Located 30 minutes outside of Hangzhou in the rural foothills of the West Lake district the Meijiawu Tea Village is an entire township devoted to the cultivation and heritage of Xihu Longjing Tea. Also known as “Dragon Well Tea,” everything surrounding this revered type of green tea—from the pouring process to the time of harvest—is considered an art form.
Regarded as one of the finest tea varieties in the entire world, Longjing tea leaves in China are believed to be the best if they are grown in the region around Meijiawu. Visitors to the village will learn the process of creating Longjing tea, from its time spent on the plant until the time it’s poured. Watch as a master tea farmer lightly cooks tea leaves in an open wok with only his bare hands and witness an experienced tea server briskly pouring an entire pot without spilling a single drop. See the complex culture surrounding a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and gain an understanding as to why China is the country with the longest tea history of any civilization in the world.
Harvested annually around the Qing Ming festival in March and April, the best batches of tea are made from the soft leaves harvested early in the season prior to the start of the festival. Bags of these leaves can fetch hundreds of dollars in local tea markets and it’s said that much of the stock is reserved for high ranking government officials.
While most visitors spend their time perusing the old part of town for a stop at one of the village’s 160 tea houses, an alternative is to take a short stroll on the soil trails which steeply ascend the hillsides and offer picturesque views of the entire Meijiawu village.