Review: Dragon Well Green Tea

Dragonwell Tea, Green Tea, Organic Tea, Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The classical aromas and flavours of Dragonwell are subtler, where the tea delights more with its clean bouquet and fresh spring green flavours of cooked zucchini and snap peas, rather than a rich umami savour or compelling nuttiness, Dragonwell is often celebrated for. "
Raven’s Teaview: 6.8/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6/10, Sophie gave it 7.2/10
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organicteadragonwellAm I really bugged by bugs? Are you? I’ve met more than one mosquito I didn’t like but the night air smells much sweeter filled with the scent of a citronella candle on the breeze than Off. So it's hard not to think that the use of pesticides might not detract from tea as well. With so many Dragonwell teas on the market and after sampling my fair share, I was keen to try an organic Long Jing to see whether the leaves would indeed sing more brightly from the wells of Hangzhou when organically grown. While some varieties are bettered by bugs or rely on them for their character like Oriental Beauty or Bai Hao, one might figure the insecticidally challenged makes for a better brew. offers tea that seems the epitome of natural farming. is the site for Ecrosslands, who distribute teas that are grown within a nature reserve in the Tian Mu mountain area of Lin'an county of the Hangzhou district in Zhejiang province. The tea gardens are used not only for tea production but also for research into organic farming to make it even more ecologically reverent. And if there's any doubt of their products certification, even has their 2009 organic certifications from the USDA available to view on their site ( Yet, further information on the harvest year and grade of their teas on their website might be helpful, particularly for their Dragonwell with so many on the market and since these details impact both the price and quality.
Yet tempted by the visions of butterflies dancing across these lush tea gardens, I was eager to see the tea. The leaves may indeed reveal their organic beginnings as the mix of olives, celadon and grass green hues amongst the whole leaves seems a bit more colourful than non-organic Dragonwell teas I've had before. While the leaves are whole, flat and smooth in their sparrow's tongue shapes, there is more variation in their folds and sizes of leaves that range from one third of an inch to about one inch and a quarter. The oil from frying the leaves during shaping is also quite evident on the surface of the leaves from slight bubbles of lighter areas across each leaf's surface, giving the leaves a bit of shine across their matte surfaces.
The scent seems as if to conjure more dragonflies than buzzing bees for the tea's medium perfume has a damp luxury that makes me think of the same kind of dark sweetness of forest air. With notes of ferns, snap pea blossoms and a touch of fir, the leaves aren't as nutty smelling as some Dragonwell teas but still flutter with fresh, delicate joys.
With my curiosity piqued, I was ready to brew. The website recommends brewing one teaspoon of the tea without any further direction, thus I opted to infuse two teaspoons of leaves for four minutes based on other Dragonwell teas I have. Brightly emerging as if from its cocoon, the almost clear, blond cup is welcoming although it seems a bit more yellow hued like a firefly than the more straw jade like colour often seen with Dragonwell tea. The medium light scent of the brew opens up into slow cooked green bean aromas that nod to Long Jing with its clean sparkle of spring.
Circling in on the cup, one easily settles into the silky, medium body of the tea. The web of flavours are equally amiable from the light savouriness, predominated with vegetal flavours of cooked zucchini, celery and snow peas. There is a bit of chestnut to the greener flavours but the tea delights more with the friendly spring green flavours rather than a rich umami savour or compelling nuttiness, Dragonwell is often celebrated for. The round balance and smooth texture are also pleasantly refreshing as it fades from a sip with a short finish. The vegetal flourishes are tasty, honest and airy and livened by a light dryness. The tea continues to entice one with a medium aftertaste of raw celery and a bit of artichoke in one's breath while there also seems to be a building saltiness to aid the sense of brothiness.
Buzzing in for a second steeping of the leaves yielded a lovely medium yellow coloured cup that has a sparkle of oil on its surface. However, the aroma is quite light with soft vegetal scents that also seem to bear a trace of fire left from pan-frying the leaves during drying. The tea still has a slightly oily feel which give it a nice, soft harmonious feeling while drinking yet the flavours are much lighter. However, the second infusion seems to pull out a bit more Dragonwell character with a mild nuttiness while also having a sense of starch that together remind me of canned waterchestnuts or raw rice. After a third steeping of the leaves, the cup has an understated appreciation with only a fresh mineral water type scent. Although the tea falls on more neutral flavours of bamboo or hint of chestnut, the slick feel of the light body still has a nice substance to it.
After steeping, the hardy leaves languish in the cup. Transported back to my days collecting forest specimens, I inspected the leaves scoping for traces of insect bites but much to my shagrin and imaginary musings I couldn’t find any. So the leaves were protected well in the reserve’s gardens as the leaves are tender giving slightly under thumb. The leaves seem somewhat large about an inch and a third in length while there is a moderate amount of stem on the leaves.
Since is a distributor, they do also sell their teas through the website, where their Dragonwell is available in 2oz quantities (
Overall, the tea's character seems to lend some insight into the terroir of tea more than a simple comparison of organic and non-organic tea. Since the Tian mu mountains are about ninety miles northwest of the West Lake area where Dragonwell first originated, it may explain why the typical Dragonwell character isn't as full or developed as tea from closer to West Lake that I've had. Even though it doesn't have the all of the classic Dragonwell charms,'s Dragonwell's mellow vegetal savour, unpretentious and ample body, is an easy drinking cup that could readily keep one feeling snug as a bug with calm amidst a buggy day.

— 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.

Teaviews Member: Raven Raven Reviewer
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