Only the tips with no more than 2 or 3 leaves are plucked for the precious first crop. They are then dried, lightly roasted for fermentation, and carefully pressed. The result is of light green and slightly yellowish colour. The tea has a very special, equally intense and fragile aroma (not that a dà bízi 大鼻子could really find the right words to praise this little miracle of nature!). It’s, as I’d say in German, ein Hauch von Nichts (a ‘breeze of nothingness’?), ein zarter Frühlingsduft.
These days I have been drinking one of the most precious teas in the world. The Westlake Dragonwell (xī hú lóng jǐng 西湖龙井) is a green tea that is grown in a small area close to the city of Hangzhou. The best leaves are plucked between March 21 and April 5, they are sold at prices reminding of excellent Bordeaux wine – and the aficionados cherish its tender taste with similar passion.