Long Jing (龍井), sometimes Longjing, is perhaps the most famous and popular tea to come from China. It is often referred to by the ‘Dragon Well’ name, which is the literal translation of the Chinese name. Long Jing ‘Dragon Well’ is one of 10 of the Famous Teas of China (中国名茶).
This particular Long Jing is classified as Ming Qian (also known as pre-Qingming), which is the premium early season first plucking of the tea bushes. The early plucking occurs before the Qing Ming Festival, which is either on the 4th, 5th or 6th of April each year. The production cycle is very short so only the very first spring shoots are plucked throughout a period of approximately 10 days.
This Long Jing Ming Qian Dragon Well green tea comes from Xinchang, Zhejiang Province of Eastern China. It is also known as ‘Dafo’, meaning ‘Big Buddha’ as it is grown around the area where a 1600 year old Buddhist Dafo Temple stands, housing a 15m tall Buddha. While not from the famous West Lake area in Hangzhou, this tea in our opinion is one of the best from Zhejiang Province that does not come from the West Lake area. This tea uses the Long Jing #43 Cultivar.
There are many legends and versions that try to explain the Long Jing ‘Dragon Well’ name of this tea. Our favourite tells a story of monk imploring a dragon living in a well to come to the aid of villagers of an area that has been suffering from a drought. With the dragon helping out, the monk persuaded the villagers to pray and once they did, it miraculously started to rain. To celebrate this, a tea was named after the event – Long Jing ‘Dragon Well’.
Long Jing Ming Qian Dragon Well green tea undergoes hand processing, during which the freshly plucked leaves are wok fried for approximately 20 minutes in order to halt the oxidation of the leaves and keep it a green tea. This tea still has to be produced mostly by hand as the plucking and wok frying requires great skill.
This Long Jing Ming Qian Dragon Well green tea has flat leaves with a bud and one or two leaves and produces a light green liquor. The smell of the dry leaves is that of exotic fruits. We can just about detect a faint incense aroma from this tea – perhaps a result of being grown and processed next to a temple!? The taste is multilayered but clean and refreshing. There are sweet and savoury umami notes competing for your taste buds that combine with flavours of asparagus and grapefruit. These zesty vegetal notes provide a very pleasant finish to this tea.
We suggest brewing parameters of 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed 2 or more times depending on your taste preferences. You can also use glass teaware to enjoy the beautiful green leaves!