Updated: Mar 1, 2020
Longjing tea (simplified Chinese: 龙井茶; traditional Chinese: 龍井茶; pinyin: lóngjǐng chá) or Dragon Well is a famous variety of green tea from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China where it is produced mostly by hand and has been renowned for its high quality, earning the China Famous Tea title. Longjing is divided into seven grades: Superior, Special, and then 1 down to 5.
Long Jing is often called the national drink of China and is frequently given to visiting heads of state. It is also a favorite tea of today's top leaders, with a portion of production reserved for government customers.
Like most other Chinese green tea, Longjing tea leaves are heated early in processing (after picking) to stop the natural "fermentation" process, which is a part of creating black and oolong teas. In the world of tea, the term "fermentation" refers to the actions of natural enzymes, present in the leaves, on the juices and tissues of the leaf; this is not "fermentation" in the true sense of the term (as, for example, the action of yeast in producing beer). The actions of these enzymes is stopped by 'firing' (heating in pans) or by steaming the leaves before they completely dry out. As is the case with other green teas (and 'white teas'), Longjing tea leaves are therefore "unfermented." When steeped, the tea produces a yellow-green color, a gentle, pure aroma, and a rich flavor. The tea contains Vitamin C, amino acids, and has one of the highest concentration of catechins among teas, second only to white teas.
Longjing, which literally translates as "dragon well", is named after a well that contains relatively dense water, and after rain the lighter rainwater floating on its surface sometimes exhibits a sinuous and twisting boundary with the well water, which is supposed to resemble the movement of a traditional Chinese dragon.
Tradition has it that to achieve the best taste from Longjing, water from the Dreaming of the Tiger Spring, a famous spring in Hangzhou, is to be used. Water is boiled then cooled to about 80 degrees Celsius before being used to brew the tea leaves. It is usual to use ceramic or glass to brew Longjing tea (minerals in porous earthenware such as Zisha may disrupt the taste of the tea
Xihu Longjing Tea Plantation
locates in the west part of the mountains area of West Lake in Hangzhou and also names as Meijiawu Tea Cultural Village.
History and Legends
Longjing tea was granted the status of Gong Cha, or Imperial tea, in Qing Dynasty by Chinese emperor Kangxi. Kangxi's grandson Qianlong visited West Lake during one of his famous holidays.
He went to the Hu Gong Temple under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan) and was presented with a cup of Longjing tea. In front of the Hu Gong Temple were 18 tea bushes. Emperor Qianlong was so impressed by the Longjing tea produced here that he conferred these 18 tea bushes special imperial status. The trees are still living and the tea they produce is auctioned annually for more money per gram than gold.
Brief Guide to Dragon Well Tea
There is another legend connecting Emperor Qianlong to Longjing Tea. It is said that while visiting the temple he was watching the ladies picking the tea. He was so enamored with their movements that he decided to try it himself. While picking tea he received a message that his mother, the Empress Dowager was ill and wished his immediate return to Beijing. He shoved the leaves he had picked into his sleeve and immediately left for Beijing. Upon his return he immediately went to visit his mother. She noticed the smell of the leaves coming from his sleeves and he immediately had it brewed for her. It is said that the shape of Longjing Tea was designed to mimic the appearance of the flattened leaves that the emperor brewed for his his mother.
Long Jing Tea Farmer Family's Story.
Longjing is highly praised because of its absolute beauty in four aspects: greenish color, elegant fragrance, mellow taste and prettiness in appearance. The delicate fragrance is very long-lasting, and the bright liquor gives a refreshing, brisk, mellow, and sweet after taste. Mei Jia Wu Longjing tea has a light nutty aroma, smell of fresh leaves, very smooth taste and a pleasant flowery aftertaste. The tea leaves are green, flat and slender. Meijiawu has a reputation for producing some of the best Long Jing teas in the world.
There are many Longjing found in the market, nevertheless, the best Longjing comes from its original places, the Longjing Village which covers several historically renowned production areas. At this moment, there are many tea produced from other places in Zhejiang Province, which is known as Zhejiang Longjing . However, due to the localized climatic environment and different manufacturing expertise, the quality is different from its origin. Besides, the production areas at certain places of Zhejiang Province are located in the city area, which is exposed to the risk of heavy metal contamination from vehicles and industrial area.