Question about "Dragonwell" tea


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Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby cinemadonkey » Jan 3rd, '12, 22:53

I'm still kind of new to loose leaf tea, I got into it back in September when I got a job working at Teavana which I currently still work at and love. I haven't really delved into green teas much yet and its something I've been wanting to get more into. My question is do you think think Dragonwell is a good green tea to start off with? I see that its on a lot of tea sites and stores and it looks to me like it's the Earl Grey of green teas. I'd love your feedback, knowledge and recommendations! Thanks.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby Chip » Jan 3rd, '12, 23:02

Welcome to the forum, cd.

Dragonwell is very good starting point for greens of Chinese origin. You will find selections are quite variable in leaf form, color, aroma, taste ... quality and price.

The lower grade ones tend to be quite broken and browner and toastier, a result of longer firing to cover up inferior leaf (or bad processing).

The better ones are quite beautiful to behold leaf sets, very green in color, and more veggie to floral.

Enjoy the journey ... it goes well beyond Dragonwell.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby AdamMY » Jan 3rd, '12, 23:04

cinemadonkey wrote: My question is do you think think Dragonwell is a good green tea to start off with? I see that its on a lot of tea sites and stores and it looks to me like it's the Earl Grey of green teas.



You might want to elaborate what you mean when you make that comparison. Dragonwell is a great tea to start with, although depending on where you order from it could be quite good or even stellar, very mediocre, or worse. Earl Grey is a tea that has additional flavoring to cover up its flaws, something a dragonwell should never be.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby cinemadonkey » Jan 4th, '12, 21:06

I guess I meant that its a common green tea, not that it's low quality or anything of that sort.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby beecrofter » Jan 4th, '12, 21:09

Check out the wikipedia article "Longjing tea"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longjing_tea
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby Proinsias » Jan 4th, '12, 23:08

Dragonwell is a great introduction to green tea.

The real deal is expensive and hard to come by, if you are planning on purchasing it try to ensure it is at least a 2011 harvest that has been well stored.

I tried the real deal about 5 years ago I've only had the good stuff a few times since, 5 years later I'm still hanging around on teachat talking about tea.

I would hazard a guess that Teavana may not have the finest selection of long jing although I've never been to one of their stores.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby iannon » Jan 4th, '12, 23:31

cinemadonkey wrote:I guess I meant that its a common green tea, not that it's low quality or anything of that sort.

I think the point Adam was trying to make, and he can correct me if i am wrong, is that Dragonwell is one of those teas that id widely marketed. there are SO many grades and quality of teas that are called dragonwell/long jing, that you may get some really crappy or low grade tea if you are not careful where you order from. I had one that i nicknamed "the Deerjerky Dragonwell" so yes it is a quite "common" tea
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby AdamMY » Jan 5th, '12, 00:39

I would say very good Dragonwell is quite uncommon. But it is such a well known type of tea that nearly every non specialized vendor carries a version. But as Ian said, it really comes in all classes, and a lot o people prefer to get their greens from quite specialized vendors who offer certain care regarding the freshness of of the green tea, along with searching for quality.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby rdl » Jan 5th, '12, 00:50

iannon wrote:
cinemadonkey wrote:I guess I meant that its a common green tea, not that it's low quality or anything of that sort.

I think the point Adam was trying to make, and he can correct me if i am wrong, is that Dragonwell is one of those teas that id widely marketed. there are SO many grades and quality of teas that are called dragonwell/long jing, that you may get some really crappy or low grade tea if you are not careful where you order from. I had one that i nicknamed "the Deerjerky Dragonwell" so yes it is a quite "common" tea

i think cinemadonkey (correct me if i am mistaken) wasn't comparing tea - just comparing popularity of tea, how easily both earl grey and dragonwell can be found in tea shops. to add a point to the original question, yes dragonwell is a good tea to begin your green tea journey with, at whatever price range you feel you can afford, noting the above comments about the quality and authenticity of this tea. but why not try a sample, a range of, green teas. you can group your samples by country or taste characteristic. to keep the selection to just a few at a time i think will help you discover slowly the full range of teas out there. too many samples at once in my opinion is more a comparison test, and not the best way to acquire a taste for what you like.
good luck.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby verus » Jan 7th, '12, 20:20

I like Dragonwell, but if I have to believe some people on this forum I have only drunk the fake stuff.

