Best green tea is the Longjing tea. Among the top ten tea in China, Longjing tea ranks the first one. Besides, Longjing tea had a history of more than 1200 years and made in the Longjing village, Hangzhou city of Zhejiang province. Longjing tea has four characteristics of are a green color, strong fragrance, sweet flavor and beautiful shape. And the best green tea only produced before and after Qingming Festival, about April 5 of every year in Longjing village.
Longjing tea is famous for its four wonders of “green color, strong fragrance, sweet flavor and nice shape.” Longjing is the name of both a place and spring. It would not be dry even meeting great drought. So, the ancients thought that the spring connected with the sea, and there was a dragon in it. Therefore people named it Longjing (Dragon and Well).
and April each year, the new tea comes into the market; early spring tea of
Longjing also enters into the tea-plucking period. The tea plucked before Qingming Festival in Longjing, its price of
4,800 USD/500g, it is the best green tea. However, after Qingming Festival, tea price falling
fast. Therefore, during the Qingming Festival, the tea plucking time is pressed.
Mountains on three sides surround Hangzhou city, the city’s south side facing the Hangzhou Bay. In spring, when Pacific warming and wetting flow passes by, a significant amount of warming and wetting flow gather here. With the rise of air temperature, the people start to pluck the Longjing tea; it is first among the Chinese Top 10 Teas. After accumulation in autumn and winter, now of coming into bud in early spring, the tea buds gathered many health mineral matters. From this perspective, its health effects are beyond doubt.
Typically, after Qingming Festival, people all think that tea is not that best anymore. In fact, due to climate abnormality, before or after April 5 is not the only criterion for judging if it is the best green tea or not. If the weather is cold in some years, the tea plucked after Qingming Festival is also likely to be the best tea. Therefore, other people are looking for the best Longjing tea; they do not pay attention to the time, but to the area instead. Due to different climate factors, the growing conditions are also various. Before and after the Qingming Festival, if it is the first plucked this year, it is the best green tea; the tea leaves are thick and robust with healthy minerals.
After Qingming Festival, the weather gets warmer and warmer, tea leaves grow very fast. Therefore, tea planter must puck tea leaves before they get over mature. Every day, the tea planter had to pluck a large number of tea leaves; it is the last time.
After the plucking, all planter began to make tea. They need to fry the tea every day and night, over 10 hours a day, up to mid-April. Again, this is a same very stressful time. Tea planter needs to make tea when they are fresh so the tea could be the best green tea. For tealeaves, they are still treasures in the first three days, but they would become sixpenny next three days. Therefore, they have to grasp the time.
To making Longjing tea, there are three particular orders. The first step is deactivation of enzymes; the second step is roasting and then comes the manual filtration.
After plucking the fresh leaves, we need to place them on the ground for 2~3 hours. Then we can do deactivation of enzymes. This process is continuous rubbing and kneading with China wok until it turns out to be small and sharp on both sides.
The purpose of the hot roasted tea is to make the tea smell, evaporate water vapor and dry the tea leaves. Moreover, we need to roast it slowly with a small fire, to bake the aroma of the tea.
In fact, those who conduct roasting are all masters, only those masters could perform roasting. Every year, during the more than 20 days from Qingming Festival to mid-April, they are the busiest. They have to hurry on frying new tea, and they would work for more than ten hours every day. When frying tea, must keep stirring the tea leaves without stopping. After that, we need to roast about 5 times. Only in this way, to reduce the moisture content and keep the mineral matters in tea buds. Therefore, the shaped Longjing tea is flat and smooth.
The final step is the manual filtration to make the best tea, removing some of the irregularly sized blades. Thus, the sizes of all the tea are about the same size and look better.
Some say that Hangzhou is a city born for tea. In thousands of years, no matter how the world changes, tea fragrance has never stopped in this city.
According to the recording of Hangzhou tea originated from the “Classic of Tea” written by Lu Yu. It is said, there are two temples built in Hangzhou, Tianzhu Temple, and Lingyin Temple. In Tang Dynasty, Longjing tea was mainly located in Tianzhu and Lingyin area. At that time, monks of Tianzhu Temple and Lingyin Temple cultivated tea gardens beside the temples. They plucked and made tea by themselves for their own consumption or for guests. At that time, Longjing tea was only the tea of monks, so few people knew it. Compared with this, tea drinking customs of aristocrats were luxurious in Tang Dynasty.
Tea drinking customs in Tang Dynasty continued to Song Dynasty. In Southern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou was set as its capital, named as Lin’an. According to record, at that time, the population in Lin'an had reached 1 million. The then making tea process was incredibly luxurious.
There are various tea sets for “tea making.” At that time, tea was inseparable from food in people’s eating habits. Later on, people found its health efficacy. Thus they separated it from food. Then it became an elegant activity. In Tang and Song Dynasties, real tea things belonged to the aristocrats only. They enjoyed tea and took tea as a kind of high-grade action, just like entertainment.
Until Ming Dynasty, because Zhu Yuanzhang abolished crumby-cake tea, tribute tea should use the tea in bulk, just as those we drink today. Only after Zhu Yuanzhang carried out the corruption in Ming Dynasty, thus to hold back the luxurious tea drinking customs. The ways of tea making and tea drinking changed considerably. Therefore, tea-drinking classes began to expand. In Ming Dynasty, there was another extraordinary phenomenon, especially in late Ming Dynasty, because many literati politically had no way to out in the aspect of imperial examinations, they could not carry out their ambitions. Thus, they used their talents in the art of life.
