Dragon Well is the most famous green tea in China. Long Jing or Lung Ching is the Chinese name for this green flat-leaf tea. Discover what makes this tea so well-loved.
There’s no mistaking the buttery yellow liquor of this tea. Dragon Well (Long Jing) Chinese green tea with its flattened spear-like leaves open up to reveal two leaves when brewed. One of China’s best and well-known teas. It tastes a little like toasted nuts with some vegetal notes.
If you don’t like green tea you haven’t tried Dragon Well. It will transform your love for green tea. Here's why.
Common Names: Dragon Well, Long Jing, Lung Ching (Chinese Dragon Tea)
Profile: Pale yellow liquor. Soft, rich, toasty, with a chestnut aroma. Vegetal sweetness.
Region: Hangzhou in the West Lake region of Zhejiang province of China.
Dry leaf: Flat leaf or bird's peak budsets, smooth and slick to the touch.
What is Dragon Well Tea?
Dragon Well is one of China's 10 most famous teas. It's a pan-baked tea over hot woks. The leaves are flattened during the heating process. To be authentic, Long Jing, which literally translates as dragon well, must be grown in the Zhejiang province of China. Much like champagne, if it is grown anywhere else it is not authentic.
Long Jing is a spring tea picked in early April, following Qing Ming, the traditional Chinese holiday for paying respects to their ancestors. Qing Ming falls fifteen days after the Spring Equinox, which is usually the first week in April.
In Chinese tea culture, this day divides the fresh green tea by their picking dates. Any tea picked before this date is called Pre Qing Ming and is very expensive. Pre Qing Ming tea is also called Imperial Long Jing.
How Do You Brew Dragon Well Green Tea?
Use 6 grams of tea leaf for a 30-ounce teapot. About 4 grams for a 16-ounce cup and 2 grams for an 8-ounce cup.
Water Temperature: 185° F (85°C)
- Pour water over tea leaves in a circular motion so the heat of the water will be even over the tea leaves. Tea leaves can be reused multiple times.
- First infusion: 2-3 minutes. Second infusion 3- 5 minutes. Subsequent infusions can be longer depending on how strong you like your tea.
- Always pour water slowly and in a circle on high-end green tea. You can see the leaves start to drop after about 2 minutes. The liquor becomes pale fresh green.
- If you want to make it stronger wait until the color is richer. If your pot has a filter you can remove it when your tea is strong enough for you.
- If you are preparing in a cup or glass you can drink straight from your cup without removing the tea leaves once they settle to the bottom. Your tea will never go bitter with a quality green tea.
- You can drink straight from your cup after two minutes when all the leaves sink to the bottom of your cup.
- Leave about one-fifth of your tea in your cup or pot before you make your next infusion. You can reuse the same serving of tea leaves at least three-four times.
I prefer brewing in my clear insulated glass. It allows you to see the beauty of the leaf and the color of the liquor while brewing. It comes with a glass steeper to easily remove the brewed leaves and a lid.
What does Dragon Well tea taste like?
Dragon Well tea has a fresh, snap-pea and slightly chestnut fragrance. It has a toasty smooth flavor with delicate nutty notes. It's never astringent or bitter-tasting when brewed correctly. The lightly roasted subtle flavor reminds me of a little bit of a meadow.
True Dragon Well tea has a signature chestnut aroma. This is an easy way to authenticate legitimate Long Jing tea. It stands up to multiple brews and does better with short brew times. It's one of my favorite green teas.
What is Dragon Well tea good for?
Long before our beloved tea was a beverage, it was used as a medicine and a culinary flavoring.
- Cooking Tip:
Did you know you can baste your roast with leftover tea?
Dragon Well is perfect with a roasted chicken. Add the tea to the pan at the beginning of the cooking time. Simply baste the roast with the tea mixed in with the cooking juices. It couldn't be any easier. Source.
- Culinary Pairing:
Dragon Well has a nutty quality with little astringency and pairs well with many kinds of cheese, such as Camembert or Brie. You might want to try pairing it with Gruyere, one of my favorite cheeses. It's lovely.
Dragon Well also pairs nicely with fruits, custards, and seafood. To learn more about tea and food you might want to read Culinary Tea by Cynthia Gold. If you love tea and love cooking this book is a must-have.
Although I've yet to try it Cynthia even advocates steeping Dragon Well in vodka.
Craving a little downtime? That's why I love rainy days. It's an excuse to just take it slow.
The fresh sweet fragrance of the rain with its soft pattering sound makes it a perfectly cozy day for cocooning, drinking Dragon Well tea and taking in a good read.
Dragon Well Tea Benefits
Scientific research supports the role of tea in improving health.
- In 2014 an analysis of 13 studies indicated that green tea consumption significantly lowers blood pressure. Source.
- Tea may improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases by 10%.
- Drinking tea may help mitigate the negative effects of high-fat meals on blood vessel function. The most recent study published in the Journal of Food Science in February 2018 showed that the harmful effects of a high-fat diet on your intestinal (gut) flora can be negated by the polyphenols in green tea.
- Drinking several cups of green tea daily may help burn 100 calories a day. The same study suggests obesity and metabolic disorder associated with high-fat diets may be helped by green tea.
- Tea has anticancer properties: Men who drank more than 1.5 cups of green tea per day had a 70% lower colon cancer risk.
Does Dragon Well tea have caffeine?
- Caffeine Content:
According to the Tea Advisory Panel, tea has about half the amount of caffeine as coffee, about 50 mg per cup.
One specific study on Long Jing Shi Feng (Dragon Well) found that 5 grams (⅙ ounce) steeped at 185° F (85°C) for 4.5 minutes contains 48 mg of caffeine. Source.
It's also important to know that high-grade Dragon Well tea contains theanine, which has a wonderful calming effect naturally balancing the caffeine. This is why the caffeine in tea does not leave you with that jittery feeling.
Where to Buy Dragon Well Tea
I prefer to buy tea in person where I can taste the teas before I buy them. But with specialty teas, that's not always possible so I purchase from some of my favorite online tea shops.
Related: 10 Best Online Tea Shops
You'll find some excellent offerings of Dragon Well tea from some of my favorite go-to tea merchants:
Drink tea and be well.