Longjing Tea Harvesting Time

Longjing Tea Harvesting Time

For Chinese tea enthusiasts, the seasonal picking of teas, especially Longjing, is essential knowledge. The timing of the harvest greatly influences the tea’s quality and flavor.

Ming Qian Long Jing: The Early Harvest

Ming Qian Long Jing, harvested around the Qingming Festival (usually March 20 to April 5), is a product of ancient Chinese agricultural wisdom.
Like Longjing #43, this early spring tea is picked when the buds are young and tender, rich in aroma and flavor.
However, the bud count is limited and growth slow due to lower temperatures before Qingming, making this tea rare and valuable.
But remember, this timeline can shift based on the year’s weather. For instance, a cooler spring in 2017 delayed picking by about 10 days, reducing the quantity and increasing the price of Mingqian tea.
Mingqian Longjing is known for its light flavor and aroma, but a strong, sweet aftertaste offers subtle complexity.

Longjing Tea Before Rain: Yu Qian Tea

Picked before the Gu Yu Festival (around April 5 to April 20), Yu Qian Longjing comes from slightly older buds.
Though not as tender as Mingqian tea, it’s richer in flavor. It withstands steeping well, thanks to higher temperatures and faster bud growth. While less delicate than Mingqian, Yu Qian tea is still highly prized.
Both these early spring harvests allow the tea trees to rest during summer and fall, ensuring each harvest is balanced in taste, free from bitterness, and not overly dry.

Pre-Ming Vs Pre-Rain: A Comparison

Early-picked teas like Ming Qian are more yellow, with a silvery fuzz and smaller leaves.
Later harvests have less fuzz and show a yellowish-green color with darker shades.
Different picking times lead to color, aroma, and taste variations, affecting the price point.