Our Pre-Qing Ming Longjing Meijiawu Village tea is, we think, quite spectacular without being in the stratosphere price-wise the way that many premium Longjing teas are in China. This was a very ‘normal’ winter and spring in Zhejiang Province where this tea is made. From tasting the tea this year we have realized that the weather – with its more abundant rainfall this winter- has once again in 2021 allowed for the character of the tea to return to the ‘sweeter’ style that is more traditional for this tea. Additionally, Tea Trekker’s 2021 Meijiawu Village Longjing has a rich complexity of flavor that is partially due to the cool and dry early spring that helped to ‘set’ the flavor in the emerging leaf. This year’s harvest is even better than the most recent two/three past seasons’ (and those were very good!). The tea is rich and mouth-filling, with just enough heartiness to satisfy without feeling ‘heavy’ on the palate the way some pan-fired green teas can be.
The leaf is a bit more slender and more elegant in look again this year than in years past. It is a beautiful pluck. And, the tea has more of both the classic ‘pan-fired tea’ flavor and more lush, buttery-ness in the cup than a Longjing often has. It is also heavier by weight, so a slightly smaller volume measure may suffice to scoop the usual 3 grams used per 6 oz of water. It re-steeps well and should be an easy-to-use tea after the first pot or two have been steeped, due to easy familiarity with the leaf.
Early spring days of lengthening daylight and cool weather is a terrific combination for yielding delicious tea that is full of fresh vitality and flavor. Our tea was made on the 26th of March, one day earlier than last year, and just prior to Qing Ming, when plucking began in earnest in the Meijiawu tea-harvesting area this spring. The tea was then air-shipped to us as soon as transport could be arranged in this quirky pandemic year, likely still needing to pass the ‘Beagle Test’ more than once!
Tea Trekker’s Longjing Meijiawu Village tea has the classic flavor profile that we look for in our premium green teas. This year we find the toasty, nutty, biscuit-y, chestnut-y, sweet Longjing flavor, and this season there is the perfectly appropriate toastiness in the leaf and buttery-ness in the mouthfeel.
This batch of Pre-Qing Ming Longjing Meijiawu Village tea delivers more flavor than usual, something that tea enthusiasts who sometimes find that PQM Longjing is too light in taste will appreciate. The aroma is soft and sweet and has those elusive fresh green bean / vegetal notes that make this tea instantly recognizable as Longjing Meijiawu Village tea. This year’s tea has a slight nuttiness that only shows in a ‘vintage’ year.
Longjing is one of China’s ‘Famous Teas’, which are the most sought after of the Chinese Pre-Qing Ming green teas.
Why? Because in addition to demand for these teas from the West, demand is increasing in China from its newly affluent domestic middle class. Yes, many adult Chinese are only now discovering the scope of China’s famous teas and various aspects of their unique tea culture. As crazy as this sounds, Chinese tea drinkers are now competing with everyone else for their own tea, and this is creating pricing pressure on seasonal teas that are already only produced in limited quantities.
We believe that our tea enthusiast customers will find this tea very pleasing. Pre-Qing Ming Longjing teas are generally light and delicate in flavor (sometimes ‘ethereal’ in nature) and fragrant and sweet. Chinese tea drinkers appreciate the subtle delicacy of such tender young leaves – Pre-Qing Ming teas are only made in a short window of a few weeks’ time and the unique sweetness that they possess is found only in these early-season teas. This year’s 2021 Meijiawu Longjing is among the heartiest that we have seen in some years, due to the more bountiful rainfall in the winter followed by dry and glorious weather in the tea gardens the past few months.
Tea Trekker is selling this tea in our usual weighed-to-order 2, 4, 8 and 16 ounce quantities and also in the traditional 250 gram (8.8 oz) paper parcel that is factory-packed and stamped with an authenticity seal, year stamp and date-of-harvest stamp. (NOTE: some years we have had a 500 gram paper pack, so this year’s is half that size) The tea that we have is all from the same batch and from the same single tea farm no matter how you purchase it – we requested some of these factory-marked packages for customers who would like to purchase this tea in its original pack. This package, which is for the domestic China tea market, is shown in the photos. We will not receive any more of this tea – all we will have for the year is in-house now.
We have been able to hold the price this year to be the same as last year – which is quite remarkable given the increase in demand from the domestic Chinese market.
The origin of authentic Longjing is the West Lake (Xi Hu region) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Longjing is a protected tea (protected against counterfeit ‘Longjing’ made somewhere else in China, or anywhere) and can only legimately come from one of the places located within the National Designated Protected Zone. Our Longjing is ‘authentic Longjing’ which means that the tea is made from Longjing #43 tea bushes.
This zone is a scant 168 kilometers in area, and all Longjing tea manufactured there is sold under the name of the region or village in which the tea was plucked. The original production zones were named Lion, Dragon, Cloud ( Meijiawu Village), Tiger, and Plum. Today, the names have changed, but the most important harvesting areas for production of authentic Longjing in the Xi Hu region are the same: Shi-feng Shan; Longjing Village; Meijiawu Village; Weng-jia Shan
This year we again had the opportunity to source Longjing from 3 of the 4 authentic tea harvesting areas: Shi Feng, Meijiawu Village and Weng-jia Shan.
Being able to taste these three choice Longjings in a comparative tasting is a rare opportunity for those who are interested in tasting the effects of terroir. Or in this case, the subtle difference / similarity of same-name products made from different farms using the same tea-making techniques within the same region.
Because of the effects of terroir on the final characteristics of tea grown within the region, this tea is similar to but different than the Shi Feng and the Weng-jia Shan Longjings. All have a similar appearance – some are greener, some have a slightly more elongated leaf and bud plucks, some have a bit more early spring ‘down’ on the leaf, etc – and the flavors are similar but different, too.
These differences are small, not big; they are subtle, not overblown. It is a matter of degree in the sweetness and toastiness, and the amount of mouthfeel, intensity of flavor and the length and strength of the finish. These Longjings present the tea drinker with lovely variations on an elegant theme.
Like a Bordeaux wine tasting, one can conduct a tea tasting of our 2021 Longjing teas and happily ruminate on the results with a group of like-minded tea enthusiasts.
Do not dally in placing your order – our supplies are extremely limited for this Pre-Qing Ming Longjing, because once the tea farmers sell out of it in China it is not possible to obtain more.
Pre-Qing Ming teas are the first teas plucked each new spring season. Depending on the location and altitude in each tea producing region, leaf plucking can begin as early as the middle week of March and continue until April 5th.
Pre-Qing Ming teas command the highest prices because the demand for these teas outpaces the supply each year.
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