Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lung Ching

I'm sure I've posted about this one before, but it's worth covering again. Lung Ching, also known as "dragonwell," is a super-popular type of Chinese green tea. Sort of like Sencha is to the Japanese, Lung Ching is what I think of when I think of your everyday Chinese green tea. And I do that quite often. Like just about everything it comes in a variety of grades, and like everything it is worth your while to get your hands on one of the better grades. The one I've got here is great -- the leaves are dried flat and average about 3/4" in length. I'm going to have to go check out some other Lung Ching teas to see if this is unique to this batch, but these leaves smell like dark chocolate. It's unmistakable and I don't remember ever noticing that before. Of course tea and chocolate are both loaded with alkaloids (I think -- me: not a scientist) so maybe that explains it.

Anyway, it should be noted that you can't really judge tea by looking at dry leaves, no matter how pretty they are or how much they smell like Mars bars. When brewed (for about 2 minutes in 170-180 degree water) the tea is a very pale green, almost yellow, not at all like those Japanese teas. Also unlike the Japanese teas the brew is very buttery and mellow without a grassy taste. I've never seen a chemical analysis but my experience has been that Lung Ching is very stimulating, which I presume is those alkaloids hard at work.