Review: Canton Tea Co. Imperial High Mountain Dragon Well

Canton Tea Co., Dragonwell Tea, Green Tea, Longjing Tea Add comments
Daniel’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A step higher in grade (and price) than Canton's Superior Long Jing, yet two steps below in its final result. Was I being punked?"
Daniel’s Teaview: 8.3/10
Other Teaviews: Samantha gave it 9.5/10
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cantonimperialhighmoundragAs a bona fide Long Jing lover, I could not wait to get my hands on this drinkable antiquity. Picked from organically grown bushes over 100 years old, Canton's prized Long Jing appeared to be the culmination of China's most popular tea. Never had I held so much excitement over an anticipated brew. Indeed, the stars had aligned in my favor.

Waiting for that "right moment" to ensure the best taste-testing experience, I at last arranged for my first run at the brew. From the first sip, it was evident that the dreaded and intrusive astringency took a tomahawk to the prized leaves, cutting off much of the tea's could-be flavor. Moreover, Canton's premier Long Jing proved to be a very delicate one (more on that later), and I went for another steeping under a more forgiving water temperature.

At a more subdued brewing temperature, the flavor profile was much easier to recognize. But with all of the "bare essentials" of a typical Dragon Well, the leaves didn't have much else. Smooth as all get out and chock full of the delightful "chesnuttiness" Dragon Well enthusiasts have come to love, Canton's Imperial Long Jing was surprisingly simple, albeit in the most extraordinary way. To my shock (and arguably my dismay) there remained no standout feature that elevated the tea to, well, an Imperial-like level.

Brewing at anything above 145-160°F will likely leave a cup with an unsavory bitterness. The leaves of this particular Dragon Well are delicate to say the least and utilizing a lower water temperature is advised. Even at 175°F, the leaves failed to withstand a ruined cup. As far as leaf quantity, Canton Tea Co. recommends one tablespoon per cup under a 1-3 minute brew. Given my smaller allotment of tea, I used just under two teaspoons for about two minutes. Expect 2-3 solid cups from the leaves before they give way to a general flatness.

Despite its overall delightful nature, Canton Tea's esteemed Dragon Well was a bit of a letdown. To me, the end result of the Imperial Long Jing just didn't add up - a step higher in grade (and price) than Canton's Superior Long Jing, yet two steps below in its final result. Was I being punked? Perhaps I received a faulty batch... perhaps I failed to brew in a way to reach the tea's optimum. But if made anonymous and placed amongst a slew of other top quality Long Jings, one would be hard-pressed to accurately match this tea with its lofty name and price tags.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Imperial High Mountain Dragon Well, 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: Daniel Daniel Reviewer
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