Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lonjing Dragon Well tea

The Longjing (aka Lung Ching)is a famous green tea from China that received the 1988 gold medal from the Institute of Quality Selection. At the present time I'm trying to get tea of differing  grades and locations for a project of mine and this Longjing has been in my radar for a while. I finally got a few grams at my local teashop.

Must say that I had some high expectations for this one. Among these, was to get a high grade alternative to Japanese sencha. Had to be tasty and not too expensive. It passed latter requirement with 100g@$17. I was underwhelmed with the former: it was too difficult to get anything out of it. Here's what happened on the first go.

3 minutes: almost transparent; tasteless
4 minutes: same aspect; still tasteless
5 minutes: some pale color now; still a long way to go
7 minutes: greenish golden liquor; faint flavor
10 minutes: marginally more intense; about the same taste
15 minutes: Oh, I give up. It is not giving anything more.

I know, I know, these are unusual steeping times for green, but I had to know if something would turn up in the end. One can get more from regular white tea on a quick steep than from this one. On the positive side it never turned bitter.

Now, really; I was half-jesting in the last paragraphs. Subsequent trials were more successful by adding more initial leaf: this compensated the faintness enough to yield a pleasurable brew. Since this is my first time with this tea, I do not know if it should be this way. Maybe I got a bad batch or something. I got the very last couple of ounces from the big tin at the shop and even the owner asked me if I was sure to take it all. "Sure! Pile it on!"

When properly prepared I find something buttery about it. As with the rest of the Chinese greens that I've tasted, this one stays well-behaved and rounded. Another plus is its non-grassiness.

So, pending an alternative source, I'd say skip this one in favor of other alternatives and come back to it later.


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