Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long Jing (Dragon Well) Green Tea

My sister and her husband spent a week in Hangzhou with his parents. This is a popular vacation spot in China, especially in Spring when the trees blossom. They had a good time. Another place to visit when you are there is where they grow Long Jing green tea, called Dragon Well in English. The green tea is picked by hand, the tender young green leaves, where they are dried using a huge wok. Of course, drinking the tea is just as interesting as finding out how it's produced. Cold well water is heated to the proper temperature, not boiling!, and the long jing tea leaves are steeped, and the first steeping is thrown out (though you are supposed to breathe in the fumes, the first steeping is thought to be bitter and not good). A second lot of water is put to steep the leaves again, and this time the resulting tea is sweet and excellent tasting. Well, I was surprised to receive a lot of this tea last week, when a coworker returned from a visit to Beijing and Shanghai, he had met my sister and her husband there. The tea was excellent! Even better than the batch I had received earlier that year. Perhaps because it was fresh.

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