Dragonwell question


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Postby PeteVu » Mar 6th, '06, 17:09

sounds like you already know more about lung ching than I do. The best advice I can give you is to ask the person you are buying tea from. They are usually very knowledgeable and friendly. Im pretty sure you have to be to sell tea.
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Postby Phyll » Mar 13th, '06, 14:59

I'm currently travelling in Guangzhou/Canton and found several sources or "Ming Chien Lung Ching" and "Yu Chien Lung Ching". Great stuff...today I've just drunk the recently released (Feb '06 - March '06 harvest) Ming Chien. Depending on which area they come from, these Ming Chien range from USD$200 to $500 per pound at retail...ouch!
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Postby MarshalN » Mar 15th, '06, 18:58

I think illium is mostly correct and I will echo his sentiment. You have to be very careful with what you are drinking and for the most part, it comes with experience after having tried a number of different types of dragonwell before you really know what's a good or bad one.

I think there are some basics that haven't really been talked about here though. Dragonwells should be flat leaves, with one leaf and buds (two or three) per tea leaf. The leaves should look like little flattened versions of the leaf. They should also not be broken up but should be whole -- at least if it's the better stuff. The smell should be strong, although it's really hard to describe what it smells like. The colour should be a light green if it's a mingqian (meaning picked before Qingming, pronounced ming-chien), and a bit more yellow/darker if it's a yuqian. Really good dragonwell will also cost a pretty penny, costing easily $200-300 USD a pound.

The more pedestrian versions would be a bit darker in colour. Generally speaking, I think the darker the colour, the worse the grade, although that's really not the best way to tell.

The taste of the tea actually becomes a bit lighter as you go up in quality. The lower grade dragonwell, in my experience anyway, are stronger in flavour, maybe more smokey, and bit more astringent, but the flavour is clearer and more "pure" in the better quality stuff. There should be a nice fragrance that really covers your mouth when you drink it (if not, water might be too hot) and a certain high fragrance-sweetness if you smell your dried cup after you drain the tea.

TenRen is NOT a good place to get tea, although it is conveneint. I say there are online stores that sell better stuff at lower prices for consumers in the States. TenRen sells a lot of Taiwanese teas that approximate the real stuff from the mainland, but the tastes are fundamentally different, as some have already noted in this thread. I would suggest trying a lot of samplers -- the more you try, the more likely you are going to be able to appreciate it when you do get to try the good stuff. It's really the only way to really learn about tea, IMHO.
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Postby Phyll » Mar 16th, '06, 12:42

MarshalN wrote:
TenRen is NOT a good place to get tea, although it is conveneint. I say there are online stores that sell better stuff at lower prices for consumers in the States. TenRen sells a lot of Taiwanese teas that approximate the real stuff from the mainland, but the tastes are fundamentally different, as some have already noted in this thread. I would suggest trying a lot of samplers -- the more you try, the more likely you are going to be able to appreciate it when you do get to try the good stuff. It's really the only way to really learn about tea, IMHO.


As far as Long Ching goes, I agree that Ten Ren is not the best source. However, I wouldn't discount the quality of Taiwanese oolong from the high moutainous growing regions. Taiwan's fine Tung Ting Oolong is a "real" tea...yes, different from mainland Oolongs, but superb too, IMO.

Also about Lung Ching, I learned that the more expensive Ming Chien Lung Ching are short, greenish-whitish, fat (thick), hairy, and with whole leaves and whole buds (when dry). The smell is of strong nutty flavor interlaced with floral characters. It is clean tasting, light, and smooth going down.

It IS very difficult to distinguish a top grade to the next grade, unless you are experienced. I couldn't tell why a Lung Ching I recently tried costs USD $400/lb and the next one I tried costs $300/lb.
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Postby Vector » Mar 20th, '06, 13:00

I overheard from a friend of mine from beijing, that there are three types of westlake long jing, grown of three different areas, one is an inferior brand, and the other two are quite nice, some averaging over 200 dollars per pound! These distinctions could be made, when I ordered tea from two totally different websites, that stated that the appearance in the superior quality is a powdery coating on the superior tea, inferiors do not have it, or if they do, not as much, which she also stated to me as well. And the smells are similar, but the more expensive ones have a smooth grassy flair to their scent. maybe this can help in the distinction of some good tea or econimical tea.

