This first flush of pre-Qingming leaves is thought to be the most tender and possess the most refined taste; it can fetch a price upwards of US$1000 per kilogram. The price drops gradually with subsequent harvests as the weather warms up and the leaves become more robust and slightly bitter. Tea-pickers start at first light before the dew has dried, deftly removing two leaves and a bud. The leaves are then roasted over low heat in a brass wok, which folds them into their characteristic needle shape. When brewed, the resulting tea is clean and light, but complex too, with notes of chestnut, fresh-cut grass, and spring flowers. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some (available from specialty tea purveyors like Seven Cups), steep them with water heated to 180°F until the leaves fall to the bottom and unfurl, preferably in a clear glass so the pure jade color of the leaves can be appreciated.