Hangzhou longjing tea

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Longjing Tea is one of China's best teas and is one reason for Hangzhou's international fame. The tea is grown in the Longjing mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of the West Lake. The flat and smooth tea leaves (resembling pine needles with a yellow to dark green color) brew a tea with light to dark green color, a fragrant scent, and a refreshing taste. So, to some extent, it is the most famous among the chinese tea.
longjing tea can be bought throughout Hangzhou, but the best place to buy Longjing Tea is the Longjing ("Dragon Well") area of Hangzhou. The tea there is said to be the best Longjing available. Alternatively, the tea can be purchased around other Hangzhou attractions, but the quality of the tea might not be as good.
The Hangzhou Longjing Tea Store is another good place to purchase Longjing Tea, but watch out for slightly high prices. On the other hand, quality should be better than buying from hawkers on the street.
Longjing is divided into seven grades: Superior, Special, and then 1 down to 5. Infused leaves are a good indicator of quality, which is characterized by maturity and uniformity of the shoots harvested for processing. High quality Longjing teas produce tender, whole leaves that are uniform in appearance. Lower quality varieties may vary in color from bluish to deep green after steeping. Before infusion, higher quality Longjing teas have a very tight, flat shape and light green color. A study by Wang and Ruan (2009) found that one aspect of the perceived low quality of Longjing teas was a higher concentration of chlorophyll, producing a darker green color. The study revealed that free amino acids and theanine concentrations contribute positively to what is perceived as a good taste.

There is another legend connecting Emperor Qianlong to Longjing Tea. It is said that while visiting the temple he was watching the ladies picking the tea. He was so enamored with their movements that he decided to try it himself. While picking tea he received a message that his mother, the Empress Dowager, was ill and wished his immediate return to Beijing. He shoved the leaves he had picked into his sleeve and immediately left for Beijing. Upon his return he immediately went to visit his mother. She noticed the smell of the leaves coming from his sleeves and he immediately had it brewed for her. It is said that the shape of Longjing Tea was designed to mimic the appearance of the flattened leaves that the emperor brewed for his mother.

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