It seems as though everyone wants their hand in the tea business since it is becoming increasingly more popular in the West. Not everyone, however, tends to the quality of their teas and this can be especially evident in the production of white teas. In this April edition of Tea Knowledge – White Tea, you will learn How To Spot Fraudulent White Tea.
White tea has many characteristics in regards to hue, scent and even taste depending on which type of white tea you are sipping. Yet, there is one main characteristic that will make it impossible to be duped by fraudulent white tea: Oxidation.
Being the least oxidized tea type, white tea leaves are greener in hue. Tea leaves that almost entirely are brown or black have been overly oxidized and therefore do not meet the one main requirement to create a white tea.
White Peony Tea for example is the darkest in hue but the leaves remain green. Silver Needle White Tea is green with white downy feathers and Imperial White Tea is also green with seemingly brown like veins running through the tea leaf. All teas are green due to having very low or no oxidation.
As aforementioned, white tea varies in taste depending on which white tea type you are sipping. There are still some tastes that you should never detect in your white tea:
Caramel Taste If your white tea tastes more like caramel and assam, then you’re not sipping a white tea. The tea you are sipping is a black tea masquerading as a white tea. White teas can be nutty, fruity and even have floral notes but they usually lack the astringent caramel notes due to not being oxidized.
Sour Taste White tea will be less astringent and should not contain musty or sour notes. Are you sipping a Puerh, perhaps yes…but it’s not a white tea.
Chemical Taste If your white tea tastes like the tea tin or perhaps other elements in its environment, there's a possibility that you are drinking white tea but just really old white tea.
Oxidation: a chemical process that occurs when liquids from tea leaf are released during bruising; a process avoided in white tea production.