Hello friends, I have had this post on my radar for a while and finally got around to it. I had a sample pack of Harney and Sons Mejiawu Lung Ching with a sticker shock price of $650 / lb. and wanted to compare it to a more moderately priced but still very high quality long jing from UNYTea.
All pictures will be UNYTea on the left and Harney on the right. I used 3 grams in porcelain gaiwans with identical porcelain cups. I used 175F water and 4 infusions of 15, 18, 21, 24 seconds.
The dry leaf in the warmed gaiwan gave off an aroma of sweet corn for both of these that was pretty similar.
The UNYTea had a sweetness to it and also a flavor of sweet corn with an ever so slight vegetal note and astringency on the back end. The Harney had more of a roasted corn flavor, but it as also just a tad bit more complex and just deeper. The Harney was slightly thicker and it also had a nutty note on the finish. I can’t eat tree nuts so I can’t tell you which nut it is, sadly.
You can see the Harney liquor is just every so slightly darker. The UNYTea had a bit stronger vegetal notes on the second infusion but it also had a more sweet finish. The Harney didn’t change much from the first infusion.
The third infusion highlighted the differences the most. The UNYTea had a generally sweeter flavor and the Harney had more of a roasted corn flavor with some nuttiness. Again, the Harney is just slightly thicker and more complex.
On the fourth infusion, the UNYTea had the darker liquor color. I think I picked up an ever so slight note of spices on this one. UNYTea had some sweet spice notes with a nutty finish. The Harney had the sweet spice notes as well but it also had that roasted note.
The UNYTea leaves were slightly larger and the Harney leaves had more broken pieces. It looks like the Harney pickings are all 1 bud and 1 leaf, where the UNYTea pickings are sometimes 1 bud and 1 leaf and sometimes 1 bud and 2 leaves.
According to Harney’s website: This is from one of the original 4 locations outside of Hangzhou. We have bought from Mr. Zhao for years, so you can count on this being the real tea.
From UNYTea website: Farm Location: Wengjiashan, Hangzhou, China
Both of these teas were very good, but if I have to pick a winner on taste alone, I would pick the Harney. It was a close call as the UNYTea is really really good, but the Harney gets the edge on the extra complexity and slightly thicker texture.
The main question here is not so much which is better as which is the better value and is the sky high price of the Harney worth the money? Let’s do some math.
So doing my regular calculations of price per cup: UNYTea is (currently sold out of 2019) $9.50 for 25 grams. That’s 8 sessions per bag, $1.19 per session. You can get at least 5 infusions out of it, so that would come to $.24 per cup.
The Harney on the other hand, sells for $90.00 for 2 oz. (56 grams)! 18 sessions per tin comes to $5.00 per session. 5 infusions per session and yes that comes to $1.00 per cup.
To strictly compare the price of dry leaf, I will use the cost per gram. UNYTea sells this in 25 and 50 grams bags. Those prices are $.38/g and $.36/g. Harney sells it in a 2 oz. tin and 1 lb bag. Those prices are $1.61/g and $1.43/g. The Harney is at least 4 times more expensive any way you look at it!
Is the Harney worth the crazy price? Nope. Not to me. Unless you do what I did, and buy two samples for $5 each when they have them back in stock again. Because when I see a price like that, I just have to try it, but I ain’t paying $90 for a 2 oz. tin. Ain’t happenin’.
If you want a really delicious longjing at what I consider to be a really good price, go with UNYTea.
A note on shipping – Harney always has free shipping for everything and I think I paid $3.31 for UNYTea shipping. Cheers!