Longjing Tea: The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Dragon Well Tea

women pricking dragon well tea
Longjing Tea, also known as Dragon Well tea, is more than just a renowned name among the top 10 Chinese teas—it symbolizes culture and refinement.
Often referred to as Dragon Tea or Chinese Dragon Tea, it carries a legacy as rich as its unique flavor.
It isn’t merely a beverage; it’s a window into a captivating tradition, steeped in history and cherished across generations.
It’s a simple yet profound pleasure, seamlessly blending the serenity of ancient traditions with a refreshing taste that delights the senses.
Are you ready to delve into the serene simplicity of Dragon Well Tea? Join us as we explore this extraordinary green tea, a true gem in the world of teas.

Longjing Tea Plantation

Nestled in the heart of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, lies the birthplace of Longjing Tea, China’s most esteemed green tea.
This green treasure, synonymous with prestige and quality, owes its exceptional character to the unique terroirs of its plantations.
a white cup and saucer filled with longjing tea and a few loose leaves
Intriguingly, the geographical diversity of these plantations categorizes Longjing Tea into 3 distinct types, each with its own charm:
  1. West Lake Tea Plantation: The scenic splendor of the West Lake area and its adjacent villages in Hangzhou crafts the famed West Lake Longjing tea.
  2. Yuezhou Tea Plantation: In the quaint villages of Yuecheng, Xinchang, and Shengzhou within Shaoxing City, the Yuezhou or Zhejiang Longjing tea is cultivated.
  3. Qiantang Tea Plantation: The lush landscapes of Xiaoshan, Binjiang, and Yuhang in Hangzhou give rise to the Qiantang Longjing or Hangzhou Longjing tea.
The geographical nuances of these plantations significantly influence the tea trees’ growth environment, thereby subtly shaping the quality and flavor of the tea.
This, in turn, is reflected in Longjing tea’s varying grades and prices, each grade narrating its own story of cultivation and craftsmanship.

West Lake Tea Plantation: West Lake Longjing Tea

grade 1 longjing tea
West Lake Longjing tea grows mainly around the beautiful West Lake Scenic Spot and its nearby small villages and towns.
In simple terms, these areas are not just plantations but special geographical indication production areas. What does this mean for West Lake Longjing Tea?
The national standard (GBT18650-2008) says that we can only call the tea ‘West Lake Longjing Tea’ if it comes from these areas.
Also, we need to make the tea using the traditional frying method.
This rule ensures that enjoying a cup of West Lake Longjing is the real deal, full of tradition and quality.

1st production area: top-grade Longjing tea plantation

The top-notch West Lake Longjing tea comes from some exceptional places.
farmars are picking longjing tea in the tea mountain
Shifeng Mountain: The Birthplace of Shifeng Longjing Tea
Shifeng Mountain is a special spot for West Lake Longjing in Zhejiang Province. It has a mild and wet climate with lots of gentle rain.
The average yearly temperature is about 16.1°C, with humidity usually over 80% and annual rainfall around 1,500mm.
The soil here is a mix of broken Xihu Quartz rock, sandy soil, and loess, full of trace elements, great for growing high-quality tea.
The tea leaves from here are rich in aromatic oils.
They look short, plump, and flat, with a soft green color, tiny hairs, a sweet taste, and a lasting fragrance. Read Shi Feng Long Jing Tea Guide for more details.
Longjing Village: West Lake Longjing Tea
Longjing Village, tucked away in the southwest of the West Lake Scenic Spot, is surrounded by mountains and has about 800 acres of high-altitude tea plantations.
The rich soil and the unique landscape protects the area from harsh weather, creating a misty environment ideal for tea growth.
This perfect mix of geography and quality water makes Longjing Village’s tea special.
Yunqi Village: Yunqi Longjing Tea
Yunqi Longjing tea grows on the hills near Yunqi Village.
This village is hidden in Xianlin Town, Hangzhou’s western suburb, and is rich in natural beauty.
With 500 acres of tea gardens, Yunqi produces over 40 tons of dry tea annually.
Hupao Spring (Tiger Spring): Hupao Longjing (Tiger Spring) Tea
a tea leaf and a blue sky
Near Hupao Spring, you’ll find Hupao Longjing tea.
The Tiger Spring is in the southwest of Hangzhou, at Daci Mountain.
People say the best way to enjoy West Lake Longjing tea is to brew it with water from Tiger Spring.
The tea’s color and aroma are at their best this way. With such excellent natural conditions, it’s no surprise that Tiger Longjing tea is so good.
Meijiawu: Meijiawu Longjing Tea
Meijiawu Village, over 600 years old, lies in West Lake Scenic Spot’s western heartland.
It’s a central production area for West Lake Longjing Tea and a beautiful spot for tea culture and leisure. It’s a place where history and the art of tea come together.
Longjing tea garden in the morning

