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Also known as Long Jing, Dragon Well is the most renowned Chinese green tea. It’s name is derived from Dragon’s Well landmark in the West Lake area of Zhejiang, which is the origin of the tea.
A short trip outside of Shanghai, lies the tranquil city of Hongzhou with its sloping hilled terraces lined with row upon row of tea plants. On a peaceful and sunny afternoon dozens of mostly female workers can be seen hunched over the leaves, gently plucking them from the branches. This is Dragon Well tea, the most famous green tea in the world.
The harvest time for Longjing tea is a short six weeks, with the first two weeks producing the superior grade. Once picked, the leaves must be hand roasted the same day. A roaster uses his or her bare hands in order to feel both the heat and the dryness of the leaves. Once roasted, the leaves are ready for immediate consumption.
It was widely known that to achieve the best taste from Longjing, spring water from the "Hu Pao Quan" was to be used. Water is boiled then cooled to about 80 degrees Celsius before being used to brew the tea leaves. Tea experts at Xi Hu insist on using fine china or glasses to brew Longjing (minerals in porous earthenware such as Zisha may disrupt the taste of the tea).
When steeped, the tea produces a yellow-green color, a gentle, pure aroma, and a rich flavor. The tea contains Vitamin C, amino acids, and has one of the highest concentration of catechins among teas, second only to white teas.