Every April, the local Hangzhounese begin to pluck green tea from hills peppered with idyllic terraces. Spring is considered the best time of year to harvest, and once the flowers bloom, so begins a season of tea ceremonies to honor this prized crop.
A visit to the home of Longjing tea is not only a reviving getaway from the bustling city, but also an insight into the integral role tea has played in Chinese culture for centuries.
Nestled amidst the greenery of the mountains lies the pastoral Meijiawu Tea Village. Tea pickers work fervently but delicately in the fields, expertly plucking leaves from the bushes.
Fresh tea leaves are then poured into a large wok, before being stir-fried. Baking is the most common procedure to finish the tea before sale. Great care must be taken to not over-cook the leaves.
When these procedures are complete, it is the time for the traditional tea ceremony.
Within the Fuyicang Relics Park, along the river bank of the Grand Canal – the world’s longest – the locals are enjoying tea rituals inside the Yunhe Academy. It is quiet, a sense of Zen settles in the room. A stick of incense, a cup of Longjing tea, fragrant smells gently waft with the flow of the tunes played by Guzheng, and a serenity prevails.
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