Wednesday, April 1, 2009

REVIEW: China Qingshan Lung Ching (Dragonwell), Tea Gschwendner


This is the famed Dragonwell tea I've heard so much about. Apparently, the story goes, the tea has some relationship with a well, in which lived a dragon, or something. Maybe the dragon liked a good cup of tea?

Sam Ritchey prepared us for this tea, saying to expect an oceanic flavor, with a salty, nautical smell, I guess.

First thing i noticed was the strong, wonderful smell as the tea was brought to my table. I want to mention here, the scent is the first thing I kept noticing about all these teas (except the first one, which was very quiet in its smell). It was such a delight to keep being carried on these scents, which were so different from one another.

This Dragonwell had a very fragrant, dry smell.

Interesting: the green leaves (fairly big in size, as all the leaves in this collection were) were flat, instead of rounded or coiled like the others; like they were pressed in a book. When I asked about it, Sam said that the teas were seared in a wok-like pan and pressed by hand against the side of the wok. Because there is a little bit of tea oil on the side of the pan, the leaves are actually fried in oil, in a sense, and the resultant tea has a tiny bit of oil that floats on the surface. There was a lovely scent to the wet leaves: vegetal, ash. I know, "vegetal, ash" doesn't sound lovely, but it was.

[NOTE: Updated to correct the spelling of Sam's last name.]