This exquisite green tea is one of the best verities you can discover from the Kingdom of green tea. Long Jing tea is also known as “Dragon well tea” and remarkably the production of these teas is confined to a specific area of the country, namely Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. The specialty of the tea comes not only with its wonderful flavor but also with the unique flat & glossy leaf appearance. This premium green tea has a history dating back to thousands of years and here we are going to unveil all this information step by step.
What exactly is Long Jing Tea, and where does it come from?
If you are new to the world of Long Jing tea, the first fact to know that the authentic Long Jing teas come from the West Lake area in the Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Of course, other areas in the Zhejiang Province produce this royal delicacy, but those are not considered as the authentic Long Jing tea. In general, this area is a mystic mountainous area with an ample amount of rain to produce flourishing green tea leaves. It is said that the misty, foggy, and rainy climate pattern in the area is highly accountable for the mellow and fruity flavor profile of the Long Jing tea.
How is it made?
Tea leaves are harvested during early spring to unfold this subtle delicacy and the processing steps are simply as follows.
- WITHERING – This is the first step of any tea production. So, when it comes to the production of Long Jing tea, around 70% of tea leaf moisture is removed through a 6-12 hour withering period.
- PAN FRIED – Pan Frying is done to deactivate the leaf enzymes so that tea can be processed as green tea. Here the preliminary shaping of Long Jing tea leaves is also done. This is one of the very important steps in Long Jing production, as the temperature and other timing parameters must be carefully managed to get the ideal output of tea.
- COOLING – Soon after pan firing the tea leaves are left to cool for about 40-60 minutes. After cooling a winnowing and hand sorting process is conducted to separate foreign materials and the defective leaf partials from the good leaves.
- 2ND PAN FRIED – The objective of the second firing is to reduce moisture as well as to achieve the specific shape of the Long Jing tea leaves. At this stage, special focus is given to shape the leaves by hand until the desired flat and glossy leaf appearance is achieved.
The preparation of Long Jing tea has been there in China for more than 1500 years. However, the peak era of popularity was during the “Qing Dynasty” where the emperor was served with this tea during a visit to Hu Gong Temple under the Lion Peak Mountain. It is said that the emperor was very impressed with the delicate taste, fragrance, and stylish appearance of the tea. Later he has served some of these teas to his sick mother and the legend says she was fully recovered by this extraordinary brew. Since then the Long Jing tea and the original tea trees have been granted royal recognition.
Varieties of Long Jing Tea
The superiority of this authentic tea is originated from its area of cultivation and manufacturing. Here are the few most common grades of Long Jing tea from the area of origin as well as the other areas of China.
- Shi Feng Long Jing or Lion Peak Long Jing tea: The most authentic type of Long Jing tea comes directly from the legendary lion Peak Mountains. As you would expect, this is the most superior and expensive kind of Long Jing tea and comes as fresh green leaves with a yellowish hue.
- Xi Hu Long Jing tea: This tea is from the remaining villages of the West lake region and also the most famous type of Long Jing tea.
- Mei Jia Wu Long Jing tea: This is another kind of Long Jing tea from the West Lake area, renowned for its quality and is expensive too.
- Qian Tang Long Jing tea: This is a cheaper verity of Long Jing tea as it comes from a different area of Zhejiang province, outside the West Lake area.
Great tea that comes with Benefits
As the legendary story of the “Qing Dynasty” proves, this miraculous tea comes with loads of health benefits. During manufacturing, the tea undergoes minimal oxidation process, thus contains most of the vitamins, amino acids as well as the popular antioxidant, “Catechins”
- Long Jing tea can calm you down: This tea helps to keep the mental attentiveness due to the stimulant effect of caffeine in tea. But at the same time, the amino acid “Theanine” helps to relax the mind as well as the body.
- Long Jing tea can provide antioxidants: The “Catechins” in long jing tea acts as a great source of antioxidants. These components are capable of neutralizing the harmful free radicals in the human body thus prevents the human body from various diseases like cancers.
- Long Jing tea can lower blood sugar: It has been found that the component called “myricetin” in tea, is found to be able to control insulin activity in type 2 diabetes.
- Long Jing tea can reduce aging: As we call this tea a miracle brew, it has been acknowledged that increased anti-oxidants activity could increase the lifespan of humans and the antioxidants in Long Jing tea come in handy to improve human aging
How to brew a perfect cup of Long Jing Tea
The brewing of Long Jing tea needs to be done with extra care and attention as the tea is very delicate by nature. To discover the authentic flavor of this tea, it is recommended to use the traditional clay teapots for brewing. The recommended brewing methods are to use one teaspoon of tea per cup, steep for 1-3 minutes, keeping the water temperature at 70-75 °C.
From its origin to the cup. It is not an ordinary tea from China, but a royal delicacy passed from generation to generation as a precious gift!