How is Longjing tea made?

How is Longjing tea made?

Longjing tea is made through a meticulous process that preserves its unique flavor and flat appearance:

  1. Harvesting: The best Longjing tea is harvested in early spring, before the Qingming Festival. Only the tenderest buds and leaves are picked.

  2. Wilting: Freshly picked leaves are spread out to wilt slightly, reducing moisture content and making them more pliable for shaping.

  3. Pan-firing: The crucial step in making Longjing tea involves pan-firing the leaves in a large wok. This is done to stop the oxidation process. The tea master must constantly stir and press the leaves against the hot wok with bare hands, a technique that requires skill and experience. The temperature and timing are critical to achieving the desired dryness and flat shape.

  4. Shaping: During the pan-firing, the leaves are also shaped into their characteristic flat and smooth appearance. The motion used is a unique combination of pressing, sliding, and tossing to ensure even heating and prevent over-cooking.

  5. Drying: After reaching the desired level of dryness and shape, the leaves are further dried to remove any remaining moisture, ensuring the tea's longevity and flavor preservation.

The entire process is highly labor-intensive and requires precision and skill, contributing to Longjing tea's status as one of China's most revered teas. The result is a green tea with a vibrant color, a rich aroma, and a clean, sweet flavor with a hint of chestnut.