2nd Production Area

We find the second production area of West Lake Longjing tea right outside the West Lake Scenic Area.
Although it’s outside the scenic spot, it’s still part of the West Lake area, including Longwu Township, Leaving Township, Qutang Township, and Zhoupu Township.
Historically, this area was known for flag gun tea.
So, why do we call it the second production area?
First, it’s because of national rules protecting geographical indications.
Second, the environment, climate, and tea tree varieties here differ slightly from those in the first production area.
farmar's house and tea mountain
Farmers mainly grow a late variety in the second area called Longjing #43.
This type of Longjing tea differs from the varieties grown in the first area. We’ll dive into these varieties more in a bit.
But there’s something even more important about the second production area: annual output.
Right, the tea gardens in the first and second production areas of Xihu Longjing cover about 20,000 acres and produce around 500-600 tons of tea annually.
The first area contributes to about 6,000 acres, while the second area makes up 14,000 acres.
If we calculate it by yield per mu, which is about 50 pounds, then around 70% of West Lake Longjing tea comes from the second production areas.
map of longjing tea production area

1st VS 2st Tea Plantation

In West Lake Longjing, the first production areas like Shifeng Mountain, Yunqi Village, Longjing Village, Hupao Spring, and Meijiawu are more than just tea sources.
They are the soul of its brand and culture. These places have stories that tea lovers cherish.
Like the tale of Master Biancai, who transformed a barren hill to grow Longjing, or Emperor Qianlong’s special eighteen imperial tea trees. And let’s remember Premier Zhou’s visit to Meijiawu.
These stories add a rich cultural layer to the tea from these areas.
Then, we have the second production area, known for its prestige in Longwu Tea Town.
Tea enthusiasts in China lovingly call it “Wan Dan Tea Town.”
It’s the largest area for West Lake Longjing. It holds the title of China’s first provincial-level town dedicated to tea culture and industry.
longwu tea town
Every year, Longwu Tea Town hosts the official West Lake Longjing tea festival, highlighting its importance in the tea production.
But there’s a difference. The first production area is more about culture and is enjoyed by a few.
The second area, however, is where most people get to taste authentic high-grade Longjing tea. It’s also the best place to buy this exquisite tea.
people performing hand-fried Longjing tea

