Dragonwell question


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Dragonwell question

Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 17:06

Does anyone have any experience with this variety? I bought a couple of ounces from one supplier and found it to have a very strong, smoky flavor. This was odd to me at first, but I started to enjoy it after a couple of cups. When I did more research on dragonwell, I discovered that "smoky" is not a common flavor associated with this particular kind of tea. I then found that a local tea shop served it and tried it. I found this cup to have a subtle barley flavor to it. Not smoky at all. Still confused, I ventured into Chinatown and bought two different grades of dragonwell from Ten Ren Tea. The highest grade tasted even different from the previous kinds. This one tasted very similiar to the Silver Needles white tea I had purchased about a month earlier.

Now, I know that teas of the same variety have subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in taste, but the smoky flavor has me really scratching my head. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

jesse
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Postby teachat » Jun 7th, '05, 17:06

Ten Ren is my favorite tea store, but you have to be careful about comparing their teas to others'. Most Ten Ren Tea is grown and produced in Taiwan, not the mainland of China. Thus, characteristics of their teas may be different. Ten Ren sells an organic Dragon Well which they will tell you does not come from the famous Lake District in China, but an island off the mainland. Their other Dragon Wells may be from China, but dried or fermented on Taiwan.

( BTW, I love going in and sniffing all the different types of teas. My absoulte favorites are the Summer and Winter Green Oolong Teas.

Michael Cohn
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Postby Kellian » Jun 14th, '05, 10:33

WOW!
Hey this is something I know about!! There are two types of Longjing: Xihu and zhejiang. Xihu is tea from the west lake region of Hangzhou. Zhejiang longjing is grown in Zhejiang province or other parts of China. Xihu longjing has a rich, chestnut type flavor, the leaves should fall to the bottom of the cup and be green-yellow. The zhejiang will float at the top of the cup at first, the taste is smoky because it's baked and the color is more yellow.

So you got a zhejiang longjing.

Technically zhejiang is the "cheap longjing". I don't think it's because its a lower quality tea, I just think it's cause it's less famous and more plentiful. (Xihu can only come from one region, zhejiang can come from anywhere in china). Honestly, you can get a better quality zhejiang longjing for less money, but it depends on your taste. So if you want the chestnut flavour, make sure you ask for certified Hangzhou xihu longjing, otherwise they'll probably give you the other one cause it's easier to find.
PS- Tenren should carry xihu, just ask.
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Postby PeteVu » Jul 15th, '05, 22:35

I also bought some tea from tenren and never came back. it really has a non-fresh, non-authentic flavor to it. Dragonwell or Lung Ching is actually my favorite variety of tea and tenren really messed it up.
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Postby sebastien » Jul 24th, '05, 04:05

PeteVu wrote:I also bought some tea from tenren and never came back. it really has a non-fresh, non-authentic flavor to it. Dragonwell or Lung Ching is actually my favorite variety of tea and tenren really messed it up.


Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Long Jing. Buying good and true Long Jing is hard and recquired knowledge. As mentioned by Killian, most of the long jing you will find in the west (and a lot here in China) are Zhe Jiang Long Jing and sometimes are not even made with long jing tea tree race LOL

When you buy long jing, to identify where it comes from, you need to know about the shape of leaves, its size, its color and more. Although Xi Hu is the most famous type of long jing it is further more classified into areas (west lake, long jing village, weng jia shan...)

You can email me at sebastien_leseineATyahoo.fr if you want more info
Sebastien
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How to develop a tea palate

Postby Skye » Nov 17th, '05, 12:58

I'm just entering the world of better tea via leaves rather than bags and have been doing a ton of reading on line about the differences among black, oolong, & green. My question is what is the best way to go about sampling these types and varieties within each type without ending up with a kitchen cabinet filled to the brim with tea canisters (I'm laughing because I'm almost at that point NOW).

