Long Jing Long Wu West Lake Dragon Well (西湖龙坞龙井) is a classic pre-Qing Ming early spring green tea and this version from Longwu Village (龙坞) next to Xihu is really one of the best. 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 verdant character with characteristic nutty and creamy notes. This lot is a Ming Qian harvest, picked on 23 March 2023, before the Qing Ming Festival.
The cultivar utilised for this tea is the local Qunti Zhong, a heritage plant 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 and the West Lake versions are some of the most sought after types. 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.
However the core designated area that is recognised and protected by the government is a much larger growing area than just the West Lake Scenic area, encompassing some 168 square kilometres. Longwu Village is one such location, being outside the West Lake Scenic Area but still lying within the recognised Long Jing designated area. It is also the location with the biggest yield of tea in the whole of West Lake, making the teas from here more accessible.
This particular Long Jing Long Wu West Lake Dragon Well has a classic appearance of neat, flat polished leaves. When brewed, it produces a refreshing liquor that is delicate and light. The clean taste has a grassy and vegetal profile with savoury, umami and nutty notes. The clean aftertaste is smooth and creamy, with just a touch of dryness. This is a fresh and light tea and a fantastic example of a top grade early spring Dragon Well.
This Long Jing West Lake Dragon Well is best brewed with at 80°C for 2-3 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!