Longjing tea is a staple when it comes to Chinese green teas. Known for its nuttier profile and smooth taste, it presents a different side of the flavor spectrum when compared to Japanese green teas like Sencha or Gyokuro. Panned-roasted by hand and lighter in color with yellows and sun-lit greens, it’s visually recognized by its flat leaf shape. More in-depth information can be found in my recent Foundations: A look into Longjing blog post. For this tasting I dive into a 2019 Longjing sourced by UNYtea.
Season: Spring 2019
Cultivar: Longjing #43
Origin: Wengjiashan, Hangzhou, China
Picking/Processing: Bud + 1-2 leaves/withering, shaqing, drying
Elevation: 176 m
I am always pleased when the white fuzz from the tea processing makes its way into the finished product! It showcases a general timeline of harvest, telling me it’s spring-picked as well as provides a nice body to the Longjing.
The dry leaves held light downy fuzz that complimented the sunlit greens and yellows similar to a pistachio. Aromas from my warmed gaiwan presented nutty heat and bean sprouts. It was not until a brief rinse that I really smelled the vegetal aspects as asparagus hit my nose. Choosing to brew this tea at 85 °C (185 °F), I filled the gaiwan halfway for 20 sec. before filling entirely for another 20 sec. To me, this brewing method created an added crispness and clarity to the tea and maintained a stable temperature during the longer brewing time. I added an additional + 5 sec. to the second half time for each infusion after the first. Here are brief profiles I experienced throughout the life of this tea.
First Infusion: Light and clean as a freshwater spring with a pine nut creaminess
Second Infusion: Steamed beansprouts building into a sweet and salty peanut profile
Third Infusion: Chestnut puree and raw spinach with wheatgrass notes
Forth Infusion: buttered asparagus and roasted pine nut settle into sweet and clean minerality
Later Infusions: Subtleties in flavors hovered until the 7th infusion grew too light for my taste. For a Longjing, I was quite happy with the longevity and the introduction of 95 °C in the sixth infusion reinvigorated the experience until the end.
I believe this particular Longjing is a great standard to represent the Longjing #43 Cultivar, revealing a pleasing balance of warm nuts, cream, and fresh vegetation – sure to please and surprise anyone not familiar with Chinese green teas. Jeff from UNYtea has taken great care in sourcing this tea and it shows. I plan to use this tea in a future Longjing comparison to see just how different this tea can vary from producer to producer. If you’re interested in picking up this tea to taste for yourself, you can find it at UNYTea: Longjing 2019 . I’d love to hear your thoughts!