I'm in a Chicago suburb with a fairly large Chinese population so there are a few specialty stores near me and then there is always online but there are so many vendors online that I'm not sure how to select the best seller. Any suggestions would be appreciated before I bury myself in tea leaves here. :)

I want to develop a more discerning palate and would be interested in knowing how others have gone about doing this. Thanks for your help.
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Postby Stefen » Dec 6th, '05, 16:37

west lake is one of the best varieties of this tea. Sebastian hit the nail right on the head. I'd like to add another reason why Dragon Well can differ so greatly. Like he mentioned the shape and color of the leaves is important in identifying this tea. The shape is composed of the pan frying method. This tea "roasted" by hand in something like a big wok. It takes a lot of skill to get the temperature just right. That's why the best Lung Chin is prepared by famous tea masters not their apprentices. The picking time is very important. The chinese have 24 picking cycles (solar Terms). The very first picking is the absolute best. Dragon well usually has the picking time added to it ie Dragon Well Qing Ming ("clear and bright" April 5th)

Happy hunting!
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Postby procarel » Dec 13th, '05, 13:04

I recently purchased some dragon well tea from two hills tea and am really enjoying it. It has a very mellow flavor unlike any green tea I have ever tried before. On their web site it is described as mellow, sweet and slightly nutty in flavor. I am not that good at describing flavor but that seems about right.
I noticed that the leaves were very tender after brewing so I tried eating a few and found it quite tasty. Does anyone know if that is not a good idea to injest the leaves that way. I was thinking of adding it to my steamed rice to enhance it's flavor but wasn't sure if it would be a good idea. Any thoughts? Thanks
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Postby Stefen » Dec 13th, '05, 19:39

procarel wrote:I recently purchased some dragon well tea from two hills tea and am really enjoying it. It has a very mellow flavor unlike any green tea I have ever tried before. On their web site it is described as mellow, sweet and slightly nutty in flavor. I am not that good at describing flavor but that seems about right.
I noticed that the leaves were very tender after brewing so I tried eating a few and found it quite tasty. Does anyone know if that is not a good idea to injest the leaves that way. I was thinking of adding it to my steamed rice to enhance it's flavor but wasn't sure if it would be a good idea. Any thoughts? Thanks


Japanese actually pickle their tea leaves. I don't see why eating it would be a problem. Just as long as its fresh and hasn't been sitting around for hours. Restaurants often spice rice with tea also. Ground up tea is also used in pastries. Bon Appetite!
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Postby jogrebe » Dec 13th, '05, 19:49

procarel wrote:I noticed that the leaves were very tender after brewing so I tried eating a few and found it quite tasty. Does anyone know if that is not a good idea to injest the leaves that way. I was thinking of adding it to my steamed rice to enhance it's flavor but wasn't sure if it would be a good idea. Any thoughts? Thanks


Nothing to worry about this came up earlier in the eating tea leaves thread. Also this article appears to imply that one gets more health benefit by eating the leaves in addition to drinking the tea brewed from them.
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Postby procarel » Dec 13th, '05, 23:18

Jogrebe and Stefen, thanks for your quick replies to my question about eating the tender Dragon Well tea leaves. I assumed that since the leaves were so tender that they were probably okay to eat but it is good to here from you both as well as the interesting article you pointed me to. Thanks again!
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Postby Lich » Dec 31st, '05, 19:01

I've recently been to HangZhou and gotten some Xihu Long Jing. I'm totally in love with it and went to TenRen to check it out. But it smell totally different and was instantly put off. Thanks for the person that explained why. Anyone know where I can get some real Xihu Long Jing?

I've always read somewhere that it's suppose to have a fruity taste, which the one I got doesn't. And I'm now confused about the fruity part.

