Longjing Tea, a famous kind of green tea in China, grows in the West Lake scenery mountain areas covered with abundant trees. Longjing Tea is amongst the finest and most representative of green teas. It has been described as the “ideal” beverage for “quiet, contemplative times”.
The name Longjing (literally means Dragon Well) comes from a small village on the Fenghuang Hill in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province. It is said that residents in ancient times believed that a dragon dwelled there and controlled the rainfall. As a result, people went there from all the surrounding areas whenever there was a drought to pray for rainfalls.
The tea has a long history spanning more than 1000 years. The earliest record of its existence can be found in the book named “Chajing” (Classics of Tea), the first book on tea in the world, written by the tea-expert Lu Yu in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Knowledge of the tea began to spread all over the country in the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties. Longjing Tea was granted the status of Gong Cha, or Imperial Tea, in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Chinese Emperor Kangxi, thus the fame of Longjing Tea became widespread throughout the country.
Being famous for its unique fragrance and flavor, slender strips of tea leaves in bright green liquid, Longjing Tea is flat and smooth in shape with luster. The taste of authentic Longjing Tea is brisk, refreshing, smooth, and mellow and has a sweet aftertaste. However if the tea is of poor quality, it will taste astringent and bitter.
Longjing Tea contains Vitamin C, amino acids, so it aids one’s health in many ways regardless of your age. It is used to deter food poisoning, refresh the body, prevent cavities, fight against viruses, control high blood pressure, lower the blood sugar level, and to prevent cancer.
Types of Longjing Tea
Xi Hu Longjing Tea
It is grown in a designated area of 168 square kilometers. Depending on the differences of producing areas’ partial ecological environments and producing technologies, Xi Hu Longjing Tea is divided into four sub-regions: Lion (Shi), Dragon (Long), Cloud (Yun) and Tiger (Hu).
Pre-Qingming Longjing Tea
The premium early season first-picking of Longjing Tea is known as Ming Qian or Pre-Qingming. Longjing tea requires it to be produced from the very tender first spring shoots prior to the Qingming Festival (also known as the Tomb-Sweeping Day) on the 5th of April each year (approximately). The production cycle is very short, only ten days before the festival every year. As a result, Pre-Qingming Longjing is more expensive than ordinary Longjing tea.
Qian Tang Longjing Tea
This tea comes from just outside the Xi Hu Longjing designated area in Qian Tang. Not as expensive as Xi Hu Longjing, Qian Tang harvest of Longjing Tea offers great quality-to-price ratio. The aftertaste of Qian Tang Longjing is remarkably lasting and of grape-like sweetness.