How it works:
- With its mountains and misty, humid conditions, Taiwan is able to produce some top drawer tea leaves (e.g. oolong tea).
- However, due to demand being greater than supply, suppliers have outsourced some production to cheaper areas in neighbouring countries.
- Version 1: it is alleged that big names have mixed outsourced tea leaves with home-grown tea leaves and the industry is not transparent about this.
- Version 2: there are also rogue ones which mix or pass off cheap/imitation tea leaves as the real thing.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Differentiate real from fake:
- Leaf structure: balls made of 2-4 leaves on a single stem
- Aftertaste: linger for 15-30 minutes after drinking
- Color: deep color
- Short of being a tea expert, it’s almost impossible to tell. Thus, always taste the tea first and buy only if you are happy with it.
- Reputable retailers: Wang’s Tea, Lin Mao Sen, Lin Hua Tai Tea, Yingge, Taipei Expo Farmer’s Market.
- Tea houses: Wistaria Tea House, Stop by Tea House, Maokong area, Amei Teahouse, Skyline Teahouse in Jiufen.
- Tours: Thousand Island Lake and Pinglin Tea Plantation (a very popular tour on Klook, Asia’s best day tours platform), Taipei Tea House in Jiuzhuang.