Basic info about this special tea:
19th March 2018
Long Jing No.43
Xinchang, Zhejiang, China
PICKING & PROCESSING
Bud and one or two leaves
Temperature ( 83 degree Celsius)
Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 7 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds depending on the infusion)
The Number of Total Steepings: 6 infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Superbly green, some vegetal notes, white chocolate, raspberries, and hints of banana.
Aroma of Warm Dry Leaf: Spring berries, citrus cream, almost like a meringue pie.
Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
Texture Profile: Smoothe, no itchiness in the throat. Very comforting and warming.
Feeling/Aftertaste: I feel like this green tea speaks to me, my body is constantly reacting with the different notes and sometimes the sweetness can be felt on your tongue, sometimes on the back of your throat, and mostly on the sides of my cheeks.
Price: 22CAD /40 grams
Introducing this tea.
I first wanted to share some info on this tea provided by Don on his website for Imperial Green. This will explain some of the misconceptions a lot of people have when associating with Longjing.
“Authentic Longjing 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 Longjing 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.”
“This is a Pre Qingming tea picked on the 19th March giving a lightness and delicacy combined with a powerful fragrance and taste. Any Pre Qingming 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 Longjing.”
Now that we understand what really makes true Longjing green tea, let’s go into our tasting notes for every infusion. Notice how each infusion is different and how this contributes to the overall experience of tasting this green tea.
The first thing I noticed when I took my sip was how delicate yet full it is. In some poor quality Longjings, yes the tea is delicate and soft, but it doesn’t have the character and richness that a really good green tea or especially Longjings would carry. The first thing you smell would be grass, and perhaps some sweet minerality but not the full green pea, and white chocolate sort of richness that you can get from this Imperial Green. It is a really good tea from the start, and I want to mention this as well. Good tea will have character and it’s own unique system of revealing itself to you, but it will always make a good impression on you. It is like some people that take a job interview. In order for you to be hired, you have to make a very good first impression. This is the key. This tea has very special qualities of brightness and a very rich taste. The notes of early spring, the freshness in the air during spring. This is the first feeling I got. I got notes of ripe strawberry, peach and star fruit. The nuttiness is there, but not super obvious. I have to dig on and it seems to come later after the fruits and lasts at the tip of my tongue.
Less intense aroma, more broth and umami concentrated. However, still fresh, and keeps improving in the mouth. Surprisingly, I did feel some energy from this tea as well. The energy moved from the tip of my tongue to the shoulders and went down to my stomach. The tea will keep going.
On top of the minerality, there is a floral note. The one I am getting the most would have to be jasmine. Jasmine with white chocolate and lightly sprinkled hazelnuts would be the best description of what it tasted like on the third brew.
Fourth and Fifth Infusion
Very different from the rest of the infusions in that the cooling aspect is coming out. Real sensation in the throat, not minty but more like watermelon coolness. Honeydew can also be used as an example of what I am trying to describe. It isn’t a cooling sensation nearly as obvious as the ones from Tie Guan Yin’s, but rather fruity.
The sixth infusion.
Wow, the leaves are still fresh. Sweet spinach aroma floating from the gaiwan, and the tea still tastes good. In most cases, after the third or fourth brew, the tea is finished, but it is not the case for this tea. I can keep pushing and the result is still nice. Classic seaweed taste with a lingering zesty finish. Delicious.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
I would rate this tea a 9 out of 10 because it simply deserves the high ranking. The tea is clear, persistent and yet constantly evolving. It makes me appreciate and connect with the world, and just like any other good tea, it makes me feel good. Distinctively special Longjing. Very good tea overall. I think that this would be the second best Longjing I’ve ever tried.
Basic Info about this special Tea
From Qiandao Lake, Chun’an Country, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
Spring 2018, April 07th picking.
13.90 /50 grams.
C. sinensis cv. Jiukeng Varietal
Temperature (75 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel (Big Gaiwan 100ml)
Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)
Number of Total Steeps (8)
Aroma of Dry Leaves (sweet corn, nuts, and a little bit of casis or citrus.)
Aroma of Wet Leaves ( fresh grass, boiled vegitables )
Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
Feeling/ Aftertaste ( bitter with some sweetness.)
Attitude Rank: 6 out of 10.
My first impression about this tea was very decent, as the leaves are pretty green and leaves were unbroken. However, we cannot judge the tea by the appearance, as the taste is the most important. I did see some white furry spots on the tea which was a good sign, showing that the tea leaves are not too old. The tea is not pre-qingming which is an important thing to notice especially for Longjing, but let’s not put assumptions. The dry leaves had a very pleasant roasted aroma, which is good. We will see what we can pull out from the taste.
The first infusion is the most important for green tea, as it shows everything. The number one strength I have to put out fo this tea was the aftertaste, as it is very pungent. I felt the tea lingering inside my mouth for around 15 min, which is impressive. The leaves are of quality for sure. The taste of the first infusion is eggy, and very vegital. Notes of broccoli, asparagus, and cooked beans are strong. The important note of chestnuts or very fresh peas are missing, which isn’t a bad thing but better with for Longjing. This is not a pre-qingming so it is understandable, as the price is probably double or triple the original price of this.
The second infusion was similar, except more of the floral notes came in, and tasted much like a Japanese steamed green tea. The oceanic aroma and taste of umami did remind me of Japanese sencha. Thick and rich sweetness in the brew, but also very persistent bitterness. I am using 75 degree water, so I don’t think that is the problem. Very crisp at the throat, almost drying.
The third infusion was much like a continuation of the second infusion, as there was nothing really happening. The thick body and rich aftertaste is persistent. The taste maybe similar to a Anhui green or Zisun.
In conclusion, the tea is a good green tea, but not a good Longjing. I am being as honest as I am able to, and by no means is the tea bad. But, as a tea reviewer, I do believe I have to be fair and without bias to companies and to the teas. This organic Longjing does have a certification on it, and you can view it here. Great green tea however, especially if your looking for a good tasting organic green tea and don’t want to spend too much on it. In a Longjing, I am looking for a spicific aroma of chestnuts and a roasted aroma.
Teavivre, more reviews are coming soon. Stay tuned.