Introduction When spring comes, tea trees sprout. The tea-leaf picking girls are busy picking the tender buds in the green hills. For green tea, the most tender buds would best present the quality and taste of the tea liquor.
In China, Mingqian tea is credited as the best green tea. Mingqian tea refers to the tea picked and processed right before the Pure Brightness, the 5th solar term. As mingqian tea has tender buds and rich fragrant substance, it is superb in quality. However, as the temperature before the Pure Brightness is generally low, the tea buds are limited in number, and the growing speed is slow, therefore, a very limit number of tea buds can reach the picking standard. Hence, mingqian tea is especially rare.
When Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty went to South China, after seeing the tea picking and making process at Longjin Area of Hangzhou, he wrote down poetic lines which may be rendered into English like Too tender before the Pure Brightness, too old after, only right before the Pure Brightness is the best.?(The lines suggest that Longjing tea picked and processed one day before the Qingming Festival is of best quality.)

Yuqian tea refers to the tea picked and processed after the Pure Brightness and before the Grain Rain, namely, the period from about April 5 to April 20. Though yuqian tea is not as tender as mingqian tea, the buds of the former grow fast and contain rich accumulated substance due to the higher temperature, hence it is usually fresh and thick in taste and enduring while being infused.

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Mingqian Tea and Yuqian Tea
Tea Picking

Nowadays, tea leaves can be picked by machine; nevertheless, hand-picking is still preferred in many places, as it is believed that this is the only way to meet the special tea-picking requirement for preserving the traditional varieties of tea.
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While picking tea, people would often perform beautiful tea-picking dance, which has become the origin of tea-picking opera, a kind of tea-picking dances.

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Tea-Picking Opera

Nowadays tea is mostly processed manually, including four processes - baking, stir-frying, rolling and drying, all of which are done in the same pan once for all. Every year when the tea processing period comes, tea peasants and their workers have to work from dawn to dark, as top-quality tea requires to be picked in the morning, selected in the afternoon, and baked in the evening, - all the procedures must be finished within the same day, so as to maintain its tenderness and fragrance.


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The Processing Procedures of Spring Tea
As green tea is light in taste, it is not suitable to be infused with boiling water, nor should it be covered with a lid while being infused. While you are gazing at the transparent glass and see the drifting tender buds in the water, many inspirations would emerge.
The Infusion of Spring Tea
Zisha (purple clay) teapot is one of the best kinds of tea sets. The tea, after being brewed in zisha teapot, has a thick and lingering taste. The zisha teapot has a small mouth, a tight lid and rough inner wall, so it can effectively prevent the fragrance from dispersing.
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Biluochun Tea
Biluochun tea is among the best of the mingqian tea. There is a saying in China explaining that Biluochun tea is brass-wire and spiral shaped, hairy all over? and has been scarce since the ancient time in that it has tender leaves, and fresh color, fragrance and taste.?/td>
Longjing Tea of the West Lake
The best Longjing tea is gathered several days before Qingming when new twigs have just begun to grow and carry "one leaf and a bud". To make one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of finished tea, 60,000 tender leaves have to be plucked. In the old days Longjing tea of this grade was meat solely for the imperial household; it was, therefore, known as "tribute tea".
Longjing Tea of the West Lake Biluochun Tea Lushan Cloud-Fog Tea Yellow Mountain Maofeng Tea
Longjing Tea of the West Lake Biluochun Tea Lushan Cloud-Fog Tea Yellow Mountain Maofeng Tea

It's easy to cause vomit for people of allergic diathesis to drink green tea. The majority of the famous teas in China is green tea, which contain higher nutrients and chlorophyll compared with other teas due to the absence of fermentation during processing. Excessive chlorophyll will irritate stomach and cause trouble; therefore those suffering from gastric ulcer should not drink green tea.


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