During the first week of April, Hangzhou will commemorate the Longjing tea picking season. This special time will give rise to some special Longjing tea-themed items at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.
Hangzhou has a 4,000-year history of tea production and is host to the China National Tea Museum. The world’s first monograph about tea, The Classic of Tea, was written by the “sage of tea” Lu Yu (733-804) in Hangzhou. The custom of drinking green tea was a characteristic of refined Hangzhou life. Combined with the use of tea utensils and tea ceremony, a rich tea culture gradually developed. Hangzhou currently has about 2,000 teahouses.
Longjing, also called dragon well, is only harvested in spring and its premium crops are produced during two specific periods in April: before Tomb Sweeping Day (known as Ming Qian picking), and before Grain Rain (6th solar term; known as Yu Qian picking). Ming Qian Longjing, also known as “new tea” – the delicate, hand-pressed tea buds with one leaf bring a rich flavour and full aroma.
Tea Plantation Tour (120 minutes; CNY 1,800)
The Tea plantation is located at the lion peak hill in Longjing village; the birthplace of West Lake Longjing tea. Visit the tea plantation, see its manufacturing process, and experience the art of tea picking in April or May. A guide will demonstrate the traditional Chinese way of making and drinking tea after the tour. Guests who book culturally curious package can enjoy two hours limo service for the round trip.
Tea Hand-Roasting Demonstration
Tea leaves are hand roasted after picking to prevent oxidisation, which helps maintain the refreshing flavour for which the tea is known. Treating the precious leaves is no easy task. This part of the experience is usually left up to the experts. During the spring picking season, the seasoned tea roaster will displayed his craftsmanship by hand-roasting tea in hotel lobby.
Tea Temptations at Jin Sha
Experience delicacies inspired by Longjing tea to celebrate this special season in style at the Hotel’s award-winning Chinese restaurant Jin Sha.
- Sautéed River Shrimp with Longjing Tea Traditional Hangzhou Style – A specialty of Hangzhou, produced using the meat of live river shrimp and Longjing tea leaves. This white and green colour of this dish reflect the fresh delicate flavour. According to legend it arose when the Qianlong Emperor visited Hangzhou.
- Longjing Cream Pudding – Crème brulee is a French dessert; however, Jin Sha makes this dessert with Longjing tea and it is one of its signature dishes.
Tea Breeze at The Spa
Relax in a soothing bath infused with Longjing tea, this fragrant signature treatment works in harmony to restore the body’s equilibrium at The Spa.
- Dragon Well Tea and Jade Spring Ritual (150 minutes; CNY 2,400*) – This ritual begins with a green tea and black stone foot wash, followed by a bath infused with the concentration of dragon well tea leaves. Skin is exfoliated with a dragon well tea scrub, and afterwards, nourished with a warming imperial tea wrap. Afterwards is a relaxing aroma massage, using oil infused herbal concentrate helps to boost circulation and restore a natural state of equilibrium.