Before I start, I have to confess that I do not know much about long jing (dragon well) tea which is a widely celebrated and appreciated tea in China. I like a good green tea, but to appreciate them I simply need to learn more about it. To qualify as long jing green tea, the tea needs to come from Zhejiang province however, there are more restrictive definitions that refer to certain plantations in the West Lake area of Hangzhou. West Lake Long jing teas are known to be the best ones and there are four main types available: Qiantang, yuezhou, white tea, and shifeng long jing the last is known as the best quality one.
I got hold of this long jing tea unexpectedly and without having a chance to ask questions about it. I had to self-study to find out that it is a typical roasted fixed green tea with a strong fragrance and mellow flavour. It is the most famous green tea in China. I do not like using superlatives so much, but you really see this tea everywhere. In a way, the fact that I have only tried it recently is quite a miracle. While traditionally long jing teas have been manually roasted, nowadays fully machine-made or semi handmade ones (meaning that fixation is made by machine and final pan-frying by hand) are also available and only the top-quality long jing goes through manual roasting.
The fresh leaves are picked in the form of one bud one leaf or one bud two leaves and then sun-dried in the shadow which is to cut through the strong, grassy, bitter notes that a low-quality green tea would release. Long jing is known for its mellow taste which originates from the amino acids that are found in young buds. These amino acids are known as theanine and their benefits include reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality. But it is important not to drink any tea (excluding non-teas like herbal teas) to close to bedtime. I would leave at least 4-5 hours in between.
Harvest time: 2019
Leave colour: Bright green
Liquor colour: Very light yellow
Tea aroma: Subtle vegetal and nutty notes
Tea taste: Mellow and sweet
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 80°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)