Longjing Tea, also known as West Lake Longjing, is a China Famous Tea – in fact, unquestionably, the most famous one – grown originally in the Longjing mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of the West Lake. Longjing teas can be classified into West Lake Longjing Tea, Qiantang Longjing tea, Yuezhou Longjing tea, according to their producing areas. Among them, West Lake longing tea has attracted most attention of people worldwide, regarded as the Rolls Royce of the Long Jing varieties. Historically, Westlake Longjing producing area was divided into four sub-regions: 狮 (Lion Peak Mountain), 龙 (Longjing village), 云 (Yunqi), 虎 (Tiger Spring), 梅 (Meijiawu). However, the teas which are picked before the Qing Ming Festival, which called as Pre-ming Longjing, because of its limited output, it is the most precious kind among all.
Westlake Longjing has three species: Long Jing NO. 43, Long Jing Group species (known as Qun Ti Zhong), and Long Jing long leaf species.
Today we will focus on Long Jing NO. 43 and Long Jing Group species, and their difference.
Long Jing Group Species
Also called the old Longjing tea, is the earliest and most excellent longjing species, regarded as the “parents” of NO. 43. On the market, these Westlake Longjing teas from Shifeng Mountain belong to this species.
Generally speaking, the harvest time of this species is later than others, around Qing Ming Festival. The producing area is very limited to the area of West Lake. And it has quite a long history of more than 1,000 years. The earliest record can be found in the book named The Classic of Tea. The history of planting Long Jing Group species can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.).
Features of Long Jing Group Species
Teas made of this species have dull yellowish green color, uneven appearance. It seems less attractive at first sight compared to other Longjing species. But when talking about its taste, old tea lovers have a special preference for them. They think this species has a special kind of charm. In their mind, this unique charm is the soul of Long Jing Group species.
The Long Jing Group species refers to tea tress are propagated by seed, which is different from asexual reproduction by which the Long Jing NO. 43 was developed.
Long Jing NO. 43
In 1987, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has developed a new species of Long Jing tea tree, which is a derivate of the group species. Being named as Long Jing NO. 43, this newborn species has got a roaring reputation.
Tea buds of this species sprout early, and the tree has strong power in yielding new buds. Fresh tea leaves are thick, fat, and in dark green color, good in shape. They are also rich in chlorophyll, looks greener, and more attractive than the group species in appearance.
2 Pre-mingqian longjing.
Pre-ming dragon well looks bright tender green in appearance, neat and well-spaced. When brewing it, you can see them stretch out gradually and then still in bright green liquid like flagpole, some moving up and some down, beautifully and attractively. The teas have combined not only the green color and delicate aroma but also with aromatic taste and good shape, no wander it ranks high among all teas.
Similar to “brown rice” in color, these tea leaves appear in shades of color between yellow and green. Like old Chinese Landscape Painting, briefness but having meaning inside.
Its fried bean aroma is very unique, different from other green teas, can last long. Every time when preparing the next steep, you can feel a slight change – its variable and wonderful, deserved to steep several times. This tea is spiritual awakening and refreshing.
Sweet and mellow taste:
Three steeps are best for Longjing tea. The first steep smells of sweet and mellow aroma mixed a hint of bitterness. Only taking a sip, anything uncomfortable in your body seems to be washed away. 3-4 minutes later, all restored, only sweet aftertaste still lingers in your mouth. The second steep is fresh and mellow, make you comfortable and calm down. The next step is milder and has a thinner taste, yet gives a brisk and refreshing mouth feel.
Only skilled tea worker can make good teas with authentic taste and excellent shape. The pre-ming Longjing leaves should be flat and straight, sharp tender and even size in distribution.