Es ist schwierig, die Unterschiede zwischen den einzelnen Teesorten zu diskutieren, ohne den Begriff „Verarbeitung“ zu verwenden, aber leider weckt dieses Wort eine Vielzahl negativer Assoziationen. Wenn wir an „Verarbeitung“ denken, denken wir normalerweise an „verarbeitete Lebensmittel“, was uns wiederum an andere unerwünschte Adjektive wie „unnatürlich“, „synthetisch“, „konventionell“ usw. denken lässt. Dies könnte im Fall von Tee nicht weiter von der Wahrheit entfernt sein.
Wenn wir über Tee sprechen Verarbeitung, was wir wirklich meinen, ist Tee Crafting, die alle Aspekte der Arbeit Prozess. Zu diesem Zweck sollten wir uns bemühen, die Teeverarbeitung nach dem gleichen Muster wie Craft Brewering, Handcrafting und andere analoge Ansätze zu betrachten, um ein hochwertiges, fertiges Produkt zu schaffen, das das Ergebnis vieler Sorgfalt und Experimente ist.
To shine some light on what this looks like in the case of tea, The Week published an excellent exposé entitled, “The wizards of Chinese tea,” by Kelly Gonsalves in which she discusses how one of the most famous Chinese teas in the world, Long Jing Dragonwell green tea, is produced. The article itself is an eye-opening treat to read and includes beautiful photographs of Long Jing production, but we’ll summarize some of the important points.
Some of the best Long Jing green tea comes from the home of its true origin in West Lake, Huangzhou. The closer the tea hails from this region, the more expensive it tends to get. Gonsalves notes that it can range in price from $15 to more than $100 per ounce. Other than the rich history, much of this price is largely due to the fact that the most in-demand variants of this tea are still very much labor intensive, beginning with a hand-picking that starts before dawn in the early spring season.
As Gonsalves explains in her article, who picks the tea is just as important as the name of the tea itself. When a harvester is plucking leaves, they have to maintain very strict standards in order to produce the best Dragonwell, selecting not only the ideal one bud and one leaf, but they also have to use a special technique to limit the oxidation of the leaves after they have been picked. For this reason, she says, “A seasoned tea connoisseur can taste the difference between leaves harvested by experienced professionals and those picked by an amateur or careless.”
Another reason to select those teas that have been hand-processed is that the additional element of a human eye allows the tea master to more carefully control the entire process. The tea master not only aims for producing the signature, flat spear shape of the leaves through the hand rolling and drying stages, but a trained expert “can better identify precisely which leaves are done roasting and remove them one by one.” While this proves far more time-consuming than taking an automated approach, Gonsalves says that “these machines can often leave portions of the batch burnt.”
The virtues of hand-processing discussed in The Week’s article as well as the drawbacks of automation are the same considerations that motivate our decisions when sourcing teas. At MeiMei Fine Teas, we care very much for the finished tea product, which is why we directly source our teas. This allows us to ensure that we are selecting the highest quality possible so that you can taste what an expertly hand-crafted Dragonwell green tea tastes like.
We now currently offer two new Dragonwell green teas, both of which are hand-crafted and both of which are worth trying. For those seeking a daily Dragonwell that they can enjoy at any time, we have our early harvest Da Fo Long Jing. While it is harvested just outside of the West Lake area, it is also far less expensive while remaining very satisfying in its flavor profile. For those, however, looking for a traditional, true West Lake Dragonwell, our Xi Hu Long Jing was sourced precisely for you!
Wir denken gerne, dass die Teemeister, die diese außergewöhnlichen Tees herstellen, tatsächlich Zauberer sind, denn die Tees wirken in ihren Geschmacksrichtungen und Aromen wirklich magisch. Das Verständnis des Aufwands, der in die Herstellung dieser Tees gesteckt wird, erhöht unsere Wertschätzung für diese erstaunlichen Tees erheblich.