Tea leaf after plucking is moved into well ventilated room.Tea leaves are spread in a layer of 3-5cm and it is left for 6-12 hours.This process reduce moisture until 70%.Tea leaf reduce greenish aroma and bitterness and increase relative percentage of amino acid.
Pan Frying-Inactivation of Enzyme
During the first pan frying, the purpose of Shaqing is to inactivate oxidative enzyme such as polyphenol oxidase (PPO) with heat, as well as forming the preliminary shape of Longjing. With high temperature, it takes a very short time to heat the tea leaves and inactivate oxidative enzyme.When the temperature reaches 80-100 degree C, place about 100 g of tea leaves into the pan, and fry by hand.
At the start, the main hand-gesture is to grasp the leaves up to about 10 cm in height away from the pan and slowly sprinkle the leaves to vaporize the moisture from the leaves.After frying for 3-4 minutes, the leaf turns soft.
By then, the hand-gesture is changed to put-over, press or holds down, shivering and fling or throws off.Progressively increase the pressure by hand. This step is important to form the preliminary shape of Longjing. The leaves are straightened into narrow-shaped strips and flattened.
The skillful tea master has to carefully manage the timing of action and pressure induced by hand:too much pressure, incorrect hand motion and if pressed too soon, tea leaves become dark in color;on the other hand, if leaves are not straightened and flattened indicates that the hand pressure applied is insufficient and/or the pressing is carried out too late.
After frying for 12-15 minutes, when the moisture content of leaves is reduced to 20-30%, remove the leaves from pan.
The fried leaves are spread out to 15-20 cm and cooled down for about 40-60 minutes.At this time, the leaf re-absorbs moisture and softens (called Hui-chao).
After cooling, the softened leaves is winnowed to remove broken and light pieces of leaves,and hand-sorted to get rid of dull, burnt, yellow pieces, red colored leaves and stalk, stalk which is too long, and any foreign materials.
Subsequently, the sorted leaves are sifted to obtain the first batch of leaves that is retained on the top sifter, while the leaves that pass the sifter is collected and sifted again to obtain the second batch which is retained on sifter and third batch, i.e. leaves pass the sifter.
These three different batches of leaves will be preceded for second frying separately.
Second Pan Frying - Forming the shape and drying
The purpose of second pan-frying is to form the shape and to further remove moisture.Usually, about 4-5 batches of tea leaves from 1st heating are gathered together and proceed for second heating.
The collected leaves are about 250g in total. The initial temperature of pan is about 60-80 degree C,fry leaves until they are heated up and softened, and down reveal (Lu-rong-mao), then increase the temperature to 80-90 degree C, and continue frying.When down drops and leaves are tightened up to flat and smooth strips, the temperature is reduced to 50 degree C.During frying, the pressure induced by hand is gradually increased.It involves the hand action of put-over, buckling, rubbing, press, and push.The gist of the matter is the leaves must always be in contact with the hands, and the tea leaves should not be away from the pan.Toasting is continued until the down drops from the leaves, and leaf becomes flat, smooth and sleek.
When the leaves emit their own fragrance, and could easily fracture, and the moisture content is reduced to 5-6%, the frying is then sufficient.
It takes 25 minutes of frying in total.