Every spring and summer, a lot of Long Jing tea lovers come to my shop to taste the new spring season’s tea. We are all very satisfied of this spring’s high quality. A good reason to share some story about this special type of tea.
There is an interesting reason why Dragon Well tea – in Chinese Long Jing Cha – got the title “Queen of the green teas”.
One of the emperors of the Qing dynasty, while visiting the West Lake area in the Hang Zhou region, was resting in a temple on the Lion Peak mountain, when a Buddhist monk offered him some green tea.
The emperor enjoyed it very, very much, and was very impressed and surprised to find such a delicious green tea he never tasted before; but then he found out that the tea leaves were coming from the trees planted by the monks in front of the temple around the “dragon” well.
The emperor noticed that this excellent green tea came from the “Dragon Well”, on the mountain called the “Lion Peak”. Lion and Dragon are both symbols of the emperor: that’s why he nominated immediately these 18 tea tree bushes in front of the temple as “the Imperial tea”. Every year, the monks would pick the tea from these 18 trees and deliver it to the imperial palace in Beijing.
The emperor returned many times to this area in the following years, visiting the West Lake area, to enjoy the tea from the Buddhist temple. Since then, Long Jing green tea earned the name “the queen of the green teas”.
The West Lake area can grow such excellent tea because the hilly location, the rich soil, the abundant water, the fresh air and the sun – they all come together in harmony, gathered by the spirituality of the tea masters.
The special character of Long Jing green tea is very fresh, smooth, with a very delicate green pea fragrance, a long lasting aftertaste, and a beautiful yellow-green colour.
The very delicate first pick starts from late March till the beginning of April. The best Long Jing tea leaves have a beautiful pointy shape, are covered by fine silver hair, and feel as smooth as silk at the touch.
Because this tea is so delicate, you need to be very careful in preparing it. The water temperature should be around 80 °C, and the best is to use a glass or white porcelain tea cup.
In the hot summer time, try enjoying a cup of nice green tea. It is not only soothing your thirst, it is also refreshing your mind and soul.