A rare opportunity to try the rich, sweet and sparkling quality of true Lion's Peak Dragonwell green tea cultivated and hand-processed by life-time farmer Mrs. Li. . . .
This spring we made it to Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng mountain tea fields right as the fresh harvest was being finished. Mrs. Li’s father was one of the most respected professional tea tasters in Zhejiang, and a farmer since age 16. Mrs. Li is proud to carry on her father’s tradition of hand picking and roasting pure, organically produced Dragonwell.
The tree covered mountainside tea fields of Mrs. Li are fed by sweet natural spring water from Dragonwell, and are protected from excessive heat or sunlight, creating a sweet and crisp brew with not a trace of bitterness. At the peak of freshness, her tea changes the way that you think about green tea.
Mrs. Li and her tea fields in Dragonwell Village
The first sips are green as can be, packed with chloryphyl spinach with a taste like fine Gyokuro green tea. The aftertaste is sweet and crisp like white grape and sparkling water. The second sip reveals a strong cucumber and fresh melon flavor: juicy and refreshing.
Later sips show off the fruity, lychee profile of the tea, and a light caramel honey sweetness in the aftertaste. The liquor is full of down from the fresh buds, creating a thick and velvety mouthfeel like creamy vanilla pudding.
Read more about Mrs. Li in this article from our spring trip to China.
Date of Picking:Early April, Spring 2013, vacuum-sealed at Mrs Li's farm and air shipped to Verdant Tea, kept refrigerated for optimum freshness
Location of Picking:Shi Feng, Dragonwell Village, Zhejiang Province
What Was Picked:Early spring harvest, organically produced buds and leaves from Shifeng high mountain tea plants, hand picked and hand roasted by the Li family.
Quantity Acquired:The Li family picked a few hundred pounds total for the year of this harvest. We were lucky enough to acquire 40 pounds that they could spare.
Sourcing Agent(s):Mrs. Li, lifetime tea farmer
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.
Iced Tea (Cold Brewing)
Use about 4 grams of tea for every 12oz of water. Combine with room temperature water in a covered vessel and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Enjoy!
Iced Tea (Flash Chilled)
Use 1TB (5 grams) of tea in a 6-8oz vessel. Steep for 30 seconds with filtered water at 175 degrees. Fill a martini shaker (or equivalent) with ice, then add brewed tea and shake until well-chilled (usually 10-30 seconds). Pour out through martini-shaker top over fresh ice in a new glass and serve.