The first of our 2012 Pre-Qing Ming ( Ming Qian ) teas have arrived from eastern China. The beginning of the tea harvest was slowed in many regions by the vagaries of weather that makes established plucking-times and ‘market-date’ cycles in our modern times a bit unpredictable. However, these sheer deliciousness and goodness of these new teas have been worth the short delay.
Longjing is one of China’s Ten Famous Teas, and it is the most sought after of the pre-Qing Ming teas (tea plucked from the end of March until April 5th).
It is comprised of a classic two-leaves and a bud pluck, and the appearance is that of a carefully made, hand-shaped, pan-fired tea. It possesses a signature taste combination of toastiness, nuttiness and delicacy that is unique. From the first sip of the initial steeping right through to the lingering taste of the final cup,Longjing always fills the palate with sweet, satisfying flavor.
The origin of authentic Longjing is the vicinity of West Lake ( Xi Huregion ) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Longjing is a protected tea
( protected against counterfeit ‘Longjing’ made somewhere else in China, or anywhere) and can only legitimately 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. Some early pluck Longjing being sold in the US this year is made from Wu Niu Zao cultivar, which has an appearance similar to Longjing but is not true Longjing and should not command Longjing prices).
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 it was plucked. The original production zones were called Lion, Dragon, Cloud ( Meijiawu Village), Tiger, and Plum.
Today, the names have changed, but the most important harvesting areas for production of authentic Longjing in the Xi Huregion remain the same:
Shi-feng Shan; Longjing Village; Meijiawu Village; Weng-jia Shan
Our 2012 Pre- Qing Ming Meijiawu Village Longjing is complex in aroma, and we think, quite spectacular. We are pleased to share this lot with our Longing-enthusiast clientele. Supply is very limited!
This spring our 2012 Pre-Qing Ming Gan Lu is comprised of the tiniest baby tea leaves – the smallest we have ever seen! The leaf is covered with the characteristic white pekoe that signifies the tea is comprised of very early season buds, just as this tea should be. In the high elevation area tea gardens of Mengding Mountain in Sichuan Province, the sweet spring buds yield a refreshing, slightly-earthy tasting tea punctuated with high-notes of delicate sweetness. This very appealing quality has earned this tea the name, Gan Lu, or sweet dew.
Mengding Mountain Gan Lu is cultivated in the vicinity of Gan Lu Si Temple, where Wu LiZhen is reported to have planted the first tea bushes around 53 BC. This tea was enjoyed by Song dynasty Emperor Xiaozong ( r. 1162-1189), who gave Wu LiZhen the title ” Master of Sweet Dew.”
This batch of Sweet Dew is small – once this lot is sold we will have a slightly later plucking from the Yu Qian or Before the Rains plucking season, April 5th to April 20th, weather permitting! Order now !