The Story of Chinese Tea: Long Jing (龍井)

by - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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I have always enjoyed teas, and though I am not big on caffeinated drinks, mainly coffee; tea remains very much intact in one of my preferred beverages.
To be honest, I am not an expert on tea, having started on tea only a few years ago though I have always enjoyed varieties of Chinese tea and herbal tea; preferring the latter due to the milder and natural properties and most importantly the caffeine-free part of the herbal variants.

In recent years, I have expanded my selection of teas and experimented with the different types of tea; becoming bolder with each of my adventure. I have learnt quite a deal about some of the teas as well, fueled by my personal curiosity and interests in the history and background of the types of tea and of course, also the way to enjoy the best qualities of the tea.
It is not just as simple as putting the tea in a cup and just drink it, for that will just be a cup of drink and tea is not just merely a drink to just gush down the throat, but rather, to be appreciated for its natural properties and value.
It takes a whole new horizon to the meaning of enjoying your drink.

Chinese teas are probably one of the most exquisite teas around the world, and are known mainly for their tea leaves processing methods according to the traditional Chinese techniques, originated from ancient China. These beverages are made from the leaves of the tea plants infused or rather, steeped in the boiled water; usually hot between 75°-80°C.

Chinese tea is an important element in the Chinese community; being one of the most essential necessities in life to the Chinese and is classified as one of the Seven Necessities in Life (for the Chinese folks) along with wood (for fire), oil, salt, soy, vinegar, rice.
One can only imagine how important Chinese tea, which is already part of the average Chinese man’s life; substituting even water as part of their daily fluid intake.
The Chinese tea is not just a beverage to be enjoyed during gatherings, parties or any special occasion but can be brewed and drunk throughout the day as though one would drink water.
It is no wonder the Chinese tea is often touted for its health benefits with its popularity though in a seemingly mundane practice.

The history of Chinese tea and how it has assimilated into the daily lives of the Chinese population dates back to 2737 BCE; according to a largely circulated and shared legend on how a leaf from a tea plant, or rather, shrub fell into the water that the Emperor Shennong was apparently boiling at that time. The unsuspecting tea leaf breathed that light flavor into the plain water; giving it that additional taste and aroma and perhaps, in other words, enhanced the plain old water which then spiraled into a frenzy and gave birth to the humble beginnings of the Chinese tea and the practice of drinking tea until this very day.

I have always loved Chinese tea; for they are natural complements to a light beverage during gatherings and of course, meals, particularly Chinese cuisine where Chinese tea is a mandatory presence to complete the meal.
For someone who loves Chinese food, and of course with roots in the Chinese, how could I not know or even love Chinese tea?
Chinese tea is just customary, if not mandatory, to most Chinese meals.
I have enjoyed and learnt about the varieties of Chinese tea; and the common ones being Pu-Erh, Jasmine, Chrystanthemum, Tie Guan Yin, Biluouchun, Houkui, and the list goes on.
I recently had the honor to be presented with a few varieties of Chinese tea; courtesy of Teavivre of China.

It is such a privilege to be selected to sample the variants of reputable Chinese tea and from a well-established company nonetheless that I just could not wait to try out the tea samples when they arrived.

*Note:
 I will be doing individual post on each of the tea; to dedicate to the specialties and unique properties of each and every one of the tea type.
It will be more beneficial to learn and to appreciate the tea type, and at the same time understanding the history and stories associated with each and every one to further cherish the value and savor each sip of the tea as we drink.

The story begins...

Long Jing (龍井) is personally one of my favorite tea; among all the types of Chinese tea and it is also ranked the highest in the list of the famous teas in China.
Long Jing is in its form, a green tea, and depending on its variety or grade, could vary in its quality though it is considered one of the premium tea among the Chinese tea.

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The quality of Long Jing is the determining factor to its deserving price or value, and its grade can range from a ranking scale of Superior (highest quality) and then 1-5.
There are a total of 6 grades for the Long Jing tea.

Classified as green tea; which are commonly known for its early roasting process, following the picking of the leaves, to stop the oxidation process through the immediate pan-heating or steaming of the leaves before they are dried out in a method known as “firing”. This method is usually practiced for the processing of the green and white tea types; in the efforts to sustain the natural qualities of the tea and to minimize the oxidation. It is for this very reason the tea is known as green or white; in the context of its raw state and freshness.
The Long Jing Green tea is greatly sought after for its qualities which can be differentiated by most expert tea drinkers, though there are a few basic signs to look out for.


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The quality of the Long Jing tea can be determined following infusion; indicated by the colors of the tea when steeped and can even tell the maturity of the tea leaves and the uniformity of the shoots or harvested leaves during the processing routine.

Simple ways to identify good quality/premium Long Jing:
1.       Before Infusion
-          Color: Light green tea leaves
-          Shape: Flat, very tight
-          Uniform in appearance with whole and tender leaves
2.       After Infusion
-          Yellow-green color when steeped
-          Lower grade quality could turn bluish or deep green after steeping


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Experienced drinkers could definitely identify the authenticity of the Long Jing tea based on the aroma, flavor and taste of the tea itself, besides the above physical attributes.
Long Jing is famed for its long-lasting aftertaste and also the complexity of its taste which are definite giveaway, but of course, only to the veteran and expert tea drinkers.

The origins of Long Jing tea or rather, the genuine Long Jing are most commonly associated with the famous West Lake area (Xihu), Hangzhou in the Zhejiang Province of China.

