What is Dragonwell green tea?
Dragonwell tea, or Longjing (Long Jing), is a premium Chinese green tea native to the northern part of Zhejiang Province. This highly prized green tea is known equally for its soft, subtle aroma and its distinctively flattened leaves. The latter is a consequence of masterful pan-firing, a process that Dragonwell tea has been subjected to throughout the centuries of its existence.
Xihu Longjing: a living legend
Today, the term Dragonwell tea or Xihu Longjing applies to any tea grown within the Xihu District. But a few centuries ago, only 18 tea bushes were tasked with producing “real” Longjing! The legend goes that the Qianglong Emperor sampled some local tea when he visited the Hu Gong Temple at the foot of the Lion Peak Mountain. And he was so impressed that he conferred special imperial status to the 18 tea bushes in front of the temple. The legend doesn’t end there – those original 18 tea trees are known to be around even today. Their harvests are no longer reserved for imperial use, but they fetch prices more than their weight in gold at annual auctions. Thankfully, good-quality Xihu Longjing grows abundantly in the region and is well within reach of the average tea drinker.
Tasting notes in reviews
Longjing tea has a pale green, clear infusion, aromatic, toasty sweet, with a hint of astringency. Dragonwell brings to your cup the inviting, toasty flavor of chestnuts and firewood, together with a light grassy aroma and a pleasant velvety texture. Seasoned Longjing drinkers swear by its “irresistibly heady aroma“, so beautifully complemented by “a lingering aftertaste of honey”.
When buying Dragonwell tea, pay attention to the following details:
- Origin. Authentic Dragonwell tea is traditionally handmade in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China.
- The shape of leaves. Quality Longjing tea will have delicate, smooth, shiny leaves that are perfectly flattened along their inner veins.
- Time of harvesting. The finest Longjing is “pre-ming tea” harvested before Qing Ming Day, which falls on either April 4th or 5th.