HangZhou was known in the ancient times as WuLin. The West Lake of HangZhou faces the city in the east and is encircled by mountains on the other three sides. The western, southern, and northern mountains are called Mt.WuLin as a whole. Between the lake and the mountains are many famous historic and cultural sites. The most famous are the ten views of the West Lake, namely the Melting Snow at the Broken Bridge, Autumn Moon ove the Calm Lake, Lotus in the Breeze at the Crooked Courtyard, Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds, Viewing Fish at the Flower Harbor, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Evening Bell at the Nanping Hill, Sunset Glow at LeiFeng Pagoda, and Orioles Singing in the Willows.
LongJing is the name of a well, a temple, a village, and also a tea. The West Lake LongJing Tea is hailed the No.1 Tea in the world thanks to the unique growing environment around the West Lake and the early painstaking cultivation by the monks of several temples in the areas, including the Guangfu Monastery, LingYin Temple, TianZhu Temple, JingCi Temple, TaoGuang Temple, and DaoPu Monastery. Su DongPo, the famous poet in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), once wrote a poem to praise the beauty of the West Lake LongJing tea. He likened the tea to the top Chinese beauty Xi Shi and regarded both as unprecedented and unrepeatable.
The Longjing tea is produced mainly in Mt.ShiFeng, MeiJiaWu, Mt.Wengjia, YunQi, HuPao, and LingYin. In the song Dynasty (960-1279), Zen master BianCai took the lead to plant tea in Mt.ShiFeng. He often held tea party with famous poets Su DongPo and Qin Guan. They enjoyed tea and chanted poems together, hence the entry of the name of the LongJing Tea into poems. Today, the LongJing Tea from Mt.ShiFeng is still regarded as the best. Zen master Bian Cai is also repectfully called the Forefather of the LongJing Tea.
The LongJing Tea produced in Mt.Shifeng is known as S-LongJing. There are also L-Longjing, Y-LongJing, H-Longjing, and M-LongJing. L-LongJing is produced in Mt.Wengjia, Mt.Yangmei, Mt.Manjue, and Mt.BaiHe, which are called the Four Rock-shed Mountains by the locals. Y-Longjing is produced in YunQi, Mt.WuYun, and west of Mt.LangDang. H-LongJing was produced in HuPao, SiYanjing, Chishanbu, and Mt.Santai. Later, the teas produced in FaYunNong, BaiLeQiao, YuQuan, JinShaGang, MaoJiaBu and HuangLongDong are also classfied as H-LongJing. M-LongJing is produced in the area around MeiJiaWu.
Picking of LongJing Tea focues on three elements,namely Early-Picking, Picking of Tender Leaves, and Thorough Picking. The tea picked before the QingMing Festival, or Pure-Brightness, one of the 24 solar term in Chinese lunar calendar, has the best quality and is called Pre-PB tea.Grain Rain, another solar term, has a good quality and is called Pre-GR tea. Picking of Tender Leaves refers to the picking of the tender and complete tea buds and leaves, usually one bud with one leaf or one bud with two fresh leaves.Thorough Picking refers to the quantity of the picked tea leaves. Each kilogram of dry tea contains 70,000 to 80,000 fresh tender tea buds and leaves.
The LongJing Tea has been known for its green leaves, rich aroma, sweet taste, and beautiful shape. Normally, the quality of the LongJing Tea is judged one 5 aspects, namely appearance, aroma, taste, soup color, and brewed leaves. The best-quality tea has a flat and smooth appearance, tapering leaves, an even and neat contour, and a fresh green color. The good-qulity LongJing Tea has a pure and fresh aroma that lasts long. Its taste is in direct proportion to its aroma.The tea leaves with good aroma usually have good taste. The fresh sweet taste is the best. Tea soup is judged on its tone, brightness, and clearness. The clear and bright tea soup is the best. The high-quality LongJing Tea has tender, complete, green, and bright brewed leaves that are in even sizes.