What is Dragonwell Tea?
Longjing, translated to mean dragonwell, is a pan-roasted green tea originating from the Longjing village in Hangzhou which resides within the Zhejiang province of China. It has an amazing history and is well becoming one of the most famous among China’s green teas. In fact, it was once touted to be the “tea of the emperors.” Over many centuries, the art and skill of pan-firing and shaping tea leaves have been perfected by skilled tea masters. The result is a sweet, earthy, well-rounded cup of herbaceous and nutty green tea.
Growing, Harvesting, and Processing
As with all green teas, Dragonwell is only slightly oxidized which is what contributes to the tea being more of a reflection of the region from whence it came. And while there are many imposters, as all purists know, the truest and highest quality Dragonwell tea comes from the West Lake area of Zhejiang. West Lake is surrounded by large mountain ranges and the weather is characterized by fog and mist, consistent rainfall, and fluctuating temperatures.
Dragonwell tea is not intentionally shade-grown as other green teas such as Japan’s matcha or gyokuro; however, the consistent cloud cover and dense fog of the region create a comparable shading effect. Therefore, Dragonwell tea, as with other shade-grown teas, maintain similar characteristics including greater levels of antioxidants such as catechins and polyphenols, increased levels of amino acids, maintaining a brighter green color due to higher concentrations of chlorophyll, as well as having higher amounts of caffeine.
Timing the harvest is also critical to maintaining the highest quality and flavor of Dragonwell tea. The leaves are, therefore, harvested in the early spring when they are at their most fragile, youngest, and freshest stage. It takes great skill to carefully pluck each delicate leaf meticulously choosing leaves of the same quality, shape, and size.
Once the tea leaves have been painstakingly chosen and harvested, they are heated in a blazing hot wok by a highly skilled tea roaster. The process of roasting the leaves to their ideal temperature is done solely through feel. The tea roaster, generally the tea farmer, uses their hands not only as a barometer of changing temperatures but as the means by which the leaves are pressed and shaped. The hands of the roaster skillfully press the leaves against the sides of the wok giving them a feather-like shape.
The Dragonwell Tea Experience
The taste of Dragonwell tea is cultivated throughout its growth, harvesting, and processing life cycle. From the region where it’s grown, to the way that it is harvested, to the process used to stop oxidation and shape the leaves. All of this combines to produce the final product of aroma, texture, and flavor.
The result is a delicate, well-balanced brew with a vegetal, subtly sweet aroma. The cloud cover of the region gives the tea a slightly higher level of caffeine, chlorophyll, and amino acids including L-theanine which contributes to the overall health benefits but also the sweetness of the tea. The process of pan-firing to the perfect temperature is what gives the tea its smooth, nutty flavor.
Experience the quality and characteristics of China’s most popular pan-roasted green tea by ordering a sample of Dragonwell Green Tea today!