Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sifting for treasure

Dragon Well

In LongJing, at the home of a tea producer I visited, it quickly became apparent to me that this was a family business. Everyone - from the grandmother, to the mother, to the daughter - everyone was busy at work. The men are responsible for the actual farming in the moutains, but the women were primarily the ones doing the processing. The young man here is sifting through the freshly picked tea leaves, for any broken pieces. The leaves that fall in the bottom basket are kept for the family's own consumption - this is still high grade tea, but because the leaves are not in one piece, it cannot be sold. The proprietor explained how the tea is roasted - they use large electric woks, slowly turning the leaves until they are dry. There are 3 main hand gestures used in this roasting process - the first being a simple toss, the second being a lift and shake, and the final gesture being a stirring motion. Just fascinating, and I'm very glad that I was able to experience this. We bought a few ounces from them, the least we could do for their hospitality and the lesson in tea.

DF

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