Monday, September 08, 2014

++++ NEWS ALERT : Tea merchants mix Chinese Oolong with Taiwan Oolong ++++

I interrupt my normal blogging to give you the latest news. Here is one article in English about this matter.
Are you as shocked as I am?

This comes just days after another scandal involving 'gutter oil' here in Taiwan. What's really newsworthy this time in both cases is that these scandals don't just involve small companies selling in night markets where you expect low prices and low quality. Even big corporations and 100 years old tea shops are taking part in this kind of deception. And these are not isolated cases. It is taking huge proportions. For tea, the report mentions 1200 tons of illegally imported Chinese tea. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: how many more tons haven't been discovered?

The problem in both cases, in my opinion, is not that these products should be banned altogether, but that they are not labelled properly. Even recycled oil can still have good uses (for fuel, detergents...). It just shouldn't be used in the food industry anymore. As for Chinese Oolongs, the law in Taiwan restricts the importation of such tea to protect the local growers. But if these teas are safe for consumption and are labelled as coming from China, there is no reason (except politics) why consumers shouldn't be able to choose these teas.

The incentive for these scandals is lower costs. This translates into lower prices and more market share for these firms. How do competitors react? They have to find ways to stay competitive. If deception isn't punished by consumers, then most of the industry resorts to one type or another of deception. So, be demanding when it comes to quality and learn to taste the difference!


Unknown said...

ugh. this is to be expected, just like Thai and Vietnamese oolongs being passed off as being Taiwanese. sad to hear honestly.

TeaMasters said...

In this case, the Chinese Oolongs had first to be passed as Burmese Oolongs in order to be OK for importation to Taiwan! Double deception!

Unknown said...

That's strange... Aren't Burmese teas very cheap? Cheaper than Chinese teas?

I've heard rumors of Alishan farmers selling fake tea to tourists on their farms, as they sold of their real tea to wholesalers. However, I told this to my friend and he said that farmers from other regions make up rumors about Alishan farmers because they're jealous of how successful Alishan farmers are. Not sure which (if any) are true.

TeaMasters said...

This was mentioned in Chinese articles about this news. That's because they could get approval for importing teas from Burma.

As for Alishan, I think that selling cheap teas to tourists in hurry is a very common in all tea areas in China and Taiwan!

Emmett said...

I have even found supposed top dollar aged oolongs to be mixed with younger cheap oolong. You can first taste the difference and then the infused leaf will tell you the truth.

Unknown said...

Emmett: There are also aged oolongs that are a few years old at most, roasted to death, and marketed as being older than it actually is. Tea is full of scams, just like any industry that involves high-ticket items that are easy to counterfeit.

Unknown said...

This is sad to see. The market is really starting to grow in all parts of the world and they had the choice to be truthful or deceptive... I see evil won again.

Luckily we have some wonderful vendors who take care of the people they serve in this community. Thanks for having our backs Stephane.