Last Sunday, tea master Teaparker introduced us to the Mainland's popular Long Jin tea.
- The original Long Jin comes from Hsi-Hu, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. There are 5 locations in Hsi-Hu producing Jin-Pin (top quality) Long Jin. One of them is Shi Feng.
- The harvest season lasts 1 to 2 months.
- The most expensive Long Jin is picked before Qing Min Jie (pronounce Tching Min Jiey), the tomb sweeping festival (the equivalent of Christians' November 1st). That's when the tea buds are smallest. 1001 Plateaux has a video of how Long Jin is picked. You'll notice they only go for the small buds.
- The price difference (in China) between a Long Jin (or even Bi Lo Chun) picked before and after the festival is roughly 3 to 1!
- Because this tea commands high prices, even in China, there are countless fakes from other regions.
- Real Long Jin is fried without gloves. The one in this second video is fake then. If it is performed by a beautiful girl on a tourist street, then it is fake too.
- Count 500 USD for a pound (500 gr) of top pre festival Long Jin this year in China. If you pay less, you're sure you don't get the real stuff. But if you pay more, you're not sure either!
- For beginners like me, best is to start with post Qing Min festival Long Jin. This is what we had Sunday, and it was already good enough to make me 'drunk'!
- Good Long Jin has no hair floating in the glass. But good Bi Lo Chun has lots of hair.
As for the experiment, we used a glass, 2 gaibeis and a tea taster to prepare our Long Jin.
- The best way to brew remains the gaibei. Glass has the advantage of letting you see the tea leaves, but their color then fades.
- The worst result was with an tea taster used for oolong competitions. The tea was overcooked.
- Against all modern recommendations, teamaster Teaparker says to use water that just boiled to prepare Long Jin (or Bi Lo Chun) tea. He referred to Lu Yu who said that the wrong water or the wromg temperature can ruin a good tea. He also referred to scientific research that found that between 80 degrees and 100 degrees Celcius, the amount of substance released by tea leaves increases by 100%. In other words, the higher the temperature, the more taste you get out of your tea. Not necessarily only good tastes, though. Bitterness is more likely to come out at high temperature. But good teas are supposed to taste just good and not turn bitter. So, for high quality teas, you have to use 100 degrees. If your tea can't stand the heat, maybe he's not so high in quality... (which explains why retailers and the entire world continue to say that you have to use 80 degrees warm water on green tea). However, since green tea is more fragile than oolong, for instance, you have to pour the hot water carefully on the gaibei's wall, not on the leaves directly.