China's most famous green tea - Longjing Tea (Dragon Well) - has a new
Both teas have the same green leaf appearance, are processed the same way,
and even grow around the West Lake in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province.
But don't be fooled. The taste and price are very different.
The high quality Longjing tea is often sold for as much 11,200 yuan ($1,435)
per kilogram, or about 60 yuan ($7.70) for a few sips in Beijing.
Wuniuzao tea, the so-called early Longjing tea currently available at tea
markets in Beijing and other big cities, is only priced about 1,000 yuan ($128)
Wuniuzao, a native plant from Wenzhou in the same province, is one of the
earliest maturing green teas. The product is usually put onto the market in
But not all Longjing tea is fake.
"The brand teahouse and chain stores will ensure quality products," Qi
Guowei, director of the West Lake District Longjing Tea Production Association
in Hangzhou, said.
Jiao Chunhui, a director of the logistics department of the Beijing Wuyutai
Tea, a leading tea reseller and producer based in Beijing, said they would
normally only sell 10 kilograms of high quality Longjing tea this early in
Most real Longjing tea will hit the shelves about mid-April, Jiao said.
"The price will be around 900 yuan ($115) per kilogram," Jiao said.
Sales of Longjing Tea has been grown 30 percent annually at Wuyutai.
"We've seen a strong growth of Longjing sales since the severe acute
respiratory syndrome," Jiao said. "People are more aware of the fact that green
tea is very healthy."
Jiao said it was a common misconception that the earlier and more tender
variety was a better green tea.
"If the green tea is picked too early, its internal material is not rich
enough to generate sufficient flavor and nutrition," Jiao said.
(China Daily 03/27/2007 page5)