Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anodyne on Long Jing Tastings from TeaSpring

Lion Xi Hu Long Jing
Tribute Xi Hu Long Jing
Emperor Long Jing

I’ve just tasted three different 2007 Long Jing teas from TeaSpring. According to the website, the Lion Xi Hu Long Jing is made from leaves that are “from the second degree protected farms within the designated 168 sq km of Xi Hu area” in Hang Zhou, Zheijiang Province. It’s also referred to as “Lion Brand West Lake Dragonwell” or “Shi Pai Xi Hu Lung Ching.” It was harvested Spring 2007 (Ming Qian Cha). Compared to the Tribute Xi Hu Long Jing, the Lion Xi Hu has a deeper “bass” aroma in the dry leaf. It is just slightly more golden-yellow hued in the cup as well. When water hits the leaf, the sweet nutty aroma of the Lion Xi Hu comes up more quickly with more “bass” compared to the Tribute Xi Hu. The Lion Xi Hu has a very distinct citrus/grapefruit (yellow, not ruby red) tang in the tea’s finish. It has gone easily into two infusions so far with the grapefruity tang coming into the aftertaste quite distinctly. The citrus note is pleasant and even, perhaps, a bit distracting to me at the level it presents itself. It’s not just a taste but a sensation as well, and it does linger.

The Tribute (Gong) Xi Hu Long Jing comes from “leaves harvested from the first degree of Xi Hu protected area” in Zheijiang Province. It is designated as “A Grade” and is also referred to as “Gong Pai Xi Hu Lung Ching” or Long Jing. It was also harvested Spring 2007 (Ming Qian Cha). The dry leaf aromatics register slightly higher than the more “bass” notes in the Lion Xi Hu. Once water hits the leaf, the aroma is a bit slower to pull forward, but then it fills in. The tea liquor is just slightly more pale, a straw yellow-green. The “bass” notes of the Lion Xi Hu are more delicate in this Tribute Xi Hu, and it is a touch softer in the finish—more nutty and with less of the Lion Xi Hu’s more pronounced citrus/grapefruit tang. The second infusion (with more to come, I think) is even nuttier and quite smooth. With less of the grapefruity tang, I am able to focus more on the delicacy of this tea.

The Emperor Long Jing’s origin is “Xin Chang, Zheijiang Province” and is made with “very fine, early pre-Qing Ming (24 Feb 2007) tea leaves.” It is, perhaps, the most floral of the three as I brewed them today and quite smooth. The more aggressive citrus grapefruity tang of the Lion Xi Hu Long Jing is muted in the Emperor Long Jing, and the cup carries a vegetal-floral into the finish with just a slight “ting” of citrus rather than the more dominant “tang.” I am thinking here of the levels of sound the tuned wind chimes make (Woodstock or Stannard).

I found this Long Jing the most soothing and calming of the three. If the Lion Xi Hu zings you awake like bright morning sunshine flooding through the bedroom window, then the Emperor Long Jing is the soporific experience of watching a sunset.



Salsero said...


I have read most of your reviews here and on Teamail over the last eight months, all of which have both instructed and entertained me. They have been very helpful at guiding this newbie to a better understanding of tasting and describing tastes.

Comparing 3 LJs seems to me your most ambitious undertaking so far, and you have pulled it off elegantly, with a few bold strokes, the technique perfectly married to the subject.

Thanks for sharing your notes.

anodyne said...

...and thank you for your kind comments. This was a more difficult undertaking indeed. It's one thing to taste or smell subtle differences, but it can be very hard to find a way to articulate them. That is why I sometimes go off the beaten path. But tea will often suggest a visual to me...a, etc.

Julian said...

Hey, I am Julian from I really enjoy reading your posts!

I happen to have 3 Tribute dragon well tea on my site- would you be interested to review them?

Sorry, I have to post my comments here (please feel free to withdraw them) as I have not found other ways to get in touch with you.