West Lake Longjing tea is famous in China. Longjing is translated as “dragon well” and Longjing tea is a variety of pan-roasted green tea from this area of Longjing Village in Hangzhou. It is well-known for its high quality but the price is not cheap and it depends on the grade that you choose.
During our visit to Jiuxi Yanshu, we also passed by the Meijiawu Longjing tea plantation. This village is one of the most famous areas for growing Longjing tea.
Legend of Longjing tea
The best-known legend of Longjing tea tells the story of the Qianlong Emperor, who visited Shifeng Shan (“Lion Peak Mountain”) near West Lake and was enamored of the local tea style. One story tells how he returned to his ailing mother’s bedside with a sleeve full of fresh leaves, which were so fragrant she had them brewed immediately. He later conferred imperial status on 18 tea bushes planted in front of a temple on Lion Peak Mountain, reserving all the tea harvested from them for imperial use.
In more recent history, Longjing got another reputation boost from Mao Zedong, who liked the tea so much that he served it to Nixon during his visit in 1972.
Well, if you compared with West Lake, this are is relatively unpopular as there are not many buses coming here. People who visit the tea plantation usually hire a private car. Most villagers here own a farmhouse or tea house which serves tea and food for the visitors.
Parking can be a challenge as the roads in the tea plantation is very narrow.
The prime tea harvest season is generally from late March to the end of summer. The price of Longjing is not cheap at all, it can vary and sell at the highest rate at RMB 6,000 (USD 845) per kg. Some owners will try to push for sales but if you are not interested in buying, you can still drink tea there and enjoy the surroundings as the whole area is covered with tea leaves, just like a beautiful tea mountain.
Hangzhou Signature dish – Longjing Prawn
Longjing prawn is one of the signature dishes in Hangzhou. It is prawn stir-fried with Longjing tea. When eaten, you will smell the flavor of the Longjing tea fragrance which can be a little bitter, but not too obvious.
Since the Longjing tea plantation is near Jiuxi Yanshu, you should also include the Longjing tea village in your itinerary.