Shi Feng Long Jing by Adagio's new MastersTeas.com
Dragonwell is venerated because of its “four uniques” which are: color like pale green jade, light vegetal aroma, mellow flavor, and elegantly-shaped leaves. The top tiers among this legendary tea have rarely been accessible to Westerners until now with our Shi Feng (Lion’s Peak) Long Jing.
THE LEGEND OF LONG JING
A Taoist story, one of many legends, begins with a dragon (the good kind) who lived in Hangzhou near the famed Dragon’s Well. It was a difficult time for tea farmers. Their land was wasting away from a drought. Their tea bushes were dying. The farmers gathered to decide their fate when someone suggested praying fervently to the good dragon to bring back the rushing life of water to the dried out spring. Moments later, the sky was filled with menacing gray clouds followed by heavy torrents of rain that poured for hours filling up the previously empty spring and overflowing onto the farms surrounding it.
Slowly over the next few days, the dry dusty dirt of the farms soaked up the much-needed rainwater and the tea bushes sprouted again with lush green leaves. Not only did the farms flourish, the teas became legendary for their quality and their flavor. In gratitude to the good dragon, the teas were re-named Long Jing. The dragon lived happily ever after, the teas continued to grow, and all prospered.
ALL ABOUT SHI FENG
Shi Feng is a premier type of Long Jing grown on the Lion’s Peak Mountain at approximately 300 meters in the area that surrounds the West Lake in Zhejiang Province. Our selection comes from tea bushes several generations old that are harvested and processed in the traditional way by Master Farmer Guo Ya Ling, a native of Hangzhou.
Plucking begins before the Qing Ming Festival on April 5th, and all of the work is done by hand taking care to harvest only the “bird’s beak,” a bud between two leaves. The processing begins with naturally withering the leaves for a few hours before the first of three firings to set the leaves. The tea masters move the tea leaves around the wok with their hands to insure even distribution of heat. This results in a color that is even and a flavor in the cup that is sweet and delicate. At first, only a modest 150 grams of tea leaves are fired, then more leaves are added during the next two firings.
The leaves rest several hours in between firings which enables the tea masters to hand-shape them into their signature flat long style as the residual moisture in the leaves evaporates. On the final round, the tea leaves contain barely 5-6% moisture yet the both the light green color and the elegant shape are sustained.
BREWING AND SAVORING
In the cup, the liquor is a light yellow-green color that belies the ability of the leaves to offer multiple infusions. Shi Feng’s complexity titillates our senses: the scent of apricot blooms blushing in spring, the sight of beauty in the long leaves, and the taste that both satisfies and deepens as subsequent infusions are made. This is a Chinese green without the typical sweet grassiness. Instead, this esteemed tea has a distinctive toasty edge of chestnuts and floral sweetness, particularly in the aftertaste, that has made it the choice of tea connoisseurs for centuries.
To brew, use a glass or porcelain vessel and combine 1 heaping tablespoon of tea leaves with fresh spring water from local sources or filtered water heated to 170 degrees F. Infuse with the tea leaves for three minutes. If you like, add a few more leaves with each subsequent infusion of two to four minutes and use water heated from 170 to 185 degrees F. to taste. The caffeine level is mild and the final tastings are soft with a delicate essence of stone fruit. Shi Feng Long Jing provides multiple infusions, often up to five.
A Note from TeaMuse's Editor: MastersTeas.com, a new branch of Adagio will be bring you exceptional teas from around the world. We're excited to be able to bring these teas directly from farms and Master Tea Farmers to you. Keep checking in to the new site, and to our Social Media for updates!