When it comes to Chinese green tea, Longjing tea often comes to mind. But where does the name Longjing come from? What exactly is Longjing?
In reality, the name Longjing can refer to multiple things. It refers to a famous spring pool, the area surrounding this spring pool, and the well-known Chinese green tea, Longjing tea.
What is Longjing?
Let's start with the famous spring pool. Originally named Longhong, Longjing is located in the southern mountains of West Lake and is a round spring pool. It flows with clear water all year round, and even during times of severe drought, the spring pool never dries up. Ancient people believed that this spring pool was connected to the sea and must be inhabited by a dragon, hence the name Longjing, which means "Dragon Well."
Longjing Spring is composed of both underground and surface water. The underground water is denser, so it stays below the surface water. When you stir the spring water with a small rod, you will see a meandering line on the water's surface, resembling the movement of a dragon. This phenomenon is more pronounced on rainy days. It is because of the interaction between underground water and surface water, resulting from differences in density and flow rate between the two water types. Once the underground water settles back down, the meandering line gradually narrows and eventually disappears, providing a delightful sight for visitors. Longjing Spring, along with the Hupaoquan(Tiger Run Spring) in the Huichan Temple below the Baihe Peak and the Yuquan(Jade Spring) in the Hangzhou Botanical Garden, are known as the three famous springs of Hangzhou.
As is generally known, good mountainous and water resources can give rise to high-quality tea. The excellent water quality of Longjing Spring and its surrounding area is one of the conditions that produce the famous classic Chinese loose leaf green tea, Longjing tea. If you explore further, you'll discover that many renowned Chinese classic loose leaf tea production areas are famous for their beautiful landscapes.
Buildings and places around Longjing Spring are also named after it. About 500 meters from Longjing Spring, there is Longjing Temple, commonly known as Old Longjing. Now, Longjing Temple has been converted into a tea house. To the west of Longjing Spring is Longjing Village, surrounded by lush hills, unique rocks, towering ancient trees, and beautiful natural scenery.
Longjing Tea, a tea born in the Longjing Village area
Longjing Village, surrounded by mountains, produces tea known as Longjing tea. It is praised for its four characteristics: emerald color, rich aroma, mellow taste, and beautiful appearance. If you want to taste the best loose leaf tea, Longjing tea should undoubtedly be on your tea tasting list.
Before the Ming and Qing dynasties, the production of authentic Longjing tea was very limited and confined to the area around Lion Peak. As time went on, the production increased, and it was divided into five categories based on the differences in production conditions and processing techniques: Shi (Lion), Long (Dragon), Yun (cloud), Hu (tiger), and Mei (plum). Later, they were grouped into three categories: Shi (Lion), Long (Dragon), and Mei (plum). These tea production areas are located on the steep hillsides surrounding West Lake. The climate is mild, with constant mist and abundant rainfall. The loose soil and fertile land are perfect for tea tree growth. Eventually, other regions in Zhejiang also started growing the appropriate tea trees and producing Longjing tea.
Longjing tea has a pale green and clear color, with a flat and smooth appearance resembling flat nails, lotus hearts, and sparrow's tongues. It has an aroma like orchids, a bright green soup color, and a mellow and refreshing taste. Renowned tea connoisseurs of the Qing Dynasty praised Longjing tea as "sweet and fragrant like orchids, deep but not turbid, seemingly tasteless when sipped, but after drinking, the refreshing sensation lingers between the teeth and mouth. This is the taste of tastelessness, the ultimate flavor." The emerald green color, refined taste, and aroma of Longjing tea's infusion can be considered the classic flavor of Chinese green tea, distinctively richer in flavor compared to Chinese black tea and oolong tea.
Today, the quality of Longjing tea varies due to factors such as processing, production regions, and tea tree varieties. How can consumers purchase good Longjing tea? You can try iTeaworld's Green Tea Selection, which includes a Longjing Tea of high value for the price. The Longjing Tea is made by a tea maker with 30 years of experience. Additionally, you can taste five other classic Chinese green teas.
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When we savor a cup of Longjing tea, we are not only enjoying the refreshing and verdant tea infusion but also savoring the profound history and legends behind it. Let us cherish this classic heritage and continue to appreciate this gift from nature.