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A taste of China's most famous tea in Hangzhou


08-28-2016 12:44 BJT

Full coverage: G20 Hangzhou Summit

MM: As one of the most charming cities in China, modern Hangzhou still retains its rich historical heritage, romantic legends, and cultural core.

Mike: But what makes the city stand out, what really defines it is arguably its long-established relationship with tea.

MM: Yes, that’s right, Mike. Hangzhou is famous for the Longjing tea, a variety of pan-roast green tea. Longjing, literally translates as “dragon well”.

It’s pretty much “hand-made”, and is renowned for its high quality, earning it the title: “the most famous tea in China”.

It doesn’t come cheap, though, as you might expect. Superior Longjing costs almost five thousand yuan — or about 750 US dollars — per kilogram.

Mike: Wow, that’s really expensive, but, the production of tea is seen as a real art in Hangzhou. The locals here will only work with the highest quality of wate, and I’ve noticed they only drink it in the most tranquil of settings.

MM: Now, besides green tea, other categories include black, white, oolong and post-fermented.
Tea is such a popular thirst-quencher in China, that it’s consumed through-out the day — it doesn’t matter what time — even with meals and what’s more, it’s sometimes used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Mike: It really is an integral part of the daily routine in these parts. And this, of course, isn’t something that happened overnight. I learned it was as much a part of Chinese culture in the third century as it is today.

MM: Exactly. Tea was first introduced to Japan and Korea during the Tang Dynasty — way back before the turn of the millenium. And Portuguese priests and merchants brought it back to Europe during the 16th century. It was always one of the strongest commodities during the Silk Road era…

Mike: It would seem that every key decision down through the years in China was made over a cup of tea. And of course it’s also so closely connected with literature, philosophy and the arts and with Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism as well.

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