Thursday, February 16, 2012

Appreciating Longjing Cha

1. Find some good dried tea leaves. Some criteria to look out for:
a) Smell. A good Dragon Well tea should have a strong, nutty aroma. It should not smell burnt or weak.
b) Look and feel. The tea shoots should be complete and unbroken. A tea shoot should be brittle, so that when you rub it with your fingers it turns into powders. The tea shoots are pointed and sharp. They should be smooth and glossy, not dim.
c) Color. Depend on the varieties. High grade Lion Peak Longjing is yellowish green rather green. Mei Jia Wu Longjing tea is jade green.
2. Understand the brewing process. You should be looking for:
a) Smell. Strong and nutty.
b) Taste. Savory. Reminiscent of MSG, a food taste enhancer. Long and sweet aftertaste, not grassy or bitter.
c) Look. Tea liquor should be yellowish or pale green, not brownish or dim. Tea leaves should dance and stand on ends before settling down.
3. Know what to look for after brewing is complete:
Tea leaves should be complete, unbroken. A standard pick is one bud/one leaf or one bud/two leaves, but never single buds. The smaller the bud, the better. The bud should be longer or equal in length to the adjacent leaves. The tenderer the tea shoots, the higher the grade. Should look bright rather than dim.

By Explore Cultural China

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