Many years ago, some reporters find that many cheap old teas went to small restaurants, and even tea house. The China Association for Quality Promotion has warned the consumers that old teas go to restaurant through the tea wholesales market. And the old tea will be used in the free tea offered before eating. Secondly, even the tea leaves don’t have tea stem, it will spray fragrance to increase the aroma. The third is that mixed the old tea with acacia leaves, poplar leaves, which makes the poor-quality tea looks like bright. No matter which way the sellers use, the added essence and pigments are inevitable. Then, how do we tell the difference?
Smell the dried tea leaves. The essence has strong aroma. If the aroma of the dried tea leaves is strong and persistent, then it is likely they have used essence. The normal tea aroma is natural.
Rubbing with you hand. Put the dried tea leaves on your hand and crush them. If there is color or powder left on your hand, then it is likely they have used additives with pigment.
Brewing. Using 80 degree water to brew, the tea is not clear, and the aroma is strong. Then, the essence and pigment are added. It is because essence is fat-soluble, which is not soluble in water. Therefore, there will be a layer of oil floating on the surface. Essence can spread aroma with 80 degree water, and for most of the teas, it has to use water over 95 degree to make the aroma out of the tea. If the additive is used, the tea will taste like something is inside the tea and doesn’t have the after taste as normal tea. Because the essence spread quickly, after brewing for 2 or 3 times, it will lose most of the aroma. If you brew the overnight tea that have already been brewed, the tea stains will be in light yellow, orange or dark orange. This is normal. If the tea stains show in light green, dark green, that means there is probably additives contained in the tea.
Using napkins. Prepare a flavorless napkin, wrap the tea with the napkin and seal them together for half hour to one hour. When you take out the napkin, if the aroma of the napkin exceeds the tea, that means the tea has essence. This is because paper absorb essence more. If you seal them longer, the aroma of the napkin will be stronger.
Additive and essence are targeting cheap old tea. Therefore, the way to get away from this type tea is purchasing the tea from official channel. When you dine outside, you can bring a bag of tea, saving money and safe.