Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review Series Green Tea 4: JingTea, Dragon Well 2009 (In a JingTea Tea-iere)

Jing Tea sells a lovely Dragon Well, which they describe thus:

Picked on 5th April 2009 from Cedar Hill garden. Our Dragon Well green tea is characterised by enticing sweet aromas of freshly plucked tea buds and teasing orchard fruit.

Dragon Well is one of the most famous green teas in China. Complex and multi-layered with warm, creamy, soft plant notes filled out by understated peach.

The traditional method of making Dragon Well is what really sets it apart. Each individual tea bud is hand-pressed and shaped in a wok to achieve the perfect level of roasting.

Certified organic by the Soil Association. Fair Trade certified by IMO Switzerland.

I invite you to visit their nicely informative Blog, which has quite a bit of information about this year's Dragon Well, including this video:

Quite nice, eh? The folks at Jing do a great job with marketing their product, making wonderful use of the Internet to spread the word on their tea.

Very typical for a good Lonjing, these leaves are brightly green, sharp, with very little broken leaf. I can't resist taking long jing leaves and munching on them as I prepare the water, because they're like tea candy. You should try this, if you haven't already.

THE PREPARATION (in the JING Tea Tea-iere)
Per the Web site instructions, 80C, 4min. I prepared this in a glass Jing Tea Tea-iere, which is a glass carafe that has a metal filter that fits nicely at the top. I have been playing a lot with this bit of teaware, and for green teas like this, the thin, glass wall allows the temperature of the water to dissipate, avoiding stewing the leaves. I used to use a French press for making tea, but it had the unfortunate side-effect of smashing the leaves down into the bottom of the carafe, which both wasted some tea and crushed the leaves, releasing some bitterness. I wouldn't advise that now, but the Tea-iere seems to solve that problem pretty nicely. It's convenient, and the carafe is pretty attractive.

The liquor is the palest green, perfectly transparent, with a sharp, bright, delightful aroma. If you enjoy beautifully aromatic teas, a good longjing is definitely something you should check out. The aroma is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this type of tea, and it can be intoxicating.

But how does it taste? Slightly nutty, a bit like almond. I experienced a lightly drying mouthfeel. JingTea's offering has quite a lot of character, with a warming, friendly-yet-crisp, vegetal tone. Next to no bitterness, and a wonderful huigan (which is a sweet aftertaste that asserts itself retronasally, after the cup has been completed) that follows me around rather a while longer than I expected.

I've not been drinking as much green tea lately as usual, and this meets me exactly where I need to be. Crisp, aromatic, complex, friendly.