Review: Dragon Well Green Tea

Dragonwell Tea, Green Tea, Organic Tea, Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Brothy with obvious vegetal notes and a sweet, grassy finish, this is a good quality organic version of a classic. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.2/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6/10, Raven gave it 6.8/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »
organicteadragonwellDragon Well, or Long Jing, is arguably the best known Chinese green tea. The first Long Jings were made from trees grown near West Lake (Xi Hu), by the village of Long Jing, in the province of Zhejiang. These ancient trees still exist, their leaves fetching astronomical prices at auction (i.e. higher than the price of gold per gram). Thus the Xi Hu Long Jings should be differentiated from the Zhejiang Long Jings, which can come from anywhere in the province. Some unscrupulous producers send leaves grown elsewhere in the province, in China, or in the world to the Xi Hu area for their final processing, in order to sell them as “original” Long Jings – with the accompanying price tag, natch. All that to say that knowing the terroir in which a tea is grown is important, especially when it comes to organic and fair-trade wares. Of course it helps when tea providers show a minimum of transparency and are forthcoming with information about their products. In this case, there is not much to go on. Besides pointing out that this particular tea is certified organic and where teas of its kind first originated, there is nothing to help the discerning buyer. However I've been told the website is under construction and will shortly be updated with more details. Okay, I'm off my soapbox now and moving on with the review...

A vanilla and grass aroma floats sweetly from the long, flat leaves. These are perfectly preserved, and very vibrant shades of green. As the website did not have detailed brewing instructions, I went with my usual habits. I brewed a heaping teaspoon of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 75 degrees Celsius and steeped for 4 minutes. A pale gold cup scented with a generous grass and leafy greens aroma ensued. Despite the sweet scent of the dry leaves, this tea is mostly on the savoury side. Nutty, buttery and vegetal notes all compete for attention. The latter eventually take over in the form of green beans and kelp. A slight astringency in the finish reminded me of grapefruit, making for a refreshing cup. The leaves hold up well when re-steeped for another 4 minutes. The second cup is almost identical to the first, the only difference being a more buttery profile. A third 5 minute infusion is drinkable but pretty flat, the leaves seeming all but exhausted at this point. In later experimentations I found that this tea can withstand a long steep time without getting unpleasantly bitter. Some astringency does develop but it lends the cup a peppery bite more than anything.

Brothy with obvious vegetal notes and a sweet, grassy finish, this is what I think of when I think of Chinese green tea. Fairly mild but nonetheless flavourful and organic to boot, this is a good quality offering. However, there has yet to be a price list posted on Organic4Tea's website, so it's hard to give the tea a wholehearted thumbs up without this piece of the puzzle.

— To purchase Dragon Well Green Tea, 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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