|End of Vintage Clearance: 40% off Until it's Gone
Harvest: Spring, 2012 (Yu Qian/Pre-Rain)Varietal: Traditional Long Jing Varietal
Growing Region: Shi Feng Mtn, Xihu District, Hangzhou Pref., Zhejiang Province
Long Jing is without a doubt the most famous green tea in China, if not the world. Long Jing literally means "Dragon well," which is an actual water well located in the Xi Hu (West Lake) district of Hangzhou Prefecture. Green tea has been produced in the area near Hangzhou city since at least 750 CE/AD, and was designated as an imperial tribute tea in the early part of the Qing Dynasty (around 1650) by the Emperor Kangxi.
This is an authentic Long Jing from the Shi Feng mountain area relatively close to Xi Hu (West Lake). It was hand picked and traditionally processed in early April, 2012. The cultivar used is the traditional Long Jing varietal, which is becoming less popular among producers in the area because it begins to sprout a week or so later than more recently developed Long Jing #43 cultivar. The reason #43 is becoming more popular is because the producers can get their product to market earlier than the traditional varietal, and the earlier the Long Jing gets to market, the higher the price it fetches. The producer who grows and processes this tea is a purist, and they insist on using the traditional cultivar because of its distinctively nutty and thick flavor and its appearance, which is more yellow-green in color than the very green #43.
The distinctive flat leaf shape of Long Jing is a result of the pan firing process used. Green leaves are loaded into a relatively low temperature wok (175-212 F) and tossed by hand to kill the enzymes in the leaves that would otherwise cause the leaves to oxidize and begin to turn brown. After the leaves begin to soften, the tea master begins a process of repeatedly pressing the leaves against the surface of the wok and tossing them away from the hot surface. This is not an easy process to do properly, and it takes a lot of skill to keep the leaves from scorching and turning brown if the leaves are pressed too hard or too long against the hot surface or not taking the flat shape if there is too little pressure used.
It is what I consider a good quality, everyday-grade Long Jing. It made up mostly of one bud/two leaf sets. It has the classic, nutty and vegetal flavor profile with a beautiful, pale yellow/green liquor. In the mouth, the liquor has a full body and nice, long finish.
Steeping this tea Gong-Fu style in a gaiwan works beautifully, and a more "Western" approach also yields very good results as long as you start out with lower temperature water to avoid extracting bitter flavor compounds. But, I highly recommend using a very informal "grandpa style" approach. Simply place a few pinches of the tea leaves in a highball glass,
pour in 150-160 F water and let it steep until most of the leaves fall
to the bottom. If any leaves remain
on the top, simply blow them out of the way before drinking. Then, when you run out of water, just add more to the same batch of leaves. Keep enjoying and adding water until the flavor is gone. General steeping
guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short
downloadable "how to" video on Gong Fu style tea preparation are
available on our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.
|Positive Customer Review
29 Dec 2011, 9:23 PM
Battle of the Long Jings- XI HU Vs. Shi Feng
I bought these two teas so that I could do a comparison between the two and get a general feel for their differences, what I liked, and what I didn't.
I really like this tea a lot, and I will admit that it goes quite well the way Greg recommends it, grandpa style or whatever you prefer to call it. Its quite convenient to just throw a few leaves in a cup while you are working on homework and enjoy. Plus at such a fantastic value I don't feel like I am wasting it by not being all specific. Anyways on to the specs.
To Me this is the most lacking part of the whole tea, shame I start with it, but it was the first thing I evaluated. The color itself is a very nice emerald green color. The thing is that the leaves are somewhat choppy. You get a good amount of whole leaves, but there are always a few leaf halves and stems or whatnot.
I think the aromas of both the teas were unique. They shared the similar characteristics of a long jing, vegetal, slightly nutty, but the Xi Hu was definitely a bit more citric. That smell follows through to the taste as well.
Aah, the teas most rewarding aspect. I have nothing bad to say about the flavor. Sure it lacks some of the depth and complexity of the Shi Feng, but that is expected. I think it actually stands up quite well to its more expensive counterpart. As I said the citrus taste, not to be confused with astringency, is present. Although both teas are very light, this one is even lighter than the Shi Feng. Very light in fact. I really enjoyed the taste of this tea.
Color of the Liquor
I am not going to rate this because it looks exactly like a long jing should. Crystal clear with a hint of green and yellow. Very nice.
It is a great tea, just not quite 5 stars. Definitely closer to 5 than 3 though. Maybe 4.7 stars. I tried to make this review about the Xi Hu and not the Shi Feng. I will review the Shi Feng at some point. Definitely will buy this tea again.