The conservative would strictly recommend that the best Long Jing are from this area, and it is not hard to understand why since the origins of the tea itself, from the days of Qianlong, started from here.

The tea plants are planted in this area; and the area is further divided into four sub-regions.
Lion (Shi), Dragon (Long), Cloud (Yun), Tiger (Hu) are the named sub-regions but their perimeters are vague in their distinctions that the categorizations have been refined to only three regions:
1    1.  Shifeng Longjing
      2. Meijiawu Longjing
      3. Xihu Longjing (for the rest of the uncategorized or in a collective noun)

Long Jing is famed for its origin, owing to the legendary beginnings of the tea gaining the favor of the well-renowned Qing Dynasty rulers; namely Kangxi and Qianlong.
Emperor Kangxi bestowed the title of Gong Cha, or Imperial Tea to Long Jing, making it one of the most exquisite and highly prized teas due to its royal title.

Emperor Qianlong, while on his famous Imperial visits was in Xihu (West Lake) and visited the Hu Gong Temple. There he was presented with a cup of Long Jing tea and the emperor was captivated by the quality of the tea that he granted the 18 bushes grown outside the temple itself Imperial status.

(Read more about Qianlong’s associated stories with Long Jing tea here.

Another popular belief is that the best companion to enjoy the highest quality tastes of the Long Jing tea is to brew it using water from the Hupao Spring (Spring of the Running Tiger or Dreaming of the Tiger Spring)
Of course, that was probably advised back then as the water of the spring today is definitely different from before.

The name of the tea also takes from the famous Dragon Well located near the Long Jing village.
The name Long Jing itself is already a clear translation to mean Dragon Well, and that is what it is also commonly known; the Dragon Well tea.
The Dragon Well; after which it is named, is reputed to contain water that is dense and rainwater that falls and touches the surface due to its lighter weight floats around in a harmonious and sinuous wave manner, perceived to resemble the movements of a dragon, thus birthing the name of the Dragon Well.

Long Jing tea are customarily recommended to be prepared in a typical clay teapot; or to achieve the best quality, in a Yixing clay teapot.
The slightly porous surface of a genuine Yixing clay teapot is not to be underestimated, for it is where the qualities of the tea are sustained whereby a small amount of the tea is absorbed into the pot during the brewing process. Usually used for black and oolong teas, the teapot can also be used with green and white though it is important to observe that the temperature of the teapot should be maintained at only 85°C; approximately 185°F.
The Yixing clay teapot is another fine element in determining the taste of the tea brewed, and the teapot can even develop a coating on its surface which can in turn play its part in the retention of the tastes and flavors of the tea.
It is for this reason the teapot is prized for its qualities and can cost up to a few hundred thousands of yuan. At the same time, the teapot is also not to be cleaned with soap and is only recommended to be rinsed with fresh water and left to air dry to maintain that additional coating formed with the long use.

The Yixing clay teapot is definitely the right way to go to enjoy the premium quality of the Long Jing tea.
However, I have opted for the glass teapot and also porcelain cup for the purpose of displaying the colors of the tea and also the leaves in the steeping process.

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Teavivre’s Long Jing tea is uniform in appearance and the yellowish green color of the tea is apparent after infusion.


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Allow 1-6 minutes for brewing and optimum results are achieved if brewing temperature is maintained at the recommended 85°C (185°F).



I love the mild tastes of Green tea; and Long Jing especially is truly a delicate choice for an afternoon tea.
However, do take note that green tea are usually acidic in nature and are usually recommended to enjoy along with food or light snacks.

Long Jing’s green tea leaves are actually edible as well after infusion, and one can also enjoy the soft and tender tastes of the tea leaves.

Teavivre’s Long Jing Green tea is pleasant and light to the taste; in its true Long Jing form and can leave behind that mild aftertaste, making one long for just another sip.
Its origin is from the Shifeng Mountain in Xihu, Zhejiang, China, as printed on the label of the packaging, further attributing to the authenticity of the Long Jing tea.

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I love how the tea is just light to the taste yet leaving a lingering taste after sips and it is as though the flavor of the tea magnates itself to the tongue.
There is really not much strong aroma from the brewing either, yet there is that light and pleasant distinct aroma of green tea significant of Long Jing’s signature in the air during the infusion.

I am enjoying every sip of this Premium Grade Dragon Well Green Tea (Long Jing) from Teavivre.

I almost could imagine myself sitting in an Oriental pavilion surrounded by beautiful blooming lotus flowers in the pond (or lake) with a light misty overcast, enjoying the fresh and crisp air while sipping my tea and magnificent view.
I could hear the willow trees softly humming their tunes while swaying gracefully to the rhythms of the wind.
Ah, the bliss of such serenity and peace and it is no wonder many are of poetic nature then.

Long Jing tea is one of sophistication, and it is not hard to understand why, with its roots in the Imperial status and value which makes it one of the finest teas around enjoyed only by the upper class noblemen and royalty.

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More information on Teavivre’s Long Jing green tea can be found on their website here

Teavivre offers one of the most extensive selection of Chinese teas on the web, and ordering and shipping can be done easily with just a click on their interactive and user-friendly website.
Their customer service is really helpful and informative too; there really is not much difficulty to purchase or even to look up the tea you want here.



I am looking forward to trying the rest of the teas!


*This is a sponsored Post and the tea mentioned in the post is the Premium Grade Long Jing Green Tea, from Shifeng Mountain, Xihu, Zhejiang, China courtesy of Teavivre *


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Teavivre Official Website



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