Where Does Dragon Well Tea Come From
Often referred to as the national drink of China, Dragon Well is also known as Longjing, or Lung Ching, tea. Today, it’s often presented as a gift to visiting heads of state a tradition that goes back to the 17th-century court of Emperor Kangxi and ranks as one of the country’s 10 most famous teas.
True Longjing tea comes from West Lake, a district on the outskirts of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province China, on the country’s eastern seaboard. This 168-square-kilometre West Lake area is a National Designated Protected Zone and revered as one of China’s most iconic tea-growing districts.
Within West Lake are the four original Longjing tea villages, of which the best known are Xifeng and Mejiawu. The finest Longjing is generally accepted as coming from Xifeng. This is where our Dragon Well tea is grown from the Jui Keng cultivar harvested between March and April, with only one bud and two leaves painstakingly selected and plucked before being laid out to wither in the sun. The tea is then transferred to large woks, where it is pan-fried and shaped by hand a skill that can take years to perfect and creates distinctive flatted leaves synonymous with this benchmark Chinese tea.
About Chinese Green Tea
According to legend, Chinese Green Tea dates back to 2737 BCE! Its popularisation, however, came about thanks to a Chinese author named Lu Yu. During the eighth century CE, Lu Yu published a book entitled “Ch’a Ching”, meaning “Tea Classic”. It proved a tremendous success, with particular emphasis on Green Tea benefits.
Since then, China and indeed the world haven’t look back. Green Tea continues to increase in popularity at a rapid rate. One of the most famous Green Teas, however, is that of our very own Dragon Well Superior. We honour this fact by packing it fresh to order here in our Kent-based factory. This ensures quality and consistency with every cup brewed.
Longjing Green Tea Processing
Right after picking, the leaves are dried in the shadow. This drying process reduces the bitter taste of the leaves.
While for most other types of tea a process of rolling/rubbing follows to shape the tea, this isn’t the case for longjing. The farmer instead keeps the natural shape in tact by leaving out this processing step. Another way to see this is that the shaping step, in fact, is integrated in the frying phase that follows. This step consist of 10 different manual hand movements that eventually shape the leaves into their flat form.
This process of drying and frying is repeated until the water content has reduced to a desired level before it’s ready for storage or consumption.
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The Thee Rules Of The Perfect Pick
- Timing: famers are very ‘picky’ about picking leaves early. As soon as the buds are ripe in early spring the picking starts. There is a saying in Chinese “”, which translates into: timing is everything, start 3 days earlier and you’re picking treasure, start 3 days later and it turns into grass.
- Tender: go for the most tender leaves with one bud one leaf or one bud two leaves. The right raw materials form the foundation of an excellent longjing.
- Frequency: buds grow out of the tea plants day after day in spring. Tea farmers usually pick every single day or once in two days to make sure they harvest more. Usually leaves a picked for about 30 days in a year, with the best leaves from early spring before the ming festival.
Direct From The Origin
Longjing is harvested in the Lion Peak Mountain in Longjing Village, Hangzhou in Chinas Zhejiang Province. The right geographical environment including right amount of rainfall resources around West Lake have contributed much to the growth of Longjing tea
Longjing, literally means Dragon Well, was given its name because early teamakers say that getting water from a famous spring called Dreaming of a Tiger Spring makes Longjing taste best. Water from the well is said to be dense and after rain, the dense water tends to float and form what seems like a moving dragon.
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History Of Dragon Well Tea
Dragon Wells ancient history begins in the Tang dynasty, 1,200 years ago, when it was first made at the Long Jing temple, close to the town of Hangzhou and West Lake. In the 18th century, Emperor Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty loved Dragon Well tea so much that he went to Long Jing 7 times. His preference for Dragon Well green tea made it famous, and it is still the #1 most popular green tea in China, with tea drinkers both young and old.
How To Brew Longjing Tea
1. Boil water: Spring water is the best. If you dont have it, tap water is also fine.
2. Rinse tea cup: Pour some boiled water into the tea cup to warm it up. After, pour out the water.
3. Pour some tea leaves into the tea cup and then pour in 1/3 cup of water. Shake it well and pour in another 1/3 cup of water. Leave it for 3-5 minutes, a cup of dragon well green tea is ready to be enjoyed. Note: The tea leaves are usually 1/50 of the water.
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Anyone Selling True Dragonwell Should Provide An Accurate And Respectful Portrait Of The People Behind The Tea
A name is not enough. Every farmer we have met wants their stories and priorities to be shared, and you deserve to know. Being able to see exactly where a tea is picked and processed, and how that work is done, can help you decide where to place your trust.
Always look and always ask. Your insistence on transparency in the tea industry will not only yield you better fresher tea, but over time influence even the biggest players to adapt their ways to suit the priorities of todays tea lovers.
What Is The Difference Between Longjing Qunti And Longjing #43
In terms of flavor, Longjing Qunti is big on texture and mineral flavor. It is all about showing off the super distinct terroir of the region. If you like big rocky granite flavor, Longjing Qunti is for you.
