those would be something I would consider 'counterfeit'. I've had some teas made in the style of one famous location made with tea from a very different or distant area, some fantastic and some not so nice, but again, as long as I was informed clearly that this was not the famous version from place x, I have no problem with the practice.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby AdamMY » Aug 19th, '11, 21:10

debunix wrote:I think "counterfeit" is a poor word choice here. White tea simply refers to how the tea was processed--wikipedia has an excellent chart showing the various steps for different classes of tea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teaprocessing.svg. White tea is tea leaf that has undergone minimal processing, mostly just being dried. Silver needle describes a tea that is plucked when the leaves are tiny, young and thin.

So a lot of tea can be described as a type of silver needle white tea, but it could be made from C. sinensis or C. sinensis v. assamica, made well or made badly from well-tended or abused or feral plants, and the flavor can very dramatically--but none of those would be something I would consider 'counterfeit'. I've had some teas made in the style of one famous location made with tea from a very different or distant area, some fantastic and some not so nice, but again, as long as I was informed clearly that this was not the famous version from place x, I have no problem with the practice.



+1, I was trying to figure out how to respond to this topic, as it is not counterfeit, or even fake, but rather an imitation with its own qualities. In short, it sounds as though you are not fond of the ones coming from Yunnan, so you should stick to the versions from Fujian.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby JonnyTwo » Aug 20th, '11, 04:57

You claim it's the process that defines what white tea is, and you list an image that doesn't support your claim. Because it is in fact the Process AND the specific plant, camellia sinensis, that defines what White Tea is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_tea
"Like black and green tea, white tea is also derived from Camellia sinensis"
"Because white tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, it contains polyphenols"

I've consumed literally pounds of Silver Needle White Tea before - So my suspicion is legitimate, and conterfeit is in fact an appropriate word because I suspect it is counterfeit, as in, does not possess both traits of being derived from camellia sinensis and undergoing the limited processing, which is what defines white tea

The only evidence that I have towards it being real camellia sinensis is based on what the seller claims. What I purchased said Bai Hao Yinzhen - Silver Needle White Tea, if you're telling me there's other teas that are not from camellina sinensis, yet they are also called that, link me please, I must see this for myself.

I purchased this on ebay from a seller in China, the packagaing is also quite unprofessional, in ziplock bags that are stuffed into little cardboard cylinders, which are also placed in cheap ziplock bags.

Though the possibility remains that it really could be camellia sinensis, yet tastes nothing like it simply because it was grown elsewhere, the possibility of counterfeit seems equally likely.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby Chip » Aug 20th, '11, 08:12

I had a white tea similar to silver needle that reminded me of hotdogs once. One of few teas I could not drink. It was from Yunnan.

It should be noted, it could be the varietal grown in Yunnan.

Yunnan silver needle does definitely taste different than Fujian.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby JonnyTwo » Aug 20th, '11, 08:14

Chip wrote:I had a white tea similar to silver needle that reminded me of hotdogs once. One of few teas I could not drink. It was from Yunnan.

It should be noted, it could be the varietal grown in Yunnan.

Yunnan silver needle does definitely taste different than Fujian.


Thank you for that input, and now that I think of it, it smells sort of like cold hotdogs.

Though there still remains the possibility that we've both received counterfeit tea. Oh well, I just got my refund, the seller didn't want bad feedback, and I get to keep this horribad "tea" anyway.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby AdamMY » Aug 20th, '11, 10:29

JonnyTwo wrote:You claim it's the process that defines what white tea is, and you list an image that doesn't support your claim. Because it is in fact the Process AND the specific plant, camellia sinensis, that defines what White Tea is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_tea
"Like black and green tea, white tea is also derived from Camellia sinensis"
"Because white tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, it contains polyphenols"

I've consumed literally pounds of Silver Needle White Tea before - So my suspicion is legitimate, and conterfeit is in fact an appropriate word because I suspect it is counterfeit, as in, does not possess both traits of being derived from camellia sinensis and undergoing the limited processing, which is what defines white tea

The only evidence that I have towards it being real camellia sinensis is based on what the seller claims. What I purchased said Bai Hao Yinzhen - Silver Needle White Tea, if you're telling me there's other teas that are not from camellina sinensis, yet they are also called that, link me please, I must see this for myself.

I purchased this on ebay from a seller in China, the packagaing is also quite unprofessional, in ziplock bags that are stuffed into little cardboard cylinders, which are also placed in cheap ziplock bags.

Though the possibility remains that it really could be camellia sinensis, yet tastes nothing like it simply because it was grown elsewhere, the possibility of counterfeit seems equally likely.



There are many different Varieties of the Camellia Sinensis plant. My Botany is a bit rusty, but I believe most of the plants in Fujian are Camellia Sinensis v. Sinensis, which tend to have smaller more refined leaves even when young. But Yunnan is known for possessing large amounts of Camellia Sinensis v. Assamica which is a larger and more broad leaf tea (hence the larger buds).
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby gingkoseto » Aug 23rd, '11, 00:02

I think most Yunnan white teas are from small leaf cultivars of Yunnan (not all Yunnan teas are of the large leaf cultivars). Of course they are different from those small leaf cultivars of Fujian. But how different they are, it's all relative. And counterfeit or not, depends on one's definition of authenticity. But if the definition of authenticity is made very strict and narrow, then most teas can be called counterfeit :P
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby Tao » Aug 23rd, '11, 19:01

Both the white tea from Yunnan or Fujian province is form the Camellia Sinensis v. Sinensis, also most of the tea from this two area are from the type of plant called "Da Bai", in Fujian, they have two type of process for white tea, one is called "Liang Qing(晾青)" which color looks more white and lighter and another one is called "Chao Qing(炒青)" which can make the tea looks much darker.

The white tea from Yunnan is not a fake tea, probably it is not a good tea, and it is not a really tea from the original place, the tea form Yunnan taste different because it is different varieties and i believe they also base on slightly different process.

Your post let me remember last year i taste a spring silver needle from Assam, it taste like you talking about, so after one more year i still remember.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby debunix » Aug 23rd, '11, 20:32

JonnyTwo wrote:You claim it's the process that defines what white tea is


Yes, I do. And I have had a perfectly lovely silver needle white tea from Yunnan, don't know which varietal it was--C. sinensis or C. sinensis v. assamica--that did not taste like gym socks.
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby entropyembrace » Aug 24th, '11, 20:20

Both of the leaves you posted are camellia sinensis, just because the morphology is different doesn´t mean much. Camellia sinensis just like many other plants used in agriculture have many different cultivars.

for example...these are both Malus domestica

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Image
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Re: Possible counterfeit white tea?

Postby worldoftea » Sep 26th, '11, 22:45

If you are using the strictest definition of white tea which ties it to it's terroir and cultivar, then, yes a Yunnan white tea is counterfeit.

Of late, the definition of white tea has been loosened by the international tea industry wanting to get in on white tea production. Today, white tea is generally defined by process, however purists will claim that true white tea is from Fujian using the correct cultivars / process.
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