Dragonwell Green Tea or "Lung Ching" is a hand picked steamed green tea grown 1500 - 4500 feet above sea level in the Zhejiang Province, China.
Dragonwell is grown in the mountainous area where mild climate and rainfall are plentiful year round. As China's most famous green tea, Dragonwell can be found in chinese mythology and poetry. The tea has enjoyed a history of more than 1200 years and has been the choice tea of emperors and special dignitaries.
Full bodied tending astringent (brisk) with a slight heady bouquet. Full green tea flavor.
The term "Lung Ching" or "Lungching" translates to "Dragon Well." The tea has taken the name of its village of origin. Legend tells of a drought that took its toll on the village around 250AD. Several Taoist priests told the villagers that if they prayed to the dragon who lived in nearby spring, he would bring rain. Many believed that the spring was connected to the sea underground and the since the dragon lived there, he could bring them new water. The villagers prayed to the dragon and rain came to end the drought. The village and monastery have since take on the name of Dragon Well, which is what is it called today.
There are many differing tales about how Dragonwell was granted imperial status as Gong Cha (a tribute tea) in the 17th century. However, the core story of Dragonwell status is the same. It is said that the chinese emperor, Qianlong, gave the incredible honor after traveling along the West Lake of China, the origin of Dragonwell. Qianlong, as some stories recall, was resting at the Hugong Temple when a monk offered him a refreshing cup. Qianlong honored the eighteen Dragonwell tea trees near the Hugong temple by giving them imperial status. Each year, the leaves of the tree were collected and sent to the imperial palace.
Meticulously plucked in early spring when they are full of aroma and have a silvery shine, careful hands turn and press the leaves in a firing wok until they obtain their characteristically flat shape. The process requires skill to maintain the temperatures needed for superior quality, taste and volume.
The tea contains Vitamin C, amino acids, and has one of the highest concentration of catechins among teas, second only to white teas.
For single cup brewing, fill a cup with about a tablespoon of Dragonwell tea leaves, then add steaming water. You want the water almost boiling in order to almost cook the tea leaves and infuse them into the water. After the leaves steep in the water for several minutes, you will notice some of the leaves will start to become turgid and sink to the bottom. This is when the tea is ready.
Traditionally, the leaves are not strained out, as they would continue to brew while you drink. Dragonwell can be enjoyed with a dash of sugar or even a bit of honey, but often the natural sweetness of the tea can be enjoyed without. The leaves generally can only be brewed once because the hot water cooks them, but you can squeeze multiple cups if the leaves do not steep too long and are brewed again within about an hour. The flavor will be a little sharper, similar to black tea, but a little sugar makes it taste just as sweet.
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