This year's top shelf Long Jing picked crazy early on the 19th March 2018.
This is China's most famous Green tea, absolutely revered for its rich yet refreshing flavour and the fragrance of lush spring grass. This tea was picked on March 19th 2018 making it a very early Pre Qing Ming tea.
Authentic Long Jing tea (otherwise known as Dragonwell) must be grown in Zhejiang province. If it is grown anywhere else then it is considered a fake (much like champagne). Every year we taste many samples of Long Jing to find our batch for the year. For the past couple of years, we have selected a tea from outside the West Lake area because we feel that it has a much higher quality compared with the West Lake tea.
Qing Ming is a traditional day for paying respects to ancestors and clearing their graves. It is a public holiday in China (and Taiwan) and falls on the first day of the fifth solar term which equates to fifteen days after the Spring Equinox which is usually the first week of April. Any tea picked before this date is very early Spring picked and is called Pre Qing Ming.
This is a Pre Qing Ming tea picked on the 19th March giving a lightness and delicacy combined with a powerful fragrance and taste. Any Pre Qing Ming tea from Xi Hu (West Lake) is exorbitantly expensive and whilst it is often excellent tea, we felt that this batch won out in terms of flavour and we are not paying the extra price tag for the name of Xi Hu.
Please note that you may find white yellow fur on the tea and little balls of fur in the tea. This is NOT mold but is tea fur showing that the tea is a very early spring tea - it demonstrates the quality of this Long Jing.
Watch as Celine and I try to pick out our 2016 Imperial Green from others. We thought that she got it wrong but an eagle eyed YouTube viewer pointed out that actually she got it right (follow the cups).