To us, this Longjing is sweet and lightly vegetal but not pushy. It has a persistent flavor that stays throughout several infusions before diminishing. It is elegant and has a clean, fresh ‘green-ness’ along with a nice (not too strong) toasty quality. The aroma in the cup is less floral than that of the Meijiawu Village Longjing, which fits with its more toasty, slightly nutty nature, but it is clean, persistent and fresh.
The origin of authentic Longjing is the West Lake (Xi Hu region) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Longjing is a protected tea (protected against counterfeit ‘Longjing’ tea cultivated and manufactured in other places in China, or even other tea producing countries) and can only legimately come from one of the places located within the National Designated Protected Zone.
Our Longjing is ‘authentic Longjing’ which means that the tea is made from Longjing #43 tea bushes, grown in the NDPZ.
This zone is a scant 168 kilometers in area, and all Longjing tea manufactured there is sold under the name of the region or village in which the tea was plucked. The original production zones were named Lion, Dragon, Cloud (Meijiawu Village), Tiger, and Plum. Today, the names have changed, but the most important harvesting areas for production of authentic Longjing tea in the Xi Hu region are the same: Shi-feng Shan; Longjing Village; Meijiawu Village; Weng-jia Shan
Again this year we had the opportunity to purchase Longjing from two of the authentic tea-harvesting areas: Meijiawu Village and Weng-jia Shan.
Being able to taste these choice Longjings in a comparative tasting is a rare opportunity for those who are interested in tasting the influence of terroir. Or in this case, the subtle difference / similarity of same-name products made from different farms using the same tea making techniques within the same region.
Because of the effects of terroir on the final characteristics of tea grown within the region, this tea is similar to but different than the Shi Feng and the Meijiawu Village Longjings. All have a similar appearance – some are greener, some have a slightly more elongated leaf and bud, some have a bit more early spring ‘down’ on the leaf, etc – and the flavors are similar but different, too.
These differences are small, not big; subtle, not overblown. It is a matter of degree in the sweetness and toastiness, and the amount of mouthfeel, intensity of the flavor and the length and strength of the finish. These Longjings present the tea drinker with lovely variations on an elegant theme.
Like a comparative Bordeaux wine tasting, one can conduct a tea tasting of our Longjings and happily ruminate on the results with a group of like-minded tea enthusiasts for an entire afternoon.
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.
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