Picking Timeliness and Manufacturing Techniques
Both the picking and making processes of Longjing tea are elaborate in order to make sure it retains its high quality and original flavor, according to which Longjing tea is classified into six grades (from superior to the fifth grade).
Much importance is emphasized on the timeliness of the leaves being picked, and the tea leaves that are picked before the Qingming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day, April 4/5) or after the 'grain rain' period (6th solar term, April 20-May 6)) are considered to be the top grade, while the leaves picked between Qingming Festival and the 'grain rain' period are considered almost worthless.
The process of making Longjing tea is very strict; It usually employs iron pans for baking the tea, and it involves ten techniques based on different temperatures and moisture, including shaking, grasping, buckling, pressing, grinding, rubbing, and throwing.
A skillful tea-making master knows exactly how and when to use a certain technique according to the changes of moisture and temperature.