Firstly, Happy Lunar New Year!!
As with the example of Da Yu Ling oolong in Part 1, popular and famous teas often become a template for people wishing to sell their teas for a higher price. It then becomes very difficult to find the real thing.
I mentioned in a previous post that I had come across many imitations of a tea that I sell, called jin shuan (or xuan), otherwise known as milk oolong, or milky oolong. This is an oolong from Taiwan. It has this name because it naturally produces a milky flavour as well as the fresh, fragrant flavours that you find in Taiwanese oolong.
The real jin shuan will naturally produce this flavour, whereas the fakes have been scented. This will mean that the provenance of a fake jin shuan is not necessarily from Ali Shan mountain, or any of the other jin shuan producing regions, and not necessarily even from Taiwan.
To change the location the tea is grown means to change the terroir, and possibly also the quality of production.
You may wonder what the importance is as long as the tea is drinkable, does not cause any adverse effects to health, and tastes good. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The perfumed teas that I have come across do indeed have a different aroma and flavour howver; the milk fragrance is pungent even on smelling the dry leaves. As opposed to a subtle flavour that blends naturally into the rest of the tea, an artificial jin shuan will have a strikingly sweet milk smell and flavour that is often unmistakably added, even though there is no visual indication of any difference.
If you still like the tea, then by all means drink it, tea is after all first and foremost to be enjoyed. However, if you are looking for an authentic product, the “real jin xuan” then the location that a tea is grown remains important.
Let me know what you think 🙂