Longjing tea also called Xihu Longjing tea is native to a village called Longjing that is located in the southwest of West Lake (Xihu), a famous scenic spot in Hangzhou City of Zhejiang Province.
In English-speaking countries, Longjing tea is called Dragon Well tea because the meaning of “Longjing” is “Dragon Well”.
Like West Lake, Longjing tea is a perfect combination of human, nature and culture, and an important carrier of West Lake regional culture.
1. History of Longjing tea
Longjing tea has a history of 1,200 years through five dynasties. In the historical evolution of the 1,200 years, Longjing tea has changed from unknown to famous, from ordinary people’s daily drink to the tribute of the emperors and generals, from famous tea of Chinese nation to the famous product of the world.
The earliest record of Longjing tea can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). It is recorded in the famous tea book called <The Classic of Tea>, written by Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea.
As early as in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD), Longjing tea area had initially formed. At that time, Su Shi, Chinese calligrapher, painter, and poet, wrote poems to praise Longjing tea.
In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 AD), Hangzhou City became the capital of the country, and the tea industry developed further.
In the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368), the quality of Longjing tea was further improved. Many tea lovers came to Hangzhou City to taste Longjing tea.
In the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644), Longjing tea became famous and it is gradually spread. Some tea experts recorded Longjing tea as a famous tea in their tea books.
In the Qing Dynasty (AD 1636-1912), the Qianlong Emperor conferred the title “Imperial Tea” on Longjing tea. Since then, Longjing tea became more famous and is known by most people.
After the founding of New China, the state actively supported the development of Longjing tea, and it was listed as a national diplomatic gift tea.
In 2011, “Xihu Longjing” was registered successfully as a National Geographical Indication Product of China.
2. Growth environment of Longjing tea
Longjing tea trees are planted in the mountains beside the West Lake in Hangzhou City. The climate here is mild, with abundant rainfall and diffuse light. The soil is slightly acid, with good drainage. The trees are luxuriant, and the streams beside the trees run and flow.
The annual average temperature is 16℃, and the annual precipitation is about 1500mm. These superior natural conditions are conducive to the growth and development of tea trees.
The tea buds keep germinating and the harvesting time is long. The tea leaves can be picked about 30 times per year, which is the most times of picking than that of other teas.
3. Production process of Longjing tea leaves
- Picking: there are three main standards for picking Longjing tea leaves: picking leaves early, picking tender tea leaves, and picking leaves diligently.
- Drying: air Longjing tea leaves in the shadow to evaporate the water of the fresh leaves.
- Classifying: classify them by the size and quality of the leaves.
- Rolling: knead them into a needed shape.
- Stir-frying: this step includes other 10 methods and 3 processes.
This is just a rough process. High-quality Longjing tea should be produced through many complex processes.
4. Grade standard of Longjing tea
The quality of Longjing tea can be divided into five grades.
- Special Grade: made from one bud with one leaf. The length of the bud and leaves does not exceed 2.5cm.
- First Grade: made from one bud with one leaf or two leaves. The proportion of one bud with two leaves is less than 10%. The length of the bud and leaves does not exceed 3.0cm.
- Second Grade: made from one bud with one leaf or two leaves. The proportion of one bud with two leaves is less than 30%. The length of the bud and leaves does not exceed 3.5cm.
- Third Grade: made from one bud with two leaves and three leaves. The proportion of one bud with three leaves is less than 30%. The length of the bud and leaves does not exceed 4.0cm.
- Fourth Grade: made from one bud with two leaves and three leaves. The proportion of one bud with three leaves is less than 50%. The length of the bud and leaves does not exceed 4.5cm.
In conclusion, the more the proportion of one bud with one leaf and the shorter the length of it, the more tender the tea is and the higher the quality of it is.
5. Health benefits of Longjing tea
One of the reasons Longjing tea is honored with “The Queen of Green Tea” is it contains more nutrients than other teas. Here are the benefits of Longjing tea:
Theophylline in Longjing tea has diuretic effect and can be used to treat edema disease.
Caffeine in Longjing tea can excite the central nervous system and help people to lift up their spirits, enhance their thinking, eliminate fatigue and improve their work efficiency.
Tea polyphenols and tannins in Longjing tea act on bacteria, coagulate bacterial proteins and kill them. If the mouth is inflamed, festering and the throat is sore, you can drink Longjing tea to treat it.
Tea polyphenols in Longjing tea can effectively remove the excess free radicals and prevent the peroxidation of fatty acids.
Treating halitosis (bad breath)
The food residue in the mouth produces methyl mercaptan compound under the action of enzyme to produce odor. Longjing tea can inhibit the activity of this enzyme and play a role in eliminating halitosis.
Longjing tea contains fluorine, which has a great affinity with the calcium of teeth. It can become a kind of “fluorapatite” that is difficult to dissolve in acid, just like adding a protective layer to teeth, which improves the ability of anti-acid and anti-caries of teeth.
Tea polyphenols and vitamin C in Longjing tea have the function of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis to prevent arteriosclerosis.
Treating night blindness and dry eye
There is a certain amount of vitamin A in Longjing tea, and the eye-protecting effect of Longjing tea is closely related to vitamin A.
6. Precaution of drinking Longjing tea
- Pregnant women should not drink Longjing tea.
- Women should not drink Longjing tea during lactation. Caffeine will enter the milk, and children will be excited indirectly after sucking milk, which is easy to cause less sleep and more crying.
- People with a fever should not drink Longjing tea. Caffeine in tea can not only raise the body temperature, but also reduce the efficacy of drugs.
- Patients with liver diseases should not drink Longjing tea. Most of the caffeine and other substances in tea are metabolized by the liver. If people have liver disease, drinking too much tea may damage the liver tissue.