Long Jing Chun An Dragon Well (淳安龙井) is a classic pre-Qing Ming early spring green tea. This version comes from an organic garden on the shores of lake Qiandao, located in Chun’an County of Zhejiang Province. The garden was planted in the 1990’s and has been certified organic since 2005. This Ming Qian Dragon Well tea utilises the traditional Long Jing Qunti Zhong (龙井群体种) cultivar. The resulting tea has a fresh savoury character with fresh verdant notes and a sweet mouthfeel. This lot is a Ming Qian harvest, picked on 2 April 2022, before the Qing Ming Festival.
Just like our popular Long Jing Long Wu Dragon Well, the cultivar utilised for this tea is Qunti Zhong, a heritage plant originating in the West Lake area that Long Jing tea was made from originally. Typically, Long Jing is made mostly from either Qunti Zhong or Long Jing #43 cultivars. Qunti Zhong is the heritage plant that is propagated via seed and has been grown around the Xihu area since at least the Qing Dynasty when it became famous. By contrast, Long Jing #43, Chang Ye and Wu Niu Zao are recently developed cultivars designed to be as early budding as possible. Here the emphasis is on the earliest possible harvest date, thereby artificially increasing the tea price. The quality of the flavour may not actually reflect what you might mistake for a very premium product!
The first to bud is the Wu Niu Zao (which some say is not related to Long Jing) and it is grown in many regions of China to be passed off as early spring Long Jing. We suggest avoiding that cultivar when selecting your Long Jing tea as at the very least you will be paying over the odds. The second earliest budding is the Chang Ye followed by Long Jing #43. The final to be harvested are the heritage Qunti Zhong cultivar plants. Of course garden location, altitude, climate, etc greatly affect the picking times of all of these cultivars but if planted side by side, this is the general order that they will follow in spring. For purists, they will often prefer the Qunti Zhong Long Jing as it is the original cultivar. Also these plants are sexually propagated, resulting in a variance of plants in a tea garden, generally benefitting the flavours of the final product. It’s always interesting to compare teas made from the native or heritage cultivar plants with their specifically developed counterparts as everyone has their own preference as to which types they enjoy the most.
Long Jing is perhaps the most famous and popular tea in China. The most authentic Dragon Well originates from West Lake (Xihu, 西湖), near Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. It is said by purists that only tea from the very core Long Jing growing area around the West Lake Scenic Area can be called an authentic Long Jing. The main production areas around West Lake are: Shifeng (Lion’s Peak), Wengjiashan (Weng Family Mountain), Yunqi (Cloud Dwell), Hupao (Tiger Run) and Meijiawu (Mei Family Dock). Dragon Well teas from Shifeng and Meijiawu are particularly sought after and attract very high prices. Of course, much more Long Jing is grown around Zhejiang Province and while not the most authentic, these often provide an excellent alternative. Our Ming Qian Long Jing from Dafo is particularly popular but this version from Chun’an is finer and more refined. Certainly we think the choice of the cultivar also adds a good dimension to this tea.
This Long Jing Chun An Dragon Well has a classic appearance of neat, flat polished leaves. The tender buds produce a bright, lightly colour and clear liquor. It has a vegetal and nutty aroma. If you prefer your Long Jing to be strongly nutty in flavour, you might be slightly disappointed with this one as the nutty aroma does not translate that much into the taste. However this tea features a complex savoury profile with really fresh green verdant notes. It has vegetal notes that are a touch astringent but this is nicely offset by a lovely sweet mouthfeel. The aftertaste is savoury, lasting and a touch drying. While perhaps not the most typical Long Jing due to diminished nutty notes, this nevertheless delivers a wonderful experience.
This Long Jing West Lake Dragon Well is best brewed with at 80°C for 3 minutes and can be brewed multiple times. Best brewed in glass or porcelain teaware.
You can also browse all Long Jing teas that we currently have on offer!