There is so much information about the most famous Chinese tea: West Lake Long jing tea online, that you may feel overwhelmed and clueless to buy one small batch to try. As a Longjing Tea producer and vendor, I’ve got a few tips to share if you want to make sure you are buying the authentic Longjing Tea, hope it will be helpful to you 🙂
1. To check the product picture
I’ve seen a lot of websites offering Long jing posting a picture of overdue Long jing as the tea color is dead yellow, the cultivars and grades aside, the basic request of any green tea will be fresh, you don’t want to source Long jing from such a vendor.
2. To check if the vendor mentioned the cultivar
According to China’s national standard GBT 18650-2008 (Product of geographical indication. Long jing tea), there are 3 cultivars listed as Long jing tea: Long jing #43, Long jing Qunti, and Long jing Longleaf(which is very rare), as Long jing #43 and Qunti tastes quite different, it is better to know which cultivar you are buying before you place the order, and if the seller didn’t mention the cultivar of the tea, there is a big chance the tea you are buying is not authentic longjing tea.
3. To check the Origin of the Tea
According to China’s national standard GBT 18650-2008 (Product of geographical indication. Long jing tea), there are 3 tea origins of Long jing Tea: West Lake Origin, QianTang Origin and Yuezhou Origin.
West Lake Origin is the core origin of Long jing Tea, only long jing tea origins from West Lake Origin can be called West Lake Long jing Tea. Qiantang origin refers to the Long jing tea origin located in Hangzhou but not in the West Lake district, including Fuyang Origin, Yuhang Origin, Linan Origin and QianDaoHu Origin etc., Yuezhou origin refers to the Long jing tea origin located in Shaoxing City including Xinchang, Shengzhou, Zhuji etc.,
In general, Long Jing Tea from West lake origin is normally more pricy than Long Jing Tea from the other two origins. If there is no tea origin information written in the tea description, you might want to review if this is a professional seller.
If you are looking to buy authentic Longjing tea, you’d better ask the seller if they can provide the origin label along with the tea. West Lake Long jing Origin Lable is a label authorized by the Hangzhou Government issued to prove the origin of West Lake Long jing tea. The content of the label contains the words “West Lake Long jing”, tea production year, a serial number, and a QR code that you can scan and be directed to the West Lake Long jing Tea Association website, where you may input serial number on the label to see if the tea is authentic West Lake Long jing Tea.
4. Tell Wu Niu Zao apart from the authentic longjing tea
Wu Niu Zao is a tea cultivar that origins from Wu Niu County, Zhejiang Province, China, it is the main force of the fake Long Jing tea. If you can distinguish between Wu Niu Zao and Long jing tea, there is a high probability that you can avoid buying fake Long Jing tea.
How to tell Wu Niu Zao apart from Long jing Tea? These are the characteristics of Wu Niu Zao that may help you to identify Wu Niu Zao.
1 The Wu Niu Zao bud is robust, usually longer than the leaves;
2 The bottom of the Wu Niu Zao leaf is normally blacker compared to the Long jing tea;
3 the fragrance of Wu Niu Zao is usually grassy with no nutty or floral scent;
4 the tea soup taste of Wu Niu Zao is usually rather bland and not as reusable as Long jing Tea
Where to Buy Authentic Longjing Tea
There are plenty of online stores offering longjing tea, and many of them claimed the tea to be West Lake Longjing but they are either fake or not fresh, we strongly recommend you source from local big wholesalers or buy direct from Chinese tea producers like us. Because small local dealers will not have stable quality green tea as green tea requires strict storage conditions, and nowadays the international shipping cost has been dropping, it is not as costly and troublesome to source directly from a reliable Chinese local Longjing tea supplier.