Ming Qian Meijiawu Village Dragonwell (2019)

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Ming Qian Meijiawu Village Dragonwell (2019)

from 23.00

Simply superb. Fresh, deeply aromatic, thick, and delicious. This is the essence of Chinese green tea, and the essence of spring.

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There is a reason that Longjing (or Dragonwell) is one of China’s most beloved green teas. There is nothing in the tea world quite like its fresh, pre-Qingming version. Named after the village of its origin (Longjing in the region of Huangzhou in Zhejiang Province), Dragonwell is known for the remarkable, completely flat shape of its dry leaves. After plucking and sorting (only the tiny, young buds and the adjacent leaf make the cut), the tea is exposed to high heat while being firmly and repeatedly pressed against the sides of the wok.

There are several legends surrounding Longjing. The origin of this style has to do with the Qianlong Emperor (the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty) who, while watching villagers in the West Lake area pick tea, received word that his mother was ill. He quickly shoved some leaves into his pocket and rushed back to Beijing. When he arrived, his mother noticed the strong aroma of tea on him, and asked him to brew her a cup of the now flattened leaves — which immediately nursed her back to health. Another legend has it that the name Longjing — which translates literally as “dragon’s well” — was named after a well containing unusually dense, pure water which, after a rainfall when the lighter rainwater would float to the surface, would sometimes form a sinuous, shifting, dragon-like pattern above the well water itself.

In any case, all of these legends live on in the actual, present-day experience of this wondrous tea. Studies have shown that Longjing is, in fact, more healthful than other teas, containing the highest amount of catechins and among the highest concentration of theanine and amino acids of any tea in the world. The liquid that it yields is thick, dense, and sinuous, like the well water from which its name derives.

The highest quality Longjing, such as this one from Meijiawu Village, is picked in early spring just after a rain. It yields a gloriously aromatic, jade, luxuriant drink that is both mellow and powerful and has strong notes of roasted chestnut, butter, and grass.