The Chinese saying goes seven things about life, there are firewood, rice, oil, salt; sauce, vinegar, and tea are only seven trivial things in life. However, tea was not widespread until Ming Dynasty. Then it became a common thing for ordinary people. Before long, people accept the Longjing, the way of instant making and drinking of Longjing are convenient.
Until Qing Dynasty, a key figure made Longjing tea pursed and admired by all social classes. He is Qianlong Emperor (AD 1711 - 1799), who focused his attention on tea with a great passion. Qianlong Emperor had been to the south of the Yangtze River for six times, and he had been to Longjing for four times to drink tea and write poems. Their inferiors imitate the doings of superiors. This leisurely and carefree mood of Qianlong Emperor unquestionably endowed Longjing tea with a highly respected status.
Once, Qianlong Emperor made an inspection trip to the south. When he arrived in Hangzhou, a capital of literati, he found that literati and refined scholars here all focused their attention on Longjing tea with a great passion. Then he cheerily joined them and conferred “imperial tea” upon eighteen tea trees. And even he specially assigned personnel to watch over them. Every year, the planter plucked from these trees and offered to the palace as tribute tea. Undoubtedly, Qianlong Emperor was the only tea sipper. Due to literati favored initially and Qianlong’s worship, caused Longjing to become famous.
When Qianlong Emperor came to the south of the Yangtze River for the fourth time, because the local officials thought that he had been here three years ago, so they did not arrange anything-related tea for him. Just one day before the end of 8-day Hangzhou journey, Qianlong Emperor came to Longjing alone and wrote a poem. All the way to his late years, he could not go to Hangzhou, but he still bore it in mind consistently, so he wrote two lyrics in memory of Longjing.
Story about Qianlong
In Hangzhou Qianlong Emperor once wrote two Chinese characters of “Chong Er 虫二” The attendant officials got very confused at the sight of this. Later on, a former third-degree candidate in the national civil service examination pointed out the mystery. The two Chinese characters of “Chong Er” seem to have no relation, but it shows the immanency of Qianlong Emperor. In fact, these two words are parts of another two Chinese characters: “Feng Yue 风月” meaning “the wonders of natural beauty are boundless.” The scenery of the Hangzhou and the tea of Longjing leaves a lasting aftertaste to people, just like the great wonders of natural beauty.
In history, water in Longjing is bright and sweet. It was one of the four famous springs in Hangzhou. Hangzhou's spring is also one of the critical factors to achieve the best green tea.
Springs studded the Hangzhou city, Limestone, and sandstone account for the most part of the distribution of rock formation. When we taste the spring separated by two mountains, it is different, too. The water in Hangzhou is very sweet; we can drink it directly. Although, it was great to drink the water straight, but to make tea; it was so sweet that it would keep the tea flavor out. Therefore, we would generally store the water for one night to make it less sweet to avoid that it would keep the tea flavor out.
There are numerous famous springs in
Hangzhou. However, only the Tiger Running Spring can match with Longjing tea. Longjing
tea and Tiger Running Spring water is collectively called “two wonders of the Hangzhou.” Since Qing Dynasty, Tiger Running Spring becomes
the third famous spring in the China. Qianlong Emperor once weighed water with
a specially made silver bucket to rank great
springs in various places by weight. The
result was that: Beijing Jade Spring ranked the first, Zhenjiang Cold Spring
ranked the second and Hangzhou Tiger Running Spring ranked the third. Until
now, Hangzhou people are still full of enthusiasm about this Third Spring in
the China conferred upon by Qianlong Emperor. Every day many citizens come to
fetch the water to making tea.
Longjing tea and Tiger Running Spring water match each other entirely. People have felt different lingering charm in it. With such good Longjing tea, then the excellent taste depends on the way people make it. There are words said by Lu Yu are classic: "Tea set is the father of tea and water is the mother of tea." so it means that the best green tea is the child of the tea set and water. Tea drinking also needs skills (Gongfu tea, Chinese tea culture - Cha Dao).
We should first wash the cup with hot water. When the tea is in the water, we cannot smell the fragrance, for there is a lot of vapor. The cup gets hot after washing it with hot water. Then pour some tea into this hot cup. The fragrance is soft.
To making Longjing tea, the tea set must be low porcelain ware. For it is difficult for the temperature to drop in a deep cup, then inclusions of tea will be dissolved continuously, so the tea will be bitter. While the shallow cup allows the temperature to fall now when tea fragrance flies off. Therefore, we just can taste the original taste of tea.
When Qianlong Emperor went to the south of the Yangtze River, those literate in the south of the Yangtze River had already favored Longjing tea. At that time, the south of the Yangtze River was economically prosperous, so many literati and people of ideas and integrity gathered there. Therefore, Qianlong Emperor went to the south of the Yangtze River to find the meeting point of the culture of multiple nationalities.
Just as we advocate a kind of culture concept and a kind of cultural context handed down. The cultural context inherited by Longjing tea in the Hangzhou is the advocacy of it by literati of the past dynasties. For this, we must have patience; it is not tea drinking, but tea tasting. Taste the original taste of tea, and also feel the cultures. That way we just can get the best green tea. After we drink it, we can feel the light flavor, seeming to be not in existence. When we put the tea in our mouth for a moment, the fragrance comes out from the mountain spring water. The aroma of the tea has a long aftertaste in the mouth.