The real deal is only grown from a small batch (possibly only four or five trees) of five thousand year old tea plants, the location of which is unknown safe to three ancient immortal Chinese sages, who were last seen by a French sailor in a Shanghai brothel in the year 1905 during an opium induced hallucination. The sailor said they demanded all the gold of the French fleet in exchange for one leaf of genuine, authentic Dragonwell tea.

But the fake is good enough for me. :wink:
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby AdamMY » Jan 8th, '12, 00:24

verus wrote:I like Dragonwell, but if I have to believe some people on this forum I have only drunk the fake stuff.

The real deal is only grown from a small batch (possibly only four or five trees) of five thousand year old tea plants, the location of which is unknown safe to three ancient immortal Chinese sages, who were last seen by a French sailor in a Shanghai brothel in the year 1905 during an opium induced hallucination. The sailor said they demanded all the gold of the French fleet in exchange for one leaf of genuine, authentic Dragonwell tea.

But the fake is good enough for me. :wink:



While I can not speak for everyone, I have come to believe that if you want to stick to strict definitions of real versions of certain teas, then if real versions even still exist these days just about everyone has not had any real deal tea for any big name type of Chinese Tea. I think everyone needs to create their own definitions of what is "real" enough for them. I consider a tea real enough if its grown in approximately the right area, with the right varietals, and what I understand to be an acceptable processing of that type of tea.

Even with those somewhat loose sounding definitions, I hate to say it but I feel it rules out just about all budget offerings. As I doubt any green tea that meets those qualities sells for 10 dollars for 100 grams.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby TIM » Jan 8th, '12, 00:41

verus wrote:I like Dragonwell, but if I have to believe some people on this forum I have only drunk the fake stuff.

The real deal is only grown from a small batch (possibly only four or five trees) of five thousand year old tea plants, the location of which is unknown safe to three ancient immortal Chinese sages, who were last seen by a French sailor in a Shanghai brothel in the year 1905 during an opium induced hallucination. The sailor said they demanded all the gold of the French fleet in exchange for one leaf of genuine, authentic Dragonwell tea.

But the fake is good enough for me. :wink:


Well, the famous 18 bushes are 360 something years old. You can still try them if you can shell out $160-200 per gram and have some serious connections.

http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/200 ... ng-06.html
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby fire_snake » Jan 10th, '12, 00:17

Apparently the Shi Feng here is pretty good.

http://www.redcircletea.com/redcirclete ... green.html

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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby brlarson » Jan 10th, '12, 13:18

fire_snake wrote:Apparently the Shi Feng here is pretty good.

http://www.redcircletea.com/redcirclete ... green.html

Christian


Their 2010 Shi Feng was spectacular. Their 2011 Shi Feng was delicious but it didn't have qualities that would mark it as great, which was too bad given its price. So the quality of Red Circle's Shi Feng seems to be highly variable according to my limited sample.
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Re: Question about "Dragonwell" tea

Postby fire_snake » Jan 10th, '12, 14:05

brlarson wrote:
fire_snake wrote:Apparently the Shi Feng here is pretty good.

http://www.redcircletea.com/redcirclete ... green.html

Christian


Their 2010 Shi Feng was spectacular. Their 2011 Shi Feng was delicious but it didn't have qualities that would mark it as great, which was too bad given its price. So the quality of Red Circle's Shi Feng seems to be highly variable according to my limited sample.


So there is variability even among the (arguably) better sources. Tea is full of surprises.

I find that my tastes are rather plebeian when it comes to Dragonwell. I prefer the toastier and nuttier, rather than the lighter and floral. I find that the latter lacks depth.

This might mean good things for my pocketbook.

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