For a long time now, I have been fascinated by the whole ritualistic aura surrounding the growing, picking and drying of the so-called 'best' green tea in the world. I have managed to visit Hangzhou in the Eastern China as an attempt to satisfy my curiosity. As i just got back from my trip and as promised, i will be blogging on the photos taken in this scenic and picturesque trip split into a few parts (probably 4 or 5 parts), so please stay tune to my next upcoming few blog posts on this recent trip to Hangzhou, China ! :-)
Here goes the first blog post on my recent trip to the scenic and picturesque Hangzhou: One of the most prized and expensive teas in China, dragon well green tea has a light yet unmistakable fragrance and calming taste. Known locally as Longjing, the best harvests are traditionally reserved for government officials and the wealthy elite. The best way to cop free samples of the stuff is to skip the storefronts and teahouses and head straight to the source - Hangzhou’s Dragon Well (Longjing) Village 老龙井御茶园.
我喜爱生命中的每一份惊喜, 享受旅途中的一切美好. 能与杭州结缘, 真的是一个最美丽的意外. 杭州一个最具风情的城市, 完美融合着自然与人文, 古典与时尚. 杭州真的是…我必须告诉各位...是一个 Super Nice 的地方! 杭州不是全然的旧, 也不是全然的新, 这是一个以深厚历史人文为基础, 同时又带著时代新气象, 一直往前进的地方. 这里是一个尊重传统, 但却又有著自我个性, 怀抱新时代理想的地方. 更重要的, 杭州是一个充满生活味的好城市. 这里没那么商业, 没那么大的生活压力. 这里不那么急, 不那么赶, 做什么事我们都能静下心来慢慢品嚐其个中好味. 杭州真的是值得花时间住下来的地方, 过着自己 tempo 的生活., 让属于这一方的人, 从骨子里都不愿离开. 这一趟的旅程, 得到的是一个全新的杭州, 我相信一定会颠覆大家对杭州的既有印象, 与我一样, 体验一下杭式生活方式特有的自在与悠闲, 爱上杭州 !
Located at the rear of the village, the Longjing tea garden is surrounded by incredibly idyllic terraces roamed by straw-hatted harvesters who pick each leaf by hand.
The grandiosely named garden is something of an out-of-the-way tourist spot, but that in no way diminishes the sheer beauty and tranquility of the place.
人说杭州, 山山水水处处明明秀秀, 雨雨晴晴时时好好奇奇. 御茶园在杭州龙井村, 处美丽的西子湖畔, 狮峰山中. 这里有很多茶园, 也成了龙井茶中的 "头牌". 为满足时下人爱 "文化", 爱 "休闲" 的癖好, 精明的当地人, 纷纷开起了茶馆, "农家乐" 之类, 政府也因势利导, 给这个地方取了个好听的名字 - "龙井问茶", 并将其列为 "新杭州十景". 如今, 龙井村也真的成了杭州市民爱游的一个去处. 闲暇间，他们或携家眷, 或邀朋友, 来这儿, 轻轻松松, 吸吸负离子, 听听鸟鸣, 品品龙井茶. 与御茶园景区服务员交流得知, 通常, 每天进入景区的游客, 有数百人, 甚至上千人.
Away from the largely westernized metropolises, Hangzhou is a relatively quiet, leisurely place. The city's central attraction is its mist-laden West Lake, around which developed a handful of ancient romantic legends.
Tea is popular everywhere in China, but few places enjoy Hangzhou's reputation for tea – everything is related to tea in the city. Teahouses line West Lake and huddle in the valleys of surrounding hills. Brews of tea are not cheap, but the price of a pot buys hours of lazing around, a favorite activity of locals and visitors. West Lake Dragon Well tea, grown on the hills surrounding the city, is Hangzhou's specialty.
Dragon Well (Longjing) Village is a tourist resort featuring places of historic interest and scenery.
Tea flourished in Hangzhou when the city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty some 600 years ago. What made Dragon Well (Longjing) the best of Chinese tea was the esteem of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century. The emperor visited the production site in Dragon Well (Longjing) Village many times and appointed a small patch of 18 tea trees as his garden.
Upon entering the tea garden, you'll find yourself at the foot of the hill into which the entire garden has been landscaped.
The outdoor space is flanked by a giant teapot and a pair of traditional-style buildings looming overhead, stone stairways crisscrossing upwards and beckoning the visitor to ascend further.
Once inside, you'll find the grounds very thoughtfully laid-out, with narrow stone paths twisting alongside creeks and under traditional wooden walkways. All of these are amidst heavily forested environs that make visitors feel as if they are wandering through somebody's private hideaway.