Longjing #43 is way more about aroma. It is bright, tighter, and more focused. The texture is smoother on the pallet and the flavor and aroma are stronger. If you love the classic sweet Chinese green tea ideal, Longjing #43 is absolutely worth trying.
Flavor aside, the two varietals look dramatically different and bud at different times. In China, the race to have the first Dragonwell to market is intense. The most desired picking on the domestic market is the earliest picking, and beating everyone else by even a day or two can mean hundreds of extra dollars a pound. Critically, varietal #43 buds almost a week earlier than most Qunti varietal .
In addition, varietal #43 has shorter plumper buds, more reminiscent of the classic queshe or Sparrows Tongue shape. For gifting purposes and for serving guests, the appearance of the buds in the glass have always been considered absolutely critical. The early budding and the beautiful shorter plumper and yellower buds were the reason this varietal was selected for wider cultivation.
Li Xiaoping has devoted a section of her fields to the new varietal to support the development of a new way to admire the unique Shi Feng terroir. Both varietals bring out different and equally worthwhile qualities.
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Discover More Loose Leaf Green Tea Like This
If you love this tea, see also our sustainably-grown Organic Dragon Well from West Lake, certified pesticide-free, and our antioxidant-rich Anji Bai Cha, also from Zhejiang province. Hailing from Fujian, Mao Feng is aromatic and refreshing, while our Jasmine Green Tea is another delightfully delicate and smooth brew infused with plenty of spring floral notes.
Read more about the history of Dragon Well Tea and how it’s processed in our Tea Journal.
For a traditional tea experience and a fuller flavour, we recommend drinking Dragon Well tea from a Yixing Clay teapot. As with our other Chinese teas, you can also brew the tea in one of our luxury Gaiwans.
The Longjing Tea Makers Of Wengjiashan In West Lake
We are privileged to offer authentic Shifeng Longjing directly from Chen Xiaochao, who was an apprentice of the famous tea master Weng Shangyi. Mr. Weng Shangyi, who made Shifeng Longjing for us since 2007, sadly passed away in 2019 at the age of 90. Mr. Chen has been working for the Weng family making Dragon Well tea for over 20 years. He still makes this historic tea almost entirely by hand using leaves from bushes grown in the Weng familys tea garden in Wengjiashan of the Shifeng Mountain region.
The Weng family has been making traditional tribute tea by hand for generations. They still use the leaves from tea bushes passed down in the family. Weng Shangyis daughter, Weng Shunqin, is a knowledgeable tea maker in her own right who now looks after the management of the family tea gardens. Their gardens are populated by old seed-grown quntizhong heirloom tea bushes that have strong, deep roots.
Most Dragon Well on the market is made from a commercial cultivar known as Longjing #43 . Government trade groups have heavily promoted this tea bush over the last several decades, but the Weng family has insisted on keeping their older bushes.
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Why Is The Picking Date Important For Shi Feng Dragonwell Tea
All winter, Dragonwell is left unpicked. The tea is taking in nutrients and storing energy to put out new buds in the spring. The earliest buds in the cold, early spring grow very slowly and contain the highest amount of stored energy , and nutrients from the soil. Later harvests start growing faster as the temperature rises. More sunlight exposure and higher temperatures mean more chlorophyll activated in the leaf and a greener color and flavor.
In fact, the specific Ming Qian designation is just a general rule. Every year, the temperature in the spring and the amount of rain vary dramatically. In 2017, the spring was so cool that picking started a week and a half later than usual, meaning overall less tea picked before Qingming.
Qingming Festival is not a magical line in the sand. We were in Dragonwell before, during and after Qingming, and there is no sudden change. Generally though, the frequency of rain and the temperature do start to rise more and more in mid to late April until it is too hot to pick by mid May.
The earliest pickings in Dragonwell are always the lightest in flavor and aroma but the thickest in mouthfeel with the longest sweetest aftertaste. Despite being lighter, they offer more subtle complexity for quiet contemplative tasting. This year, these early harvests from Mrs. Li are her 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell and her 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43.
Longjing Tea Health Benefits
Such a special Chinese green tea is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and amino acids all working to improve your health every day with every cup you take.
Weight Loss Aid
- Longjing or Dragon Well tea may be a good choice to help you lose weight. It has one of the highest concentrations of green tea antioxidants, namely catechins, which combined with caffeine allow your metabolism to work faster. This combination will make you burn fat, build muscle and still feel healthy.
- Here’s a tip: Try having a daily balanced diet, with a low sugar intake. Take your time to drink your tea cups during the day, especially at meals and exercise your body regularly. Your green tea will work with you to achieve your weight goals.
- The great thing about tea is that despite its caffeine content, tea contains an important amino acid called L-Theanine that relaxes your mind. This combination will allow you to feel relaxed, calm and still remain alert and energetic during the day.
