Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tea on Thursday 13 : Dragon Well Tea

tea plant , Hangzhou 
Last week, I visited the Xihu Lake ( West Lake) area near Hangzhou, Zhejaing Province in China. Besides being a very scenic place, it has the reputation of producing the best green tea in China -  Xihu Longjing tea, or Dragon Well tea.
first growth  March picking ( Swallow's tongue) 
pre Qing-Ming picking - first Spring  tea shoots  early April 
later picking - lower grade 'Dragon Well After the Rain' tea
tea picking baskets and tea picker's hat 
I tasted the three grades of Dragon Well tea and learnt some important tips about preparing the tea , for example, the water should be 85 degrees C.  Like most other Chinese green tea, Longjing tea leaves are roasted early in processing (after picking) to stop the natural oxidation process, which is a part of creating black and oolong teas. The actions of these enzymes is stopped by "firing" (heating in pans) before they completely dry out.   Longjing tea leaves are therefore "unfermented." When steeped, the tea produces a yellow-green color. The tea contains vitamin C, amino acids, and, like most finer Chinese green teas, has one of the highest concentrations of catechins among teas.
heating pan
sorting basket