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From The Archives | For ULTRA Tea Nerds :P
For ultra tea nerds only:
The original varietals of Longjing, Dragonwell, were just called ‘traditional small leaf guanmu’. Grown from seed, they grow in puffy clusters like the photo below. These varietals sprout a bit late and have fewer buds, and slower in regrowing new buds. However, it has much more complexity on the palate, and long lingering aftertaste with absolutely no bitterness no matter how long you steep it with boiling water.
# 43 varietal was an ‘improved varietal’ from the research institute, and grows early after the winter, sprouts repeatedly and fast, and offers lots of buds. The trouble is, it tastes thin with a slight bitter edge. But if you were a garden owner out to make mega bucks (recent auction 20,000 RMB a Jin of Dragonwell, about $4,000USD a lb.), which would you plant? Why, #43 of course, everywhere up and down the Westlake area! Consumers and even professionals may not tell the difference.
But what would we choose? Not only the traditional no name varietal grown from seed; it must also be from the best of the five mountains, Lion’s Peak. Not only location specific and varietal specific, the lot have to have been pre-rain, harvested between April 1,2, and 3rd. Date specific, then made completely by hand.
Watch out, we will only have a few kgs of this, perhaps only us tea nerds would appreciate.
- April 11 2012