Dragon Well tea is divided into 13 quality classes, and “Bird’s Tongue” occupies an honourable second place in this ranking. The top buds and the first or second leaves of the branches of the tea plant, and only those which show no signs of mechanical or other damage (the heavy rains in the Western lake region can cause considerable damage to plants) are gathered for this tea. The tea is gathered and processed exclusively by hand, which is very laborious. The tea has to be transported from the mountains to the place of processing, rolled manually in order to soften the leaves and subsequently pressed by hand in woks in order to attain glossy, flat leaves. In the Hangzhou region the locals and tourists frequently visit the legendary Hu Pao (running tiger) spring, which is reportedly a source of ideal water for the preparation of Dragon Well tea. Bird’s tongue is a very delicate tea, nevertheless a sensitive nose can decipher the chestnut aroma typical of this type of tea.
- Zhejiang, Hangzhou
- loose tea