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Xihu Longjing Tea

 joanna12 on Jun 29, 2011
Xihu Longjing Tea -----An Insider's Guide Xihu Longjing tea (West Lake Dragon Well tea) is often considered as the No 1 of 700 Famous Chinese Teas. Do you wonder why? The word Longjing means dragon well. This name can mean 3 things: a tea variety, a village and a well. In the West, the tea is also known as Dragon Well tea or Lung Ching tea. There are as many as 700 famous Chinese teas recorded in writings. Among them, Xihu Longjing tea is the most renown. It is often regarded as the Chinese National Tea. What is so special about it? Four things stand out:  Exceptional climate  Imperial history  Rigorous harvesting  Traditional handicraft To begin, let look’s at the place it was born - West Lake. Exceptional Climate Tea plants thrive in plentiful rainfall, humid air, moderate climate and high altitude. They have it all in West Lake. Climate is moderate and averages around 16 degree Celsius. Rainfall averages 1,500 millimeters a year. It is especially plentiful in spring. The misty plantations is constantly shrouded in fogs and nourished by flowing streams. The highest quality Xihu Longjing tea is found in the Lion Peak Mountain, which has an altitude of 1,000 feet above sea level. Imperial History Longjing tea has long fascinated Chinese rulers.The great Chinese Emperor Kangxi first makes it a tribute tea in the 17th century.Then it was his grandson Qianlong. He visited West Lake during one of his famous holidays to Southern China. When resting in the Hugong Temple under the Lion Peak Mountain, he was presented with a cup of Longjing tea. In front of the Temple were 18 tea bushes. He was so impressed that he conferred to them the special status of “Imperial Trees”. This was a rare event. There are very few imperial plants in China. These 18 bushes are now visited by thousands of tourists in West Lake each day. Now, there are hundreds of tribute teas. tie guan yin tea was not the only one. But while other teas perished and were forgotten, Longjing's charms persist to modern China with Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou.Both of them are very fond of it. They visited the West Lake tea gardens on numerous occasions. The tradition of tribute tea continues until today. As far as I am aware, it is the only Chinese tea where the Chinese White House (Zhongnanhai) systematically collects in large quantity for their own consumption.So now it is Mr. Hu Jintao and gang's turn.. And even former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher didn't miss out a chance to visit the tribute tea gardens, journeying all the way from Beijing to Hangzhou just so that she can see the tea! It is quite rightly the most regal tea. No wonder it is sometimes called the Queen of Chinese Tea. Rigorous Harvesting Xihu Longjing tea is only harvested once a year in spring. The farmers leave the crop to recover for the rest of the year. Traditionally, harvesting takes place from 20 March to 20 April. The earlier the harvest, the more tender the tea shoots, the higher the quality. These early crops, available only in small quantity, make the best Xihu Longjing tea. As the climate warms, leaves grow faster and are available in larger quantity, driving down the price. Harvesting is a tedious process. Pickers have to exercise meticulous care to pick only the terminal bud and the 1 or 2 adjacent leaves. Picking starts when the bud reaches 1 to 2 centimeter in length. The adjacent毗邻的 leaves should be no longer than the terminal bud. Consistency and "cleanliness" are important. Each pick should be unbroken. Old leaves, fragments, fruits and other unwanted bits are rejected. One kilogram of special grade Xihu Longjing tea can have 70,000 to 80,000 of Flags (Qiqiang) or one bud one leaf. A good tea picker may harvest only 2 kilograms of fresh leaves in 10 hours, which are then processed into 500 grams of dried tea. It is a truly labor intensive process. Traditional Handicraft After picking, Xihu Longjing tea is roasting in the same day. Pickers spread the tea leaves thinly to dry for 8 to 10 hours. It’s called withering. It removes 30% of the moisture, dissipates the grassy favor and reduces the bitter, astringent涩 taste. It also increases the level of the yummy 美味tasting theanine. Roasting is done by bare hands to allow the roaster to feel the wok temperature. A novice takes 3 years to master the 10 distinct hands movements of roasting Longjing tea. After that, they can fry only 1 kilogram of high grade Longjing tea a day. Roasting consists of two parts: Qingguo and Huiguo. Qingguo straightens, broadens and flattens the tea leaves into an attractive spear shape. The process lasts 12 to 15 minutes. The wok temperature ranges from 80 to 100 degree Celsius. About 100 grams are roasted until 25% of the moisture is left. The tea is left to cool for 40 to 60 minutes. Huiguo dries the leaves further to prevent the tea leaves from oxidizing. Young tea shoots are naturally covered by baby white hairs. The roaster smoothens the leaves by removing all fine hairs. The process lasts 20 to 25 minutes. The wok temperature ranges from 60 to 70 degree Celsius. About 250 grams are roasted until 5% of the moisture is left. A chest nutty fragrance emerges. Leaves are cooked until they are flat, broad, straight, smooth, glossy and crispy. Lower grade Xihu Longjing tea follows a similar process. But roasting takes longer, wok is hotter and hand pressure is heavier. Longjing tea village(dragon well tea village) longjing Village is the most real and original place where produces Dragon Well tea in Hangzhou! You can see the real tea field !It's free to taste tea in tea grower's house , and it was visited Queen Elisabeth and Bill Clinton and other famous Prime Minister and governors. Reasonable price with First-class quality! Longjing Village is located southwest of West Lake scenic area, surrounded by mountains, trending from north to south, and the village resident population of about 800 people. It has nearly 800 acres of high mountain tea garden. In the northwest of the village, there are Beigao Peak, Lion Peak, Tianzhu Peak. They become the natural barrier to resist breeze wind. In the south, there is a streamlet called Nanxi. This creek valley is vary wide, and it straight towards Qiantang River. Southeast wind blow into the valley in spring and summer. So ventilation makes the tea grow well and geography conditions provide a unique advantage. http://www.tie-guan-yin-tea.com/, http://www.dragon-well-tea-longjing.com/
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