When it comes to Long Jing tea, people may not realize that there are actually two different varietals: The generic, modified Longjing #43 and the indigenous varietal Qunti Zhong. Longjing #43 has been widely grown over the past 30 years. Qunti Zhong, or what the locals call Tu Cha, in contrast, is an inherited varietal.
Long Jing No. 43 is a national-level clone selected from the Longjing population by the Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1960. Longjing No. 43 belongs to Vegetative reproduction. It is characterized by early germination, strong budding ability, uniform germination density, and even appearance. It is currently the mainstream planting variety in Longjing tea gardens. The earlier the tea is available to sell the more price advantage. Because of this reason, it leads to tea farmers are now more interested in the tea cultivars that budding sooner in spring. Generally, the earlier available Long Jing is produced from the cultivar Long Jing No. 43.
Qun Ti Zhong is the oldest variety of Longjing tea, and it is also the variety that Emperor Qianlong granted "Eighteen Royal Teas". We often say that the West Lake Longjing tea on Shifeng Mountain is this variety. Compared with Longjing No. 43, Qun Ti Zhong has a richer taste. When you drink it, you can feel the silky tenderness in your throat, and the aftertaste is more obvious. Unfortunately, the Qun Ti Zhong bushes were widely cut down in the 1980-1990s and replaced with Long Jing No. 43. There is a very limited quantity available. Accordingly, Qunti Zhong sells for a higher price. Qunti is also a native mixed tea tree variety (not specifically referring to the West Lake Longjing area, it can be found in all tea areas). It has not been artificially intervened, and it is basically perennial through the natural process of tea knotting and tree formation. Longjing group species belong to natural reproduction and are cultivated from tea trees. Because of this, even in the same tea garden, the tea tree shape and leaf shape will be slightly different, the appearance is irregular, unsightly, yellowish, and its taste is light and elegant, with a bean fragrance, but it also has a more obvious astringent taste. The picking time of the group species is relatively late, usually about 10 days before Qingming. Picked later than Longjing 43, the buds are not as uniform as Longjing 43, and the germination rate is also low.
The appearance of Old Tea Tree Qunti cultivar is pistachio-colored, flat in shape and with a toasted fluffy texture. The aroma is vegetative and sweet. Steeped for 2 minutes, the cup color is green-yellow, reflective of the strength of the leaf. The taste is clearly vegetal with a flavor of chestnuts that will warm and a hint of astringency, a traditional style of Dragon Well. It has a delicate fragrance, a slightly sweet flavor and a silky texture. The liquor is velvety and its chestnut aroma lingers for a long time in the mouth.
Brewing Guide: we recommend using 3 grams of leaf (round teaspoon) per 6-8 ounces of water into the cup, and wait for 3 minutes until the tea leaves have dilated owing to the absorption of the water.