Tea Classics: Dragonwell

by Jason Walker on April 25, 2013

in Member Content

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(Part I of X in a series on understanding classic teas)

DragonwellOther names: Longjing, Long Ching, Lung Ching, or other combinations of these spellings

Origin: Hangzhou area of Zhejiang Province China. Key villages or areas include MeiJiaWu (梅家坞) and Shi Feng (狮峰). For more thorough research on production areas and cultivars used, I recommend these articles from Life in Teacup and PeonyTS.

Dry leaves:

  • Less than 1 inch in length, pressed flat by pan-searing. The leaf in the upper right corner of the picture (right) is the more ideal size and shape.
  • Lush green of early spring grass, avoiding leaves that show signs of yellowing or dull color
  • Rice aromas of wild rice or fragrant Thai rice

Wet leaves:

  • Wet leaves appear greener than dry
  • Leaves open to reveal a bud and 1-2 leaves


Written descriptions of flavor generally record green vegetable and toasty, nutty notes. These include associations with green bean, bok choy, arugula, and artichoke. Chestnuts and toast are often used to explain the toasty-nutty aspect, but toasted rice and cashews may also be mentioned.

Occasionally, mention of marine flavors (e.g. seaweed, scallop, etc.) and grass or clover may be included. Inclusion of marine or excessively grassy components in dragonwell may be more indicative of lower quality than authentic taste.

Time and conditions of harvest may drastically affect the range, duration, and intensity of how a dragonwell tastes. Ming qian are highly prized, but many people also prefer later harvests (like yu qian) because flavor intensities are more pronounced. See this post that explains taste and differences in harvest time.

And below are visual representations of how taste elements express themselves (in relation to each other) in dragonwell. Note that markers on the spectrum place dragonwell on a spectrum with any other unflavored, un-blended quality tea.


Dragonwell Flavor Wheel1

Dragonwell Flavor Wheel2


Compare teas with others on the Scoresheet.
Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings.
Want to see a tea reviewed? Contact me: jason@walkerteareview.com

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