Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An Inexpensive Tinned Lung Ching brew

In my many years of tea adventures, I was told, or under the impression, or 'explained to me' that Lung Ching tea should be drank fresh.  Buy the spring harvest of 2019 in May or June and enjoy the tea.  Enjoy and appreciate the freshness of spring in the tea.  Refrigerate your Lung Ching to keep it fresh but try to finish the tea as soon as possible.  

When I visit Fangcun tea wholesale centre during the sale of freshly picked Lung Ching, I noticed the freshly harvested tea leaves were refrigerated (some in chest freezers) to keep the freshness and they were sold out within a month ( the better ones ).  The 'better ones' were expensive and 100g of the better grade can easily set you back at $100-$200.  And that's wholesale prices.  

I buy very small amounts of fresh Lung Ching tea every year and I enjoy the fresh, sweet and nutty taste of the tea.  

I noticed there are tinned Long Ching (and shrink wrapped ones as well) on the shelves of the Chinese tea section in Chinese department stores. The prices are very low about 10-20% of fresh Lung Ching.  I wondered who would drink this tea.

I was at such a local department store last week when I noticed an elderly gentlemen selecting a tin of Lung Ching and was about to pay for his tea.  I asked him whether he could tell me about tinned Lung Ching.  He replied, in Cantonese, that tinned Lung Ching ('Long Zeng' in Cantonese) was a much lower grade.   He had to use much more leaves for his tea session.  He told me he brewed this tea using a large mug, throw in some leaves and let it infuse for a few minutes before he drank the tea.   This method of brewing, also known as grandpa brewing is an easy way to enjoy a cup of tea.  He also told me that he kept the tin in a fridge after opening but  he would normally finish the entire tin within a month.  

I bought a tin.  125g of tea produced by Zhejiang Tea Group Co Ltd. This is a 4th grade tea.  The tin came double lidded and looked quite air tight.  

How is the tea?  Compared to newly harvested Lung Ching that I have drank, the aroma and taste of the tinned version is much subdued.  And...I had to add more tea leaves to my brew.  The tinned version is only good for 2 infusions.  

This would suggest this tea is not good.  No....It has the aroma and taste of Lung Ching and has that signature nuttiness in the tea.  The price of this tin is less than 10% of the fresh ones and I recommend you, the reader to try a tin if you like Lung Ching.  You would have to add more leaves and I recommend you 'grandpa' your tea.  Add leaves in a cup and put hot water. Allow tea to infuse for a few minutes and your tea is ready t drink.  

I used a large porcelain teapot and made one litre of the tinned Lung Ching.  I allowed the tea to cool and proceeded to chill the tea.  My family enjoyed this chilled Lung Ching while having a fried rice dinner. 

This tinned Lung Ching was a surprise too me.  For its price point, it is worth it.  This tea is much better than many Chinese tea bags in the market. 

To my American readers,  Happy Thanksgiving.  


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