Also I went to TenRen, (heaven, man in chinese,) yeah if you buy that kind, you get what you pay for. :P it's not even grown in the westlake region!
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Postby Chip » Apr 23rd, '06, 15:07

...sorry, I'm coming into this discussion a little late (just joined group), but it is never too late to discuss perhaps China's most famous tea. DW is probably my fav tea, and I have enjoyed reading all of your entries. I haved learned much on a tea that I thought I new a lot about...and I will apply my new found knowledge to further my enjoyment of this great tea. THANX!!!

I have many (yes, too many...or not enough) DW's of all grades and prices and sources, and I could not describe any of them as smokey in the same sense as say gunpowder green is smokey. I could describe some of my cheaper ones as more earthy, but not really offensively so. Perhaps some readers' preparation is contributing to this sensation, or the tea may have been contaminated or poorly made. I do prepare DW slightly differently than my other greens. I use cooler water at 160-170 degrees for my first infusion for 3 min, and 170-180 degrees for 4 min for my 2nd infusion. This seems to bring out more sweetness/nuttiness and less earthiness and makes for a more pleasant cup. All other greens, except Japanese, I use 180 degree water for my 1st infusion.

DW from Taiwan cannot really be fairly compared with Chinese DW. They are different animals. I collect Asian tea tins, and Tenren has some nice ones, though their teas that I have tried are shy of outstanding. Tins are not a great way to store or even your purchase your finest tea. The tea is exposed to too much air each and every time you open the tin. Freshness for all green teas is critical especially if you just shelled out +$20 for 100gr. I use a cheap small sample tins from Upton for each tea I have for regular use and store my primary reserve in airtight resealable bags.

...thanx for listening.
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Postby MarshalN » Apr 23rd, '06, 15:39

Welcome chip! Like you said, any discussion of longjing is never out of date. It's a staple of tea drinking.

I agree with you that the best is if you store it in an airtight container and never open it except to remove a batch for immediate consumption. I don't really drink enough longjing for it to matter, since I only drink maybe 100-200g a year of this stuff.

Since you seem to drink a lot, I'd strongly suggest you buying a gaiwan and a drinking cup and try to brew it that way instead. It yields different flavours and will accentuate the differences among each of the longjing that you have. You can buy a cheap gaiwan from a variety of places, and there are plenty of people here who can help you out on how to make the best cup of tea from one.

As for the three different regions... my guess is the classification of things like "Hangzhou longjing", "Westlake longjing", "Lion Mountain longjing" and the like. I don't think there's a very good, generally agreed upon scheme, although in general, the more specific the place is in the name (Lion Mountain, for example), the better it is likely to be. At the end of the day, you have to try the stuff to know for sure.
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Postby Chip » Apr 24th, '06, 16:56

...so tell me MarshalN, have have you cornered the gaiwan market. I will try one as soon as I find a nice one. I would like to see it in person instead of ordering over the internet...
It would be a nice change to my normal ritual...always something new to learn.
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Postby MarshalN » Apr 24th, '06, 20:10

If you're close to NYC, you can go to TenRen to buy a gaiwan if you feel like spluring. There's also a general store in NYC Chinatown called Great Wall that might sell a few (they're on the NE corner of Canal and I think Broadway). They also sell some loose tea, sometimes with some reasonably decent greens.
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Re: Dragonwell question

Postby cherryking » Feb 7th, '07, 04:26

teachat wrote: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?


The real long Jing taste is smooth, sweety, mellow taste with nuts aroma. If your Long jing is smoky, it show your long jing is not the real or very worst grade.
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