Strolling around the famous West Lake, can you smell the sweet fragrance of tea from the mountains behind? It is the Longjing Tea (Dragon Well Tea) which is world-famous for its 'four wonders' - emerald green color, aromatic flavor, sweet taste and beautiful appearance. Because of its nutritional value and extraordinary effect on people's health, it is favored by both the domestic and foreign markets.
Dragon Well Tea flourishes in the mountainous area where mild climate and plentiful rainfall are plentiful year-round. Around West Lake, Shifeng Peak, Longjing Village, Yunxi Mountain, Hupao and Meijiawu Region offer such prime conditions. The history of planting tea trees is rather long in these areas, as the tea sage Lu Yu mentioned in his Book of Tea. The teas grown in these areas were called Shi, Long, Yun, Hu and Mei respectively in the past. Now, with an increase in production, it is generally classified into Xihu (West Lake) Longjing, Qiantang Longjing and Yuezhou Longjing, among which the Xihu Longjing is the best.
|Tea garden || |
|Roasted green tea |
The excellent quality of Dragon Well Tea is guaranteed by a super elaborate production process. The picking of the leaves
emphasizes the importance of timeliness. As a famous among tea growers saying goes, "Tea leaves are a treasure if picked earlier while it is useless as grass if picked too late." Dragon Well Tea leaves are picked during different periods of time. Generally speaking, the best is picked before Qingming Festival, which is called Mingqian Tea. The one picked before Grain Rain are fairly good and are called Yuqian Tea. The selection process of tea leaves is very strict. Only the delicate and complete leaves are to be picked. After the fresh leaves have been picked, the makers should first grade them, as different qualities of leaves need to be dealt with different temperature and techniques. The masters will bake the tea by hand using specially made iron pans. Traditional method of making Dragon Well Tea has many ways - grasp, toss, shake, pile, throw, buckle, press, and grind. Experienced masters know well how and when to use the certain movements according to the temperature, color and moisture content of the leaves. Usually, Longjing is graded using a scale of six levels from superior quality to low quality. Different levels of tea have different methods to bake.
|Tea pot || |
|Infusion of tea |
Infusion of Tea
Good tea must be made with good water, so its flavor can be totally infused. The Dragon Well Tea and Hupao Spring
is a perfect match. With less soluble minerals and higher concentration levels of organic nitride, Hupao water is favorable for producing the flavor and fragrance of it. The 212F boiled water is not suggested because the high temperature will break the nutrition and taste. Instead, boiled water at around 185F is appropriate. Usually people use glasses as the ware to infuse Dragon Well Tea because the beauty of the leaves rising and falling in the water can be enjoyed through the transparent glass. Like the newly-opened orchid, the leaves extend their waists gently and slowly. It is no doubt an inspirational experience.
Dragon Well Tea adds luster to West Lake and has become another reason for travelersto visit the lake. It is a heavenly unforgettable experience for visitors totake in the beautiful views around the lake while enjoying a cup of Dragon Well Tea.