Dragon Well: A Closer Look

It’s that time again: time for the Green Teahouse to celebrate the arrival of this year’s Dragon Well harvest! Long Jing (the Chinese name for Dragon Well) is probably the most famous and most commonly imitated . The leaves are unmistakable: light green in color, smooth and glossy, with a crispy texture. When infused, Dragon Well produces an aroma likened to chestnuts or mung beans, and a savory, lightly astringent taste. The secret to this tea’s flavor profile is the pan-frying of the leaves in an iron wok once they are harvested. Pan-frying green tea seals the pores of the leaves so that they better retain their natural oils (which contain their trademark amino acids & enzymes). A fresh cup of premium green tea like Dragon Well can contain as much as 320 miligrams of flavonoids (powerful antioxidants that also acts as a yellowing pigment to the tea leaf) per 8 oz cup, while your average store-bought bottle of green tea contains approximately 30 mg/cup.

Dragon Well originates in the West Lake region of Hangzhou (in the province of Zhejiang). The tea has been produced here for over a thousand years, but it wasn’t nationally recognized until the 18th century, when Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty officially endorsed the tea and had 18 tea trees planted in Hangzhou which still produce tea to this day. Long Jing grown from these Imperial Tea Trees are more valuable per gram than gold! One of the legends behind the name “Dragon Well” involves a well in Hangzhou that supposedly housed a mystic dragon who blessed the villagers with plenty of rainwater for their crops.

Because of the limited annual supply, Dragon Well is often counterfeited by tea farmers in provinces as far reaching as Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guangdong. But we at the Green Teahouse are proud to say that our 2012 Dragon Well is 100% Zhejiang-grown, 1st Flush Long Jing. Harvested manually in mid-April, this brand new batch of Dragon Well has to be tasted to be believed. Get some today!

Resources: Tea Guardian, Chinese-Tea-Culture.com, & Amazing Green Tea


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