Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A so-called Dongting Biluochun, Genuine or Fake?

About one month ago, a tea company in Dongshan,Suzhou approached us for cooperation. They sent to us several samples which are at very tempting prices (much lower than the prices at which we currently sourced Dongting Biluochun). We at first don't have a high expectation of such Biluochun. Having in tea business for years, we know quite well about the market. We knew it was impossible to get authentic Dongting Biluochun at such good prices.

While when we received and opened the bag of the sample, it still amazed us. The appearance of the dried tealeaves is very beautiful and the aroma is nice. One of us even doubted and asked:" Maybe they didn't cheat us and it was authentic Dongting Biluochun?" 

We brewed it and drank and then we took out our Dongting Biluochun and made a comparision again. Now, we are pretty sure it wasn't authentic but we admitted it was still a good tea. It is not easy to distinguish it from the authentic Dongting Biluochun. We are now even sure it isn't Jiangsu or Zhejiang Biluochun. Then where was it made from? We now have our own
conjecture but we are afraid that it is inappropriate to say it here. Now here pls let us tell you how to tell it apart and help you refrain from being cheated by some dishonest vendors.

We can distinguish it from authentic ones from two aspects: appearance and taste/flavor.

We used the sample 1 of the so-called Dongting Biluochun (the best one) and our Special 1 Grade Dongting Biluochun. Both are harvested before QingMing (5th April).

The following are the dried tealeaves photos of the two ( the first is of the so-called Dongting Biluochun):

You can find the difference is very small but they are still distinguishable. At first, the dried tealeaves of the authentic Biluochun is thinner and slimmer and tighter than the so-called one. It is the main and the most obvious difference that can help us tell them apart. Secondly, the authentic Dongting Biluochun doesn't has so much white hairs covered as the so-called one.

The following are the tea brewed photos of the two ( the first is of the so-called Dongting Biluochun):

The difference existing in taste and aroma between the two is much bigger than that in appearance. The authentic Dongting Biluochun is flowery, floral and fruity while such notes in the aroma of the so-called one aren't differentiable. The so-called Dongting Biluochun is much grassy. If brewed heavily, there is bitterness existing in both of the two kinds of Biluochun while the feeling of the bitterness is quite different. You can feel the bitterness of the authentic Dongting Biluochun but it would soon disappear and then you would feel persistent sweet taste lingering in your mouth and throat while the unpleasant bitterness of the so-called Dongting Biluochun would stay in your mounth for quite a long time and can't soon convert to the sweet aftertaste. In addition, you can find the infusion of the authentic Dongting Biluochun is much clearer than that of the so-called one.

By the way, according to what we know, such so-called Dongting Biluochun is now quite common in the market even in some of the biggest and the most famous tea stores in China. It is a good tea and we think it is ok to be sold as Biluochun at the reasonable prices but if it was sold to you in the name of Dongting Biluochun and at high prices, then you would be screwed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Birthplace of Camellia Plants

In 1824, British explorer Major Robert Bruce discovered a wild tea tree some 43 feet (about 13.1 meters tall and three feet (about 0.9 meters) in diameter in Sadiya of the Assam region in India. Therefore, western scholars deduced that India was the hometown of tea.

In fact, The Classic of Tea recorded a tea tree about one meter in diameter in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). About the same size as the one found by Robert Bruce, but some 1100 years earlier.

In 1961, Chinese archeologists discovered in Yunnan Province a wild large tea tree which was 32.12 meters tall and about 1,700 years old. Its height and age both were world No.1 among camellia plants. It still remains the largest and oldest wild tea tree that has been found in the world.

The tea tree is of the species Camellia Sinensis. Camellia is a rather primitive plant species and the tea tree is a relatively primitive member of the genus Camellia. According to research, the tea plant evolved at least 60-70 million years ago. There are 23 genera and over 380 varieties of camellia plants in the world, of which, 15 genera and over 260 varieties are found in China.

China is the country which first discovered wild big tea trees and has most numerous wild large tea trees. Tea trees in China are normally found in Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Sichuan Province. As large and high arbors in these areas, the tea trees show typical primitive features, indicating that the southwestern area of China is the birthplace of Camellia plants, including tea

Bada Wild Ancient Tea Tree
More than 2700 years old, found in 1961 in Bada Mountain, Menghai County, XichuanBanna. In addition, there are 80000 mu wild ancient tea trees scattered among the seven counties in Yunnan.

Banwai Transitional Ancient Tea Tree
More than 900 years old, found in 1991 in Banwai village, Lancang County. It was seen as the living fossil of the origin by the tea industry.

Nannuoshan Cultivated Ancient Tea Tree
More than 800 years old, found in 1953.