Verdant Tea

2022 Update from the Tea Fields

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2022 Update from the Tea Fields

2022 Update from the Tea Fields

Dragonwell green teas are picked and on the way!

March 22, 2022

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Spring is here!

Li Xiaoping in Dragonwell picked her first tea on March 8th this year, several weeks earlier than usual thanks to a warm and early spring coming to the mountains of Shi Feng. Typically the prized pre-Qingming picking doesn’t happen until mid to late March, so this is a remarkable year, with unique weather that Li Xiaoping says made for sweet, rich, aromatic tea.

photos courtesy of Li Xiaoping, March 2022

Li Xiaoping’s daughter and granddaughter came to help this year, bringing the whole family together, while Shui Huaimin hand-pressed and fired the fresh tea on his wok, relying on decades of experience to lock in the vibrant flavor without applying too much heat.

Classic Dragonwell harvests followed the first pickings around March 17th and 18th, making them incredibly early pre-Qingming pickings, packed with classic Dragonwell minerality and fresh flavor.

With the Dragonwell harvest complete, Li Xiaoping and her family get to enjoy a well-deserved break. Mrs. Li is adamant on only picking her plants in early spring and allowing them to rest for the whole summer and autumn, ensuring the richest most flavorful harvests, but keeping her yield preciously low.

We’ve reserved as much Dragonwell as possible, and we are getting it packed up and shipped from our office in Laoshan to the US asap. We hope to be sipping it here no later than May.

Historically, early season Dragonwell tends to sell out on pre-order before arrival, so if you want to taste it fresh, be sure to reserve your portion of the harvest! We’ll prep your box and forward it on the day it arrives.

  1. 2022 Shi Feng Longjing #43
    2022 Shi Feng Longjing #43
    Dragonwell varietal #43 has been carefully bred and selected in the last fifty years as a new tea well suited to Shi Feng’s terroir. It buds earlier and in colder weather than classic Longjing Qunti varietal and yields yellower plumper buds that make for gorgeous steeping in glassware. While classic Dragonwell is all about rocky mineral texture, the new #43 is a crisp, bright focused experience centered around stronger flavor and aroma and more pronounced sweetness. Mrs. Li’s #43 varietal is true Shi Feng Dragonwell, growing on one of the highest slopes of the tiny microclimate that Emperor Qianlong declared as one of the best in the world for tea. The soil is full of quartz and white sand while the water comes from natural mountain springs, yielding a flavor that simply can’t be matched outside of Shi Feng itself.
  2. 2022 Shi Feng Dragonwell Black Tea
    2022 Shi Feng Dragonwell Black Tea

    For the fifth year in a row, Li Xiaoping is sharing her new Dragonwell Black Tea! She uses the same delicate early buds as her famous green tea, hand-picked from the slopes of Shi Feng, raised on sweet mountain spring water and covered in high elevation mist to protect against sunlight. After light twisting and rolling, this sweet, rich and distinctly mineral-laden tea is then set out in bamboo baskets and loosely covered for ten to fifteen hours and allowed to oxidize in the afternoon heat. This oxidation process brings out savory malty flavors in Li Xiaoping’s Dragonwell that show the unique texture of the region in a completely different light.

  3. 2022 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43
    2022 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43

    #43 Varietal Dragonwell was specifically bred and selected to bud even earlier than classic Dragonwell in Shi Feng and yields yellower plumper buds that make for gorgeous steeping in glassware. While classic Dragonwell is all about rocky mineral texture, the new #43 is a crisp, bright focused experience centered around stronger flavor and aroma and more pronounced sweetness. Mrs. Li's first picking of the year is full of all the nutrients and sugars stored by the plant all winter long and offers a more complex, sweet and subtle taste experience. It has a longer aftertaste and thicker texture than later harvests. The soil is full of quartz and white sand while the water comes from natural mountain springs, yielding a flavor that simply can’t be matched outside of Shi Feng itself.

  4. 2022 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell
    2022 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell

    This early spring tea is all about a fine and subtle sweetness, and a long, drawn out aftertaste and crisp texture. Cool spring weather produces a small harvest of truly sweet tea. This is Mrs. Li’s first picking of the season, carefully hand-finished by her husband, Shui Huamin. Her true original cultivar Dragonwell (Longjing Qunti) grows on the mountain slopes of Shi Feng and draws in sweet mountain spring water.

  5. Tasting True Dragonwell with Mrs Li