West Lake Longjing Tea Growing Environment

Apart from its rich cultural heritage, the environment plays a crucial role in the unique qualities of West Lake Longjing tea.
Let’s delve into the 4 key environmental aspects that make the West Lake Tea Plantation so ideal for growing this exquisite tea:
Sandy Soil: The Ideal Ground for Tea Trees
Tea trees thrive in sandy soil.
This preference dates back to when tea trees first grew in the wild in Southwest China’s Yunnan and Guizhou regions. The soil there is mostly fertile, loose sandy loam and acidic.
Sandy soil is not just a preference; it’s in the tea tree’s genetic makeup.
Perfect Latitude and Longitude
women picking tea leaves in a tea plantation
The world’s best teas often come from a specific latitude range: 28-32 degrees north.
Xihu Longjing tea is grown right in the heart of this prime zone, around 30 degrees north latitude.
Specifically, the top-notch Shi Feng Longjing tea grows between 30 degrees 04 minutes and 30 degrees 20 minutes north latitude.
Climate: A Crucial Factor
The West Lake region’s humid, cloudy air is key to Longjing tea’s quality.
longjing tea leaves
This climate makes Xihu Longjing tea rich in amino acids but low in tea polyphenols, making the tea nutritious, tender, and refreshing.
Ideal Light Conditions
In this area, sunlight is gentle, rainfall abundant, and temperatures mild, especially during the tea-picking season.
The temperatures stay between 10℃ and 20℃, which is ideal for producing tiny, high-quality tea buds. The best time to pick Xihu Longjing tea is from late March to April.
The climate around this time significantly affects the tea’s quality, including its nutrients, tea polyphenols, and amino acid content.
tea mountain and farmers are picking green tea

Yuezhou Tea Plantation: Yuezhou Longjing (Zhejiang Longjing)

Yuezhou Longjing tea, distinct from its West Lake counterpart, hails from the expansive Yuezhou Production Area in Zhejiang Province, including many townships around Shaoxing City.

Why Yuezhou Longjing Stands Out?

Due to the limited size and yield of the West Lake Longjing production area and its deep cultural heritage, its teas are costly and hard to come by.
In contrast, the Yuezhou tea plantations produce much more Longjing tea.
As West Lake Longjing’s fame has soared, so has the recognition of Yuezhou Longjing among tea lovers.
Despite its centuries-long history, Yuezhou Longjing’s location outside the core West Lake area makes it more affordable, offering great value for money.
Additionally, the Yuezhou area, nestled between 28° and 30° north latitude, boasts a landscape rich in mountains and rivers, with a mild and humid climate, abundant rainfall, and acidic sandy soil perfect for Longjing tea trees.
a cup of longjing tea and tea leaves

Characteristics of Yuezhou Longjing Tea

This tea is known for its flat, smooth leaves, uniform, moist green color, and tender fragrance with a hint of orchid.
It offers a fresh, sweet taste, with a soup color that is a bright yellow-green and leaves that unfurl beautifully in the water.

The Scale of Yuezhou Longjing Production

Yuezhou Longjing’s tea plantation area spans about 180,000 acres, 90 times larger than West Lake Longjing’s, producing over 30,000 tons annually. This accounts for two-thirds of all Longjing tea production.
The tea gardens, located at an average altitude of 500 meters, are shrouded in clouds and mist year-round, making Yuezhou Longjing a truly organic delight.

Qiantang Tea Plantation: Qiantang Longjing (Hangzhou Longjing)

Qiantang Longjing, also known as Hangzhou Longjing, originates from several districts and counties within Hangzhou City, primarily along the banks of the Qiantang River.
This tea stands apart from its West Lake counterpart, yet follows a similar production process.

Key Characteristics of Qiantang Longjing Tea

Qiantang Longjing is mostly produced from local tea varieties like Longjing #43 and Wuniu Early.
Regarding appearance, it’s hard to distinguish Qiantang Longjing from West Lake Longjing. Both have a flat, greenish-yellow appearance.
However, upon brewing, Qiantang Longjing reveals its unique qualities.
The tea broth is a yellowish-green color, offering a long-lasting fragrance and a flavor that’s fresh, mellow, and invigorating.
For those with a discerning palate, you’ll notice that Qiantang Longjing’s dry tea is a bit more yellowish-green compared to West Lake Longjing, resembling the hue of brown rice.
a tea plantation in China

Production Scale of Qiantang Longjing

While the annual production of Qiantang Longjing is less than Yuezhou Longjing, it still surpasses West Lake Longjing by more than 30 times.
With an annual yield of about 15,000 tons, Qiantang Longjing accounts for approximately one-third of all Longjing tea production.

