Shi Feng cultivates two distinct varietals of tea.
The first is called Longjing Qunti, which is referred to by locals as lao shu, or old tree varietal. This is the classic and original Dragonwell, the same kind of tea tasted and recognized by Emperor Qianlong that propelled the region to fame. In Mrs. Li’s collection, these are her 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell, and classic Shi Feng Dragonwell.
The second varietal is relatively new, a kind of tea bred intentionally to fit the climate and soil and to yield small, perfect, early buds. This second varietal is called Longjing #43, or locally xin shu, new tree varietal. In Mrs. Li’s collection, these are her 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43 and her classic Shi Feng Longjing #43.
In her own words, Mrs. Li describes the differences between the Longjing Qunti and Longjing #43 – from budding time and appearance on the bush to flavor, aftertaste and aroma. Each cultivar offers something unique, and should be appreciated in its own right.
Want to learn more about choosing Dragonwell?
Read our full article: A Buyer’s Guide to Dragonwell
In his own words, Mr. Li walks us through his family’s workshop. The Li Family uses a variety of traditional and modern method to create their Wuyi oolong teas. From withering to firing, the processes take at least 24 hours, with roasted teas taking months of additional work.
As Mr. Li explains in the video, making Wuyi oolong demands a high level of technical craft, experience, and hard work. Though modern machines can assist greatly with some parts of the process, the final process of firing or roasting (tan bei) needs to be done by hand for the best results.
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