The origin of Longjing tea's name, the dragon well 龙井茶 is located near the entrance. Although this is not the exact well the green tea was named after the tea took the name of the whole village - the resort uses the spring water from the well to irrigate its renowned tea leaves.
龙井是杭州四大名泉之一, 水质清洌甘美. 龙井是一个圆形的泉池, 大旱不涸, 古人以为此泉与海相通, 其中有龙, 因称龙井. 龙井泉的水由地下水与地面水两部分组成. 地下水比重较大, 因此地下水在下, 地面水在上, 如果用棒搅动井内泉水, 下面的泉水会翻到水面. 形成一圈分水线, 当地下泉水重新沉下去时, 分水线渐渐缩小, 最终消失, 非常有趣.
离龙井左右的落晖坞有龙井寺, 俗称老龙井, 创建于五代后汉, 初名报国看经院. 北宋时改名寿圣院. 现寺已废, 僻为茶室.
Follow the paths back as they wind up steps and into bucolic tea plantations that just simply shout out loud to get lost in.
在老龙井御茶园这里让都市人可以远离尘器, 体验自然和谐的田园生活, 参与耕作, 进一步了解龙井茶植法, 并从茶农人手里接过新鲜摘到的茶叶, 品尝真正来自大然的精华. 在城市生活久了, 神经变得麻木, 浑忘生命的最初状态来自土地. 能对土地产出特殊情感, 是一种出于对自然, 对生命的尊重, 愈发显得我们以进步.
茶园景美, 这里的茶叶更香. 沿着村南大道, 不少茶农都开出了茶楼, 农家乐. 喝完茶, 还可以尝一尝道地的农家饭菜. 这里的农家乐风格各异, 有的适合几个人小聚, 有的空间开阔, 适合单位员工出来搞活动.
茶足饭饱, 别急着打道回府, 再往村里走个200米就是大斗山景区. 这里有山林2000 多亩, 其中竹林500多亩, 是真正的天然气吧, 沿着平整的游步道走上一段, 看看正在拔节的毛竹, 听听小鸟的啁啾, 岂不是人生乐事.
在阳光下, 品着这样的好茶, 其实第一眼眼见老龙井御茶园的时候, 我已经开始不切实际的奢望, 如此住在这里该有多好 ! 茶园中大树下, 晒晒太阳门地主, 是都市人梦寐以求的生活.
I was fascinated by the way the tea was pan dried and electric woks are used with the tea leaves being moved around by hand so as to ensure even drying - not roasting.
To head home with some fine green leaves, you can buy Longjing tea directly from any of the villagers, who will try their best to lure you into their homes.
Prime tea harvest season is generally from late March to end of summer, with the April / May harvest fetching upwards of RMB 6,000 per kilo.
The other option is simply plucking the tea leaves yourself. Simply climb up into one of the surrounding plantations and politely ask one of the tea farmers if you can pick alongside them. That was exactly what i had done. If you are lucky enough, you may even be invited back to the plantation owner's home to watch how the tea leaves are prepared by hand, a practice that takes years to perfect.
杭州号称是全中国最辛福的城市. 真的 ! 那个地方能像这儿一样, 坐用名山古刹, 美湖好泉, 还可悠闲地品尝到绝妙好茶, 慢活过生活. 而且这好茶, 想喝随时能喝得到. 你说, 杭州人很辛福吧 ! 这让人感到辛福的好茶, 就是老龙井御茶园.
不过对我们这些外行人来说, 我们比较是人云亦云, 凑个热闹来喝喝. 对我来说. 看着龙井茶叶在玻璃杯冲泡之后, 一朵朵的小绿芽翩然升起, 有一股优雅平和之气, 喝起来又甘甘顺口. 我想好茶给人的感觉就是如此吧 !
沿着十多公里的龙井村, 一栋栋白墙青瓦的民宅, 被一片片绿油油的茶园包围, 村落中有着小桥流水, 这里就象小小世外桃园美好. 来杭州感受一下这样的清闲喝茶时光, 这才是最道地的杭式饮茶 ! 从老龙井御茶园回到城里, 那一晚我睡得特别踏实, 感觉身边有一股很强的能量, 睡梦中, 还能嗅到龙井茶村土地的芬芳 !
Hangzhou 梦幻杭州之旅 - Part 2 - To be continued....
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
That's Life, Capture It! Blog is Pledged to Singapore Memory Project
Browse That's Life, Capture It! Blog @Flickr
Follow That's Life, Capture It! Blog in Twitter