Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A hard to get micro-lot of terrific tea from China
The availability of this special tea is super limited, and its flavor is fantastic. If you’re into tea like I am, you might want to drive by to get a bag of it while it lasts (or have some delivered to your door). This new Bai Ye Long Jing tea has a really fine, almost buttery, flavor with hints of vanilla and a host of lusciously lively aromatics—both gentle and invigorating at the same time. Like meditation, it invites you to be still, and it leaves you feeling more energized and grounded after you’ve finished than you were before you started sipping. The leaves are long and thin, a delicate light green, with a pleasant bittersweet intensity with a flowery and toasted chestnut aroma.
In the context of culture always being a group effort, when I brew and savor a cup of this tea, I try to remember that almost every product we have here is the result of a global village’s worth of good work. We have it at the Deli today thanks to the compelling work of Jackson Konwinski who continues to do terrific things with our tea selection. We get it too because of our long-time importer in Montreal, Kevin, as well as Jasmin, tea-tester at Camellia Sinensis. And we have it most especially because of the great work of Mr. He, of whom the folks at Camellia Sinensis say, “He’s one of our favorite farmers.” Mr. He lives and grows in Jingning, south of Zhejiang. He uses the relatively new-to-the-tea-world Bai Ye cultivar and processes it in the traditional, long-leafed Lung Ching style.
In Chinese, the name Lung Ching translates into “Dragon Well,” as in water well. The tea is named for the well outside the town of Hangzhou in Zhejiang, which is said to be the home of an especially magnificent and magnanimous dragon. (Dragons have a long-standing close relationship to tea drinking in China. More on dragons below too.) Somewhere I once read a tea book that said Dragon Well was “an ideal tea while reading.” I have no idea why that would be, but I always remember this recommendation. I guess there’s nothing to lose—try some next time you take out a good book and see what you think.