|"Subtly in the first brew and especially in any proceeding, the liquor is sharp, harsh, and almost acidic - all features far from the muted sweet and roasted notes of a praise-worthy Dragonwell. "|
I write now with an insatiable want for a splendid and seasonal Longjing, yet am with only a cup of Taiwanese “Dragonwell” in my hand. Perhaps unnecessary to note, my current drink isn’t exactly whetting my particular appetite for the authentic derived from China’s Zhejiang province. With any results of the first harvests of 2015 yet to arrive at my doorstep, I am drinking nothing but a sample from last year’s harvest and my first Longjing in a long while. Without question, any review on a green tea such as this should be examined in light of the age of this leaf.
To my knowledge, California Teahouse gives no indication that this Dragonwell hails from the Zhejiang province, and given the limited supply from the region, I have my suspicions. At first look and smell, my batch is moderately enticing. A slight sweet nuttiness does emanate from the delicate tea, though the leaves, given their noticeably darker appearance, do seem to be of a later picking date. I do give some deference to the shade of Dragonwell, as I do typically prefer pickings just after the initial.
Still, China’s incredibly special leaf and its characteristic note of chestnuts must be accompanied by a corn (and perhaps even melon) sweetness, green bean freshness, a crisp, clean finish, and a satisfying aftertaste. California Teahouse’s own variety achieves, at best, bits and pieces of some, and fails to reach others altogether. Brewed under a very light temperature, the first infusion of the leaves does remind one of the many lovable qualities of Dragonwell, but it more invokes recollection of what a Dragonwell should be, rather than what it is in reality.
Infusions following the original leave almost nothing to commend. The leaves instantly churn out a brew reminiscent of a tattered Longjing too long exposed to oxygen. Bitterness is almost impossible to avoid with these leaves, provided you’re willing to brew them to extract any notes at all. Subtly in the first brew and especially in any proceeding, the liquor is sharp, harsh, and almost acidic – all features far from the muted sweet and roasted notes of a praise-worthy Dragonwell.
Despite the very affordable price, I must recommend one look elsewhere, even to the much-maligned mall outlets, for a bargain on one of China’s most storied and exceptional teas.
— To purchase California Teahouse Organic Dragonwell, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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