- Longjing Background
- Longjing Preparation
At the top of the list of China's ten most famous teas, Dragonwell is known as the Queen of Green Teas. Our ceremonial grade 2019 Dragonwell Spring Equinox is a superb example of the characteristic Longjing "four uniques." It has a sweet, roasted chestnut-like flavor, fresh vegetal aroma, a light jade-yellow liquor and the distinctive straight, flat, narrow leaf appearance. The mouth-feel is creamy, almost buttery.
Longjing Tea - also known as Dragonwell - has been in production for over 1,000 years, but only became famous during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911.) It is produced by hand through a 10-part process. The best Dragonwell is grown by the side of West Lake in Zhejiang Province. Dragonwell is distinguished by its beautiful sword shape, emerald color, intoxicating chestnut-like aroma and tending sweet floral character. In Chinese culture Dragonwell is looked upon as an excellent gift to give to your friends, as once it was a gift to emperors. Even today there are a few plantations which produce tea exclusively for the heads of the Chinese Government. These exclusive teas are NEVER sold to the public and the plantations are walled and patrolled by armed guards and dogs. If you find someone claiming to sell tea intended for the President of China, they are lying. Every leaf is accounted for at these plantations.
This year, in addition to being able to purchase this tea in bulk or in tins you have the opportunity to purchase it gift wrapped in 250 gram bags (8.81 oz.) The bags were wrapped in China so this is the only size available.
Ingredients: Artisan green tea
Origin: Zhejiang Province, China
Our Longjing Spring Equinox has a warm, buttery aroma on an undertone of lightly toasted fresh cereal and peas, accented with sea salt and a light woody spice. There is a distinct, but pleasant gentle floral aroma of a blooming orchard with an undertone of caramel. The lively body has good weight and a silky to velvety tactility, dependent on your water quality and infusion strength. There is a malty savoriness with hints of salt, chocolate and cinnamon, changing to sweet and refreshing.
The characteristic bite of this selection is part of the traditional quality of genuine Hangzhou Longjing which is highly sought out by connoisseurs. Mr. Wu, our Longjing Master, employs an indigenous traditional cultivar for the production to ensure this result. There are selections out there that are much softer that are also from the Hangzhou region. They use cultivars developed only a couple of decades ago, such as Longjing 43.
Longjing originated in the West Lake region of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China, which is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Once a pristine area it has suffered significantly from modern day pollution, an unfortunate result of said tourism and 20th -- 21st century progress in China. As a result, in this day and age one has to venture away from densely populated and tourist infested areas to acquire a really fine Longjing while remaining true to the origin of Hangzhou. One such area is a small farm owned by Mr. Wu, our Longjing master, where the underground water is crisp and the air sweet. Mr. Wu realizes that the environment is more important than the convenience and that there would be no quality without the traditional respect for Nature. Mr. Wu processes our Longjing Spring Equinox entirely by hand from start to finish, sparing no attention to detail. Our Longjing Spring Equinox might well have been used by nobles and mandarins in their tea competitions when Emperor Qianlong was still young and flamboyant, and crazy about the tea.
In ancient times top Dragonwell tea was the tea of emperors and special dignitaries. The secret was in the plucking! Known as imperial plucking only the bud and the 1st leaf was plucked and this had to occur only once a year before the Clear Light Festival in March and early April, otherwise the tea could not be have the moniker 'Imperial'. Young virgins, gloved and using gold scissors delicately plucked the stem and placed it into a golden basket. Today the plucking process has changed somewhat (the time of plucking has not changed) but it is fascinating to know the tradition behind this marvelous tea.
As with all great teas there is more than one legend. Another tale has it that in 250 AD a Taoist monk affirmed that there must be a dragon lurking in a certain spring not far from Hangchow. The monk implored the well dragon to come to the rescue of the poor farmers suffering a crippling drought. Instantly the clouds came rushing in from every side and poured forth a timely rain. One account of this, an old temple adjoining the spring is know as Dragon's Well Monastery, and the tea derives its name from the same legend.
To experience the full tantalizing taste profile of our 2020 Longjing Spring Equinox, steep the leaves in a pre-heated high-density Yixing pot between 5 -- 6 ounces at 165—175 degrees F using 3g of leaves to 6 oz of water for 5 minutes. If you prefer a stronger taste increase to 2g to 3 oz ratio. The best way to actualize the taste profile of this tea is with the use of water from a good but low mineral mountain spring. If a fine yixing pot is unavailable, a well formed porcelain gaiwan or even the taster mug gives satisfying results.
As described below this tea can also be infused lightly as most people do here in the USA, using a ratio of 3g to 6oz water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending upon one’s personal preference.
Water Temperature: 168-175 degrees
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water with low mineral content
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 rounded tsp. (3 grams)
Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: 3
Our Longjing (Dragonwell) may be prepared in a standard teapot, or in . For best results, we recommend that you pre-warm your your favorite mug or lidded gaiwan, and place 3 grams of leaf per 6 oz of liquid, before infusing with 168-175 degree water for up to 1-3 minutes. As with all green teas, Dragonwell can be infused at least three times. Increase the time and temperature slightly with each subsequent infusion. Experimenting with your own temperatures and steeping times is encouraged. Cooler temperatures and shorter times yield more mellow, fruity elements, while hotter water and longer times produce more floral and full-bodied complexities. Always use the best-tasting water you can find, and adjust steeping times, quantity of leaves, and water temperature to your personal preferences.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.