The fresh 2015 Spring harvest of Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell will be here soon! The tasting notes below are from Spring 2014.
Mrs. Li’s 2015 Dragonwell will be featured in our May Classic and Bundle Tea of the Month Club subscription boxes.
Mrs. Li is one of the warmest and kindest people we know in China. Her father was one of the foremost professional tasters in all of Zhejiang, responsible for officially grading Dragonwell. She has studied picking tea, processing tea and tasting tea with her father since age eight. Hand-picked in Shi Feng, Longjing Village, this 1st picking of the season is usually saved for government officials and Hong Kong businessmen.
The finest and most valuable Dragonwell in the world is surprisingly light by western standards. In China, the most sought after green teas are all about a fine and subtle sweetness, and a long, drawn out aftertaste and crisp texture. This is Mrs. Li’s first picking of the season, selected from her highest-elevation tea plants and carefully hand-finished. Mrs. Li’s First Picking Dragonwell is a Pre-QingMing harvest, picked before the QingMing Festival (April 5th) this year.
Drinking such a prized green tea is a quiet and meditative experience- a chance to listen to the subtle tasting notes, and appreciate the flavor imparted by the air, water and soil of Dragonwell. The bright and beautifully green flavor of this 2014 Spring harvest epitomizes the flavor profile of Shi Feng Longjing tea.
The dry leaves smell intoxicating: sweet and addictive vanilla bring to mind ice cream and bourbon. Steeping, the leaves call to mind buttery saffron, almond extract and fresh radiccio greens. The beautiful jade green brew is full of down from the fresh buds, and the first sips evoke cashew, lychee, a hint of dry white grape and sesame. Later steepings evoke cream soda with juicy notes of dragoneye and starfruit.
Date of Picking:1st spring harvest from March 15-16th, picked before the QingMing Festival
Location of Picking:Shi Feng Peak, Dragonwell Village, Zhejiang Province
What Was Picked:Perfectly intact fresh leaf and bud clusters, carefully hand pressed
Quantity Acquired:Mrs. Li has promised us less than ten pounds of this tea to share
Mrs. Li explains how to brew her Shi Feng Dragonwell
Recommended Dragonwell Brewing: Add about 3-5g of tea leaves to a tempered glass tumbler. Heat the best, sweetest water you can find to 175 degrees. Slowly pour the water into the cup unti it is half full, then fill the cup the rest of the way in three sweeping pours to agitate the leaves. Begin sipping immediately , blowing the leaves out of the way. Refill with water when the cup gets down to 1/3. Never allow the leaves to sit wet exposed to the air by keeping your glass full. Do not cover your glass.
Gongfu Brewing: Do not heat your gaiwan. Add 4 grams of leaves for a medium gaiwan. Use 175 degree water. No need for a rinse. Steep for 3 seconds. Increase steep time after the third steeping by 3 seconds or to taste. Enjoy at least 6 infusions.
For green tea, filtered water is preferred. Being lighter, and also more grassy, the tea has a tendency to get overwhelmed by hard water taste, or have bitter notes brought out.
As a side note, the beautiful buds are sweet and tender to eat plain or tossed in a salad with a bit of sesame oil after the tea is fully steeped out. Use a glass vessel to brew this tea and get the full experience of the downy buds dancing in the water.