FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING ON ORDERS $35 OR MORE.

Geographical Indicators For Taiwanese Tea

August 09, 2016

A meaningful article was recently published on the World of Tea site about the challenges of verifying the authenticity of tea via the use of geographical indicators. The author made a valid point about how the methods of employing geographical indicators are not foolproof, particularly when tea is exported outside of its local industry and market. His article prompted us to research geographical indicators here in Taiwan, which we have observed the development of over the last decade or so, but have not been directly involved in the use of them. Here's what the indicators look like on packaged tea:

Eco-Cha believes that our commitment to transparently representing the local industry here in Taiwan is actually more effective and trustworthy than this standardized method of verification. However, we were impressed by the standard methods of verification that are employed here in Taiwan, which we will briefly explain here.

Geographic indicators are managed by local governments who register a product and place name with the national Intellectual Property Office and cooperate with the Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES), a subsidiary of the Dept. of Agriculture. When tea producers register their farm and produce for the use of geographic indicators, the local government inspects the farm to verify the quantity of tea that can be produced from a given farm, primarily determined by the size of the farm. This step alone is perhaps the most effective in the overall process, as it regulates the authenticity of a regional product by knowing how much tea a registered farm can produce seasonally.

A sample of tea from each seasonal harvest is tested for chemical trace residue of pesticides to ensure that it is responsibly produced and passes European/North American export standards. This also helps to prevent the use of imported tea from less regulated origin. A separate sample of each harvest is sent to the TRES to be inspected for quality and processing methods to ensure that it meets the standard for a given tea type. For example, a batch of tea receiving authorized geographic indication for Dong Ding Oolong must be Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves that are sufficiently oxidized and roasted, and of a quality and character that represents this regional product. If the samples of tea are approved, the government will apply stickers to the approved batch of tea after it has been packaged for sale.

Primarily these geographic indicators are used by farmers' associations in tea producing regions to market their local specialty tea. The farmers' association is a trusted source that the tea represents the local produce. Beyond this, many tea farmers who produce tea in large quantities and aspire to market their own brand have determined it worthwhile to invest in this government certification. In recent years, of the hundreds of vendors at the Nantou County Global Tea Expo, a significant percentage of the privately branded tea for sale had certified geographic indicators on their packaging.

In the final analysis, there is no way to prove that tea leaves packaged with certified geographic indicators are indeed from the farm that is registered. But it is highly unlikely that a private brand will take the risk and the trouble to use tea from another source. There simply is no good reason to do so. Having said that, as the article on the World of Tea site stated, Taiwan has not yet made use of the geographic indicators on the international market. It appears to be for domestic use, or at least for the Chinese literate population, which includes China and Japan — a considerable portion of the consumer demand for Taiwanese tea. Below are all of the geographic indicators currently in use in Taiwan, starting in the north and going south.

 

文山包種茶及圖 WENSHAN BAO-CHUNG TEA

北埔鄉公所膨風茶產地證明標章 

台灣.新竹.峨眉鄉公所產地證明標章 Taiwan.HsinChu.Emei Township Office

苗栗縣東方美人茶產地證明標章 Miaoli Country 及圖

產地證明標章-合歡山高冷茶 Mt. HeHuan High Mountain tea 及圖

日月潭紅茶 Sun Moon Lake Black Tea 及圖

南投縣鹿谷鄉公所凍頂烏龍茶認證標章

杉林溪茶產地證明標章

嘉義縣政府阿里山高山茶標章

台灣.台東.鹿野.紅烏龍 Red Oolong Tea 及圖

臺東紅烏龍茶TEA及圖





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Comparing Seasonal Batches Of Loose Leaf Oolong Tea
Comparing Seasonal Batches Of Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

July 11, 2018

The inspiration for this post began when we first tasted our spring batches of tea this year. Especially for the three teas that we'll take a look at here, we immediately thought upon tasting each of them, they are noticeably different from last winter's batch. So first, let's list the main points to observe in comparing seasonal batches from the same source of tea.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Jin Xuan GABA Tea dried leaves
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea Tasting Notes

July 06, 2018

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club continues to intrigue us. It has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish. It's got that composition that keeps you refilling your cup to get more!

View full article →

Eco-Farm tea farm in Taiwan
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea

July 02, 2018

While GABA tea was invented in Japan, it wasn't until Taiwanese tea makers applied their expertise in Oolong Tea processing methods that it became known for its unique qualities of flavor along with its heath benefits. Japanese production of GABA tea is focused on its value as a health food supplement, similar to green tea powder. The tea industry in Taiwan relies on its differentiating value of quality produce to compensate for its relatively low volume, compared to other tea producing countries.  So when the demand for GABA tea increased, Taiwanese tea makers used their skillful resources and developed a specialty tea with specific healthy attributes.

View full article →