Long Jing, Bamboo Leaf, and Spirit Tea of the Three Gorges

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Long Jing, Bamboo Leaf, and Spirit Tea of the Three Gorges

Confucius Teahouse

Confucius Teahouse

During my trip to Beijing in 2012 I fell in love with Chinese tea culture. I had long understood the health benefits of green, oolong, and puerrh, but I had not experienced the ceremony nor the quality of tea until that trip. Unfortunately I was not as tech savvy so I do not have video of the ceremonies or many pictures, but my favorite teahouse was the Confucious Teahouse across the street from the ancient Confucius Temple in Beijing. The teahouse is also next door to a vegetarian Buddhist restaurant that is still one of my favorite restaurants in China.

On this trip my experience of Chinese tea deepened as I discovered a few other jewels:

Teahouse in Suzhou

Long Jing tea at teahouse in Suzhou.

West Lake Long Jing Tea 西湖龙井茶

I prefer the ceremony and fragrance of oolong tea, but I was still enamored with the fresh green tea Hangzhou is famous for. West Lake is a scenic area in Hangzhou and West Lake tea is traditionally served in clear glass so that one can appreciate the beauty of the unfurling leaves.

Chinese people prefer green tea (70% of tea produced in China is green tea). Of all the teas it is the most cooling (anti-inflammatory) and cleansing. Green tea is the least processed form of tea and is best fresh. Perhaps this why green tea was not popular in export markets until modern times.

Long Jing tea fields

Long Jing tea fields ready for harvest at the China Tea Museum in Hangzhou.

Long Jing (Dragon Well) tea is perhaps the most popular type of green tea in China. Hangzhou attracts tourists from all over China in May to drink and buy the fresh Spring harvest. Chinese tea is divided into several types and subtypes. There are the basic tea categories: green, white, yellow, oolong (wu long), red, and black. These are further divided by tea plant varietal, region grown, and processing which affect the taste, health benefits, etc. of the tea. Long Jing is green tea grown on tea plants in Hangzhou and surrounding areas and processed the local way.

Zhu Ye Qing

Zhu Ye Qing tea

Zhu Ye Qing Tea 竹叶青茶

It is grown in Sichuan Province. Literally “bamboo leaf green” tea, this green tea has a distinct astringency and bamboo-like freshness. Zhu Ye Qing is currently popular in China for its health benefits, particularly in promoting heart health.

We Shan Spirit tea

Wu Shan Spirit tea

Wu Shan Spirit Tea 巫山神茶

Judith and I happened upon this tea in Fengdu Ghost City. Sweet iced tea was being sold as the symbol of the mythological forgetting tea souls would drink before crossing the bridge into the underworld. Later, when we visited with the local Wu Shan people (people of Mt. Wu), a minority ethnic group also called the Tujia people, we learned that this is their daily tea. It has the color of a Wuyi Rock oolong tea, but is very delicate with a sweet honey fragrance and taste. Our guide pointed to the old tea trees growing at the top of the mountains where the tea came from. She carried around a glass thermos with tea, as many Chinese do. Our guide, like many others, had been displaced from her ancestral home along the Yangtze River with the building of the Three Gorges Dam.

Wu Shan People

Mountains where old tea trees that produce Wu Shan Spirit tea grow.

Wu Shan Shen Cha

Sarah, our Wu Shan guide holding Wu Shan Spirit tea.

Sarah, our Wu Shan guide, knew and used over 200 Chinese herbs, brewed her own corn wine with herbs, and does tours up the mountains. She also speaks English and has a good sense of humor. I recommend her if you are in the 3 Gorges area. Her email is 15213545120[at]163.com. Please tell her I sent you.

Wu Shan Shen Cha Fengdu

Fengdu forgetting tea

Translation:

center: 孟凉婆茶, mèng liáng pó chá,
bottom: 源自 秘傳 古方, yuánzì mìchuán gǔfāng, “from an ancient family recipe”
left: 清涑饮品, qīng Sù yǐnpǐn, “fresh Yangtze River drink”
right: 四季皆宜, sìjì jiē yí, “appropriate for all seasons”

By | 2017-12-03T23:54:52+00:00 May 16th, 2015|China Trip 2015, Chinese Herbs, Recipes|Comments Off on Long Jing, Bamboo Leaf, and Spirit Tea of the Three Gorges

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