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Intangible cultural heritage West Lake Longjing frying process – finalized

Intangible cultural heritage West Lake Longjing frying process - finalized

As an intangible cultural inheritance, the West Lake Longjing tea frying process is the accumulated experience of countless predecessors. It is the hard work of the frying masters who present a cup of tea with excellent color, fragrance and shape. Finishing is one of the key processes in tea making technology. “Green” refers to fresh leaves, and killing, as the name suggests, means destroying the tissue of fresh leaves. Using high temperature and constant changes in frying techniques, the green grassy smell in the fresh leaves is evaporated, and the color and shape of the tea are basically formed. The water content of the tea leaves is reduced from about 75% when cooled to about 30%.

Why does tea need to be “finished”?

Tea leaves contain substances called enzymes. Enzymes are biological macromolecules with biocatalytic functions. They are biocatalysts that can speed up or slow down biochemical reactions without changing the direction and products of the reactions.

Most enzymes are composed of proteins (a few are RNA), and their activity is easily affected by factors such as temperature and chemical environment (such as pH value). Under the action of high temperature, the protein molecular structure of enzymes will be irreversibly destroyed, thus completely losing enzyme activity. The curing process adopts high temperature measures to rapidly transform the contents of the fresh leaves.

Killing will destroy the activity of enzymes and convert their contents into the basis of the unique qualities of various types of tea.

The “greening” of tea takes advantage of the high-temperature inactivation properties of enzymes to promptly stop the activity of oxidases (especially polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase) in fresh leaves.

Benefits of curing tea leaves

1. Use high temperature to destroy the polyphenol oxidase activity in fresh leaves in a short period of time, inhibit the enzymatic oxidation of polyphenols, and cause the contents to form the color of green tea, dark tea, yellow tea, and Pu’er tea under non-enzymatic action. Quality characteristics such as aroma and taste.
2. Remove part of the water to make the leaves change from hard to soft, making it easier to knead. Easy to shape.

3. Remove the grassy smell of fresh leaves and release the charming tea aroma.

In short, destroying the tissue and structure of fresh leaves, transforming the shape and quality of fresh leaves, and laying a good foundation for the unique quality of tea are the purpose of finishing and the basic basis for finishing technical measures.

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