- Coffee alternative: Caffeine in tea isnt that strong and it is released progressively, during approximately 6 to 8 hours, improving your concentration and alertness for your daily tasks.
Lower Cancer Risk
Protect Your Heart
Have you ever asked why, when you feel low, a nice cup of tea always seems to lift your spirits and get you back on your feet?
With so many great green tea health benefits, it is no wonder that the first thing anyone offers you is a hot cup of tea.
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When Buying Dragonwell Be Sure You Know Whether You Are Getting Longjing #43 Or Longjing Qunti
Some sources will sell Longjing #43 as early picking classic Dragonwell because the buds are naturally smaller and yellower, and because they can claim an earlier picking date. Sometimes this is deceptive, and other times vendors simply do not know and are too far removed from the source of their tea.
This unfortunate practice has spread across the imitation Dragonwell fields in the wider West Lake region and across Zhejiang, where the lower elevation and more sunlight of flat, low land fields encourage earlier budding.
This is truly not fair to either varietal. Both varietals deserve respect and recognition for what make them each unique and beautiful. As a taster, you deserve to know what you are enjoying, so that you can strengthen your familiarity with both varietals more clearly.
Damage Of The Fragile Items For Australia Local Customers:
If any fragile items are damaged during the delivery, please retain the original package with the purchase statement in the posting state with the damaged items and lodge a claim for compensation to Auspost at: https://auspost.com.au/receiving/delayed-lost-or-damaged-items/compensation
We are here to support you on all related aspects of this regard. It is however Auspost’s policy for all compensation claims to be lodged by the recipients and the damaged items are required as the evidence for the claims.
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More Information About Longjing Tea
Dragon Well comes from the area around Longjing Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Even today, it is mostly hand-picked and processed and is known as one of the highest quality green teas available. It holds the China Famous Tea title.
Chinese green tea leaves are generally roasted after after theyve been picked in order to stop oxidation , and Longjing tea leaves are no exception. It is the halting of oxidation before it can occur that makes a tea a green tea.
Longjing has a mellow and fruity flavor with definite vegetal tones that remind of spinach or fresh grass. It also has slight hints of cream and chestnut.
The region of Zhejiang province where Dragon Well leaves are grown is mountainous, but the climate is mild. It gets a lot of rain and is covered in fog all year.
This means a lack of sunlight, which essentially makes Dragon Well a shade grown tea, like Gyokuro or Matcha. As such, it contains higher levels of theanine and with that, more catechins, more nutrients and more caffeine.
The highest-quality and most prized Longjing teas come from the West Lake area, but the tea is produced in numerous areas in Zhejiang. It is also produced in other parts of China and Taiwan. Growers there use the same techniques, but their teas are not authentic Dragon Well.
Longjing leaves are picked early in the spring. The highest quality varieties are harvested before the Qingming festival on April 5th. Only the young buds are used.
The Origins Of Our Dragon Well Longjing Chinese Green Tea
Eye-catching emerald-green flat leaves are the hallmark of our No. 56 Dragon Well, or Longjing, tea a Great Taste Awards winner. One of China’s most prestigious speciality teas, Dragon Well is renowned for its mellow, delicate flavour with nutty undertones and for being an imperial favourite during the Qing dynasty.
Our high quality single-origin loose-leaf Dragon Well green tea has an exquisite fresh umami flavour with hints of chestnut and grassy meadow. Its soft yellow hue is reflected in a buttery mouthfeel and floral sweetness that make it a good contender for all green tea lovers and the beverage can be enjoyed chilled or hot.
Those flat, feather-shaped tea leaves result from it being pan-roasted by hand, a process that helps preserve its fresh, spring-like aroma while imparting a strong scent of toasted grass.
Also preserved are high levels of the plant-derived antioxidants called catechins, plus vitamin C and amino acids, making Dragon Well green tea the perfect pick-me-up at any time of day.
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The Reason Why Longjing Tea Is Mostly Produced In Hangzhou
Jiabin Wang is a tea research expert in Zhejiang Provincial Department of Agriculture. After years of research, he found that the temperature, light, relative humidity, rainfall and other conditions in the 28°~32° N are very suitable for the growth of Longjing tea trees and the best suitable area for tea planting. The southwest of West Lake area is located in the middle of the latitude, 30°04~30°20 N. In Hangzhou, the solar radiation is weak, the rainfall is more, and the temperature is lower. Especially areas around the West Lake Hangzhou is known for a mild, temperate, and often rainy climate, creating the perfect terroir to maximize flavor. In the picking season , the local temperature is basically between 10 and 20, which makes the tea buds of West Lake Longjing tea picked at this time smaller and higher in quality. West Lake Longjing Tea is planted in the surrounding area of West Lake, near Qiantang River where the local air humidity is high and has relatively low solar radiation which is the best condition for the growth of Longjing tea. Because of this climate advantage, the level of amino acids in West Lake Longjing tea is high and the level of tea polyphenols is low which creates its high nutritional value, and fresh taste.