Longjing (Dragon Well) is the most famous green tea in China. Longjing tastes sweet, mellow and rounded. It has a fresh, snap-pea and slightly chestnut and butter fragrance, a toasty smooth flavor with delicate nutty notes. It's never astringent or bitter-tasting when brewed correctly. Regular consumption is known to lower blood pressure and help keep cholesterol levels under control, thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis and lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
Longjing is grown in the mountains around the West Lake area of Hangzhou in the central coastal province of Zhejiang, an area long believed to be proof of Heaven on Earth. The area has been producing critically acclaimed green teas since at least the Song Dynasty, when Lu Yu, the famous author, mentioned the region in The Classic of Tea. Hangzhou, and specifically the area around Xihu (West Lake) is known for a mild, temperate, and often rainy climate, creating the perfect terroir to maximize flavor.
In the village of Longjing, Dragon Well refers to an auspicious local well, where the swirling rainwater with particularly dense groundwater gives the impression of dragons beneath the surface. Longjing was named after that well near the Old Longjing Temple some 1700 years ago. While digging the well, a farmer found a unique dragon-shaped stone and called it Dragon Well. A popular legend is that a dragon lived near the well and during an extreme drought, the dragon saved the village by providing rain. In any case longjing tea grown in the area of Dragon Well is magical, fragrant and the most highly praised green tea.
Once designated as a tribute tea, offered to visiting dignitaries, it is frequently found listed among the Ten Famous Teas of China, (aka Zhong Guo Shi Da Ming Cha 中国十大名茶 .) Longjing tea was made famous by the Qing Emperors who loved Hangzhou City. While visiting Hu Gong Temple, Emperor Qian Long loved longjing tea so much that he claimed the eighteen bushes for himself ranking them as Tribute Tea Trees. Visitors can still admire these vibrant trees today at the foot of Shi Feng Mountain.
The First Four Types of Longjing
During the Qing Dynasty, there were four general types, coming from 13 different villages in the West Lake Mountains. They were Shi (Lion), Long (Dragon), Yun (Cloud), Hu (Tiger). In 1949, the Chinese government standardized the tea areas into three:
- Shi Feng Longjing(Lion Peak Dragon Well),
- Mei Wu Longjing
- Xi Hu Longjing (West Lake Long Jing).
Shi Feng Longjing is considered the highest quality. Since experts have identified the original place of West Lake Longjing to be in Shi Feng, it is the only place that has the honor of being a Tribute Tea for Chinese Zhong Nan Hai (general name for Chinese political men and statesmen). Its environment is said to be favored by God, with heaving ridges and peaks, tiny streams, and rich green forests. During spring time, it has average rainfall with mist that engulfs the mountains and plains. Its geographical position and sandy soil is highly favorable to growing superior tea leaves. It is composed of four villages Weng Jia Shan, Longjing Chun, Yang Mei Qi Chun and Man Jue Long Chun.
After the collapse of the Chinese monarchy in 1911, the list of Imperial Tribute Teas was rebranded as “China’s Famous Teas” to reflect their new accessibility. Longjing got another reputation boost from Mao Zedong, who served it to President Richard Nixon during his visit in 1972. Today, Dragon well tops the list of famous teas, with top grades from well-known farms fetching astounding prices among the Chinese elite.
Item Number: 121075