Longjing Tea Varieties

Longjing tea isn’t just about its production areas; it’s also about the diverse tree varieties that contribute to its unique flavors and qualities.
Let’s explore the 8 main varieties that define Longjing tea:
a longjing tea plantation in China

Group Cultivated Variety

This is the original Longjing tea variety, known for its high quality.
Shifeng Longjing tea is of this variety and slightly curled with large leaves.
It has a unique orchid or bean flower flavor, lingers in your mouth, and stands up well to repeated brewing. Available from late March to mid-April, it’s mostly grown in the West Lake area.

Longjing #43

Developed by the Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, this variety is neat, with a strong bean flower and chestnut aroma. It’s fresh and crisp but less resistant to brewing.
This is the most common variety on the market, available from early March to late March.

Pingyang Early

Found in 1998 on Daping Mountain, Zhejiang, this variety is known for its high aroma and early harvest, usually in mid-February. While it looks good, its flavor is lighter.

Wuniu Early

From Wuniu Town, Zhejiang, this is the earliest spring tea variety. It’s often marketed as West Lake Longjing in early spring due to its similar appearance, but it’s not.

Dafo White Longjing

This variety was introduced to Xinchang in 2000 from Anji White Tea. It’s grown in high mountains and is known for its tender green color, strong taste, and high nutritional value.

Ying Shuang (Welcome Frost) Longjing

A hybrid of Fuding big white tea and Yunnan big leaf, this variety germinates early and can produce several rounds of buds throughout the year.

ZJN #117

Bred by Zhejiang University, this variety is suitable for black and green tea. It’s known for its strong aroma and refreshing flavor.

ZJN #139

Another variety from Zhejiang University, this tea has a high amino acid content and a distinctive aroma and flavor. It’s recognized for its early growth and high quality.
Each of these varieties contributes to the rich tapestry of Longjing tea, offering a range of flavors and experiences for tea enthusiasts.

Group Cultivar VS Longjing 43

In Longjing tea, age is more than just a number; it’s a key determinant of quality, especially when comparing Longjing #43 with the group cultivar.

The Impact of Age on Tea Quality

The group cultivar’s advantage is its age.
The original Xihu group cultivar stands out because, as tea trees age, the amino acid content in the leaves reaches a peak at around 9 years before gradually declining.
However, this isn’t a strict rule; there are exceptions.

The Richness of Old Tea Trees

An old tea tree’s leaves are treasure troves of polyphenols, aroma compounds, and sugars.
The older the tree, the sweeter the tea. But, the tree variety also plays a role in the longevity and pleasantness of this sweetness.
However, this benefit is unlimited. After about 60 years, the tea tree’s prime starts to wane, necessitating significant pruning when it reaches around 30 years.

Taste Profiles: Group Cultivar vs Longjing #43

The Longjing Group variety boasts a more textured and mineral-like flavor, akin to rocky granite, and it’s more robust against multiple steepings than Longjing #43.
Longjing #43, however, is a celebration of aroma. It presents a brighter, tighter, and smoother profile, albeit with a milder flavor and aroma than the group variety, particularly when harvested before dawn.
For those who savor a slightly sweeter green tea, Longjing #43 is an excellent choice. Its unique taste profile offers a delightful variation for green tea lovers.

The History of Longjing Tea

Longjing tea is a famous Chinese tea that is loved worldwide. It has a green color, delightful scent, smooth flavor, and stunning appearance.

What does the Longjing mean?

You may be wondering, what exactly does “Longjing” mean in Longjing tea? Longjing refers to tea, mountain, spring, village, and temple, all named Longjing.

There was a spring in Longjing Village, so people built a well there. This well was different from others – half of the water was from the well and half was mountain spring water. The two waters had different quality and density.

Whenever people drew water, they unintentionally stirred up the spring water. This caused a line to appear on the water’s surface, resembling a dragon’s beard. People didn’t know why this line appeared, so they thought a dragon lived in the well. Then, they named it “Longjing” (Dragon Well).

longjing spring