Lung Ching Tea
Grading System and Authenticity

Buying Lung Ching tea or Long Jing tea is a tricky affair. Here we discuss the grading system and falsification.

There are 7 grades: ultimate (Jipin), special (Teji), then from 1 to 5. 

Unfortunately, no standard exists on how the tea should be graded.

Generally speaking, the earlier the harvest, the smaller the buds, the higher the grade.

You can assess the quality by observing the brewed leaves:

  • Single bud. This is never used.

  • One bud with one leaf, with the bud longer than the leaf. This is a high grade.

  • One bud with two slightly opened leaves, with the leaves as long as the bud. This is high grade.

  • One bud with two leaves, with the leaves longer than the bud. This is considered mediocre.

HQ's tea garden grades their tea according to when the tea is picked. An early Pre-Ming tea can cost 4 times more than a late one. So it is important to know when the tea is picked.

Pre-Ming tea is picked before 5 April. We found that a late 2007 Pre-Ming tea can taste bitter. Beware.

Fake Tea

As for all things in China, beware of fakes.

Lion Peak variety is so esteemed in China that most people have difficulty getting them.

Some unscrupulous tea makers over-roast their tea to imitate its yellowish green color.

Many merchants mix a small amount of high grade with low grade tea, and sell it as an expensive high grade.

Others take fresh leaves produced in Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces and process them using the Lung Ching tea techniques.

Authenticity Certificate

Ask your vendors to prove they have got them.

lung ching teaThese certificates are issued by the Hangzhou City government to the 9,000 growers in West Lake. It is a little sticky with a serial password. 

The buyers can scratch away the gray portion to reveal the password. They can then verify the password in the website below.

Quite clever, eh? It takes some efforts to beat the fakers.

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