The history of Dragon Well tea
Dragon Well green tea has been a part of Chinese tea culture for thousands of years, renowned for its heads of state calibre and contains many health benefits which goes back to the times of Qing Dynasty.
Longjing, or Dragon Well as it's directly translated to in English, green tea has been a part of Chinese tea culture for hundreds of years, as far back as the Ming Dynasty in 1368 - 1644. However, in the Qing Dynasty, 1644 - 1912, when heads of state, namely Emperor Kangxi, officially recognised the beverage for its delicious flavour and well-documented health benefits. Now being consumed personally by the Emperor, his family (particularly his sick mother) and is used to welcome in foreign guests, the variety gained popularity, allowing it to become the most popular tea in China, and one of the most famous internationally.
Where does the name come from?
Dragon Well tea gets its name from a well in the village of Longjing, where the tea grows locally and is filled with dense groundwater. By looking into the well, you would see an illusion that makes it seem like a dragon lurks beneath the surface with a pillowy breath.
Where and how is Dragon Well tea grown?
Despite its documented popularity, this tea, with such an incredible history, has been growing for thousands of years in Zhejiang Province, China with often the best growing around the West Lake region on the outskirts of Hangzhou. This is a protected zone for the growing area, and because of this, you may occasionally see Long Jing referred to as Xihu Long Jing. There is four original Long Jing tea villages within the West Lake, which are the best known are Xifeng (aka Shi Feng or Lion Peak) and Mejiawu. The best quality Long Jing is generally accepted as growing in the area of Xifeng.
What makes this region so unique is that it is mountainous and has a relatively mild and temperate climate that sees frequent rainfall and moderate sunlight exposure. This is an ideal terroir for growing exceptionally high-quality and flavourful teas. It also allows the tea leaves to preserve more theanine, a compound that helps give Dragon Well tea its characteristic mellow, sweet flavour profile.
How is Dragon Well tea made?
Like many Chinese teas, Dragon Well is hand-harvested in the Spring where only the youngest, tender buds are selected. As this is a green tea, the leaves undergo no oxidisation, and they are instead quickly pan-fried to preserve the tea's character and dry the leaves. This process yields an emerald-green, fragrant tea that has a distinctive flat shape.
When the leaves are brewed at 80C, the infusion achieves a distinctive yellow-green hue with a light, fresh flavour. Often it is accepted that the lighter the infusion, the better the quality of the Long Jing.
What are the health benefits?
It is no surprise that the Dragon Well tea is good for you and there are various health benefits. It is part of the green tea family that has been considered a health-promoting beverage since ancient times.
It is known that drinking Dragon Well can help aid the body's digestive system and decrease inflammation, helping against arthritis, rheumatism and other inflammatory problems. However, one of the most important green tea antioxidants, which is high in concentration, is catechins which are great for weight loss effects and can help speed up the body's metabolic rate.
It also pairs well with hemp milk in case you are looking for a non-dairy milk alternative for tea.
These catechins are also known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Research has suggested this does this help maintain cardiovascular and metabolic health, which can help slow down ageing and help you lose weight.
Long Jing tea has higher levels of theanine, which is the single most crucial green tea quality indicator. It counteracts the side effects of caffeine and has a wonderfully soothing effect. As a result, you should choose a premium green tea with a high theanine for the best impact. Furthermore, this organic tea also contains Vitamin C and amino acid, which can help strengthen the immune system and help lower cholesterol and lower the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
The Tea Makers of London Dragon Well
At The Tea Makers of London, we have two versions of the Dragon Well tea: Organic and Supreme.
Our supreme version of Dragon Well tea is derived from Xifeng Village, West Lake Region, Zhejiang Province, China. Here, it is meticulously dried by hand using a traditional pan-firing method. Feted as the 'Tea of the Emperor', this stunning blend affords a pale and illuminating yellow liquor with the most gentle and pure aroma.
Our organic version is harvested in the Spring in the Zhejiang province, China. Our customers tend to love this tea and often describe it as smooth, refreshing and authentic.
The flavour of dragon well tea is fresh umami flavour with nutty undertones and hints of grassy meadow with a fresh aroma of a strong scent of toasty grass. We recommend drinking Dragon Well tea from a Yixing clay teapot for a traditional tea experience and a fuller flavour. You can also brew the tea, amongst other Chinese teas, with one of our luxury Gaiwans.
This drink can be enjoyed as a hot or cold brew, making it perfect for all year round. This loose-leaf tea works well as an after-dinner drink and pairs nicely with steamed foods, such as steamed vegetables and steamed fish.