Upcoming harvest season for Hangzhou Longjing tea looks promising

Wu Huixin
The harvest season for Hangzhou Longjing tea will officially begin on March 12, which means the most tender leaves must be collected within about a month.
Wu Huixin
Upcoming harvest season for Hangzhou Longjing tea looks promising
Wu Huixin / Ti Gong

Workers start to pick Longjing tealeaves as the harvest season has arrived. Due to better weather condition compared with last year, the quality and sales are optimistic this year.

The harvest season for Hangzhou Longjing tea will officially begin on March 12, which means the most tender leaves must be collected within about several days.

“This year, the average temperature is high, and rainfall has been moderate. These are ideal conditions for growing Longjing tea,” said Tu Guoxing, vice director of the Hangzhou Agriculture Bureau. “We believe production will increase, and the quality will be better than last year.”

Last year, Hangzhou produced more than 490 tons of Longjing tea. However, travel restrictions and confinement policies hindered many local tea plantations from recruiting labor due to the novel coronavirus, which increased the cost. The average price jumped from 1,238 to 1,920 yuan (US$190-295) per kilogram.

The price will continue to rise this year, as local authorities clamped down on fake Longjing tea in the market.To protect the authentic Longjing brand and ensure farmers’ profits, officials launched a digital management platform last March and linked it to Hangzhou’s City Brain system.

All statistics are shared among different authorities, making sure that every production and sales procedure is under the government’s supervision. So far, local police have caught 11 people selling fake Longjing tea.

In a bid to promote the quality of Longjing tea, local farmers use organic fertilizer made of rapeseed to increase the aroma of tealeaves.

Today, local plantations have established 25 production centers, recruiting more than 1,100 professional technicians to fire the tealeaves.

The harvested tealeaves will go through 10 hours of processing, including ventilating, drying, screening and frying, before being packaged in tins.

Most villagers in Hangzhou’s hilly area earn a living from growing Longjing tea. These establishments not only serve fresh local tea, but many of them also perform traditional tea ceremonies to visitors.

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