Someone told me once that eating tea leaves isn't good for you. But the Dragonwells are very tender, and sometimes I just eat it anyway. Shouldn't hurt I think.
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Postby Cyphre » Feb 6th, '06, 19:45

Try buying some Dragonwell at www.holymtn.com . I have found them to be a very goo dplace. Dragonwell is by far my favorate green tea. I have tried the diffrent quality they sell on this site. Although they are all good the Super Fine quality is the best for my tastes.
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Postby illium » Feb 7th, '06, 12:59

Regarding Long Jing - the information given so far is correct. It's one of the teas you really need to pay attention to your sources for. There is sooo much variance there, and it's also not the most robust tea when it comes to storage. It is likely to change it's character just do to improper storage. Some teas don't have a huge difference between "fresh" and "not so fresh"... but with Long Jing, it's really noticeable. So if your supplier doesn't ensure that his stock is rotating quickly, you can end up with some pretty crappy tea. So, if you find a good supplier, stick with them, and make sure that they sell enough to keep thier stock fresh.

Also, depending on when the leaf was picked during the season, and how careful the tea makers were about it's oxidation period, the tea could be very smokey, or very light, very astringent, or very nutty... Check the leaf size for it's age, and check the colour for it's oxidation. A good Long Jing will have a lot of lighter coloured overtones, but generally be a emerald green ranging to a darker green. The dry leaves will be very uniform and thin. The dry leaves shoudl be very fragrant, and when drinking it, there should be a very complicated layering of flavours, so that you can easily discern many levels to the flavours. A slight smokey or nutty overtone should be the first impression, followed by the astringency of the tannins, and then finishing with a soft fruity sweetness. Overall the flavour should be very full and balanced, without leaning too heavily on any of those three components. Through multiple brewings you'll notice the flavours fall off in that order as well, losing the nuttiness/smokiness first, then the astringency and finally being left with a smooth and sweet tea, though it'll be rather weak by this point.

Anyhow, regarding Skye's comment about how to try out some teas without filling your cupboards with tins... That's just a symptom of the large retail distribution system that most US tea companies use. If you go to a smaller loose leaf tea shop, you can probably get small samples for free, or a very cheap price. Adagio sells little sample tins for all thier teas. Also, you could search out a coffee or tea house with a good selection of loose leaf teas and just try a cup of whatever tea you're interested in.

I'm not fishing for business, but I happen to be a tea salesman. I regularly give out free samples. My customers can ask for samples of any of my teas, and I'll send them enough for a cup or two of each tea, at no cost, trusting that they will find at least one tea that they can't live without. I specialize in high quality Chinese teas, so I happen to have Long Jing in my stock right now. The Long Jing I carry is a ZheJiang Long Jing, so if you're interested in that one I could send out a sample to anyone who's interested. As for XiHu Long Jing, I can get that one too, but don't have any in stock right now. One of the services my company does is to track down whatever wild or crazy tea request you might have, in person, in China. So far, we've managed to find everything we've been asked for. So, feel free to send me your questions! I love the tea sleuthing adventure!

my email: illium37@yahoo.com or datong@happypanda.be

Hope that helps,

Troy
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Postby Phyll » Feb 24th, '06, 19:11

I went to our local Los Angeles Chinatown to get some Long Jing. I found 3 types: 2 Xihu (1lb, prepackaged) and one from Taiwan. The Xihu ones are more expensive at $65 and $48 for the 1lb package. The Taiwan one was $38/lb and you can buy by the ounce. Since I'm kinda new to Long Jing, I thought I'd try 2oz of the Taiwan first. When brewed, it was quite good, although I thought the aroma of the infusion was on the light grassy and smoky side. The leaves opened up whole to a greenish-yellowish color. Is this a good sign? The dried leaves smell fragrant and fresh in the container.

Now I'm on a mission to try different types/grades of Long Jing.

Is it true that there are 5 villages in the Xihu region that produce the "grand cru" of Long Jing leaves?

When I buy, how do I know which area/village the leaves are from?

Is there a particular brand I should know about?

About freshness (mentioned above), do I have to ask for the vintage year or something?

How can one get the Ming Chin Long Jing (Before Ching Ming Dragon Well) and the Yu Chien Long Jing (Before Rain Dragon Well) here in the US?

Thanks!

~ Phyll
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