Long Ding is one of eastern China’s most exquisite and distinctive teas. It is a specialty tea from western Zhejiang Province, and it should not be confused with Longjing (Dragonwell) from eastern Zhejiang Province.
Long Ding is everything that we think a Chinese green tea should be – lovely in appearance, fresh and exhilarating in aroma and outstanding in the cup. It is comprised of a careful plucking of one slim bud and one leaf. In the cup the tea liquor is refreshing, sweet and aromatic and underscored with elusive notes of bing cherry pip and bamboo.
It has a fresh, mineral-y quality that can lose its sweetness if over-steeped. The aroma is crisp and fresh and vegetal and enticing. These qualities, influenced by the cold weather during Long Ding’s early plucking time, gives the tea backbone and structure, like a fine Riesling wine. The taste of the tea flirts with the palate and is a sheer delight.
This year’s batch is a bit more crisply mineraly than last year’s tea – the 2017 Long Ding has a stoney astringency that is perfectly in balance with its clean aroma and lean body. The overall taste and experience in the cup is crisp but soft and very well balanced. We think this year’s harvest will appeal to many tea enthusiasts, although for some it might be a wrestling match in the teacup and so more favored by those who prefer a challenging cup.
Because of the nature of the Long Ding, the bud and leaf will stand up straight in the water – or dance – as they steep – this is best observed by steeping the tea in a glass cup or mug.
Long Ding always behaves best when ‘rinsed’, as oolongs are prior to the drinking steepings. This is a quick application of water (10-20 seconds) that is just below the temperature at which it will be steeped for consumption. This quick steeping will release any strident volatile aromatics that are lingering in the cell structure from the drying process and help to open up the leaf for the real steeping. Long Ding is an aggressively-flavored tea and should be tried using various waters and following different foods. If you drink it after having something sweet, it might be perceived as being quite bitter and unpleasant. However, when steeped carefully and drunk ‘neat’ it is the quintessential Chinese Spring Green Tea.
Our visit to the Long Ding tea factory on our first tea-sourcing trip to China was such a memorable experience.This region has many bamboo forests and a lush forest environment that is perfect for nurturing tea bushes to produce fine green tea.
We are thrilled to be able to offer this tea once again for our tea enthusiast customers.
Pre-Qing Ming teas are the first teas plucked each new spring season. Depending on the location and altitude in each tea producing region, leaf plucking can begin as early as the middle week of March and continue until April 5th.
Pre-Qing Ming teas command the highest prices because the demand for these teas outpaces the supply each year. This is especially true for the Famous Teas such as Long Ding and Longjing, and the fever for these teas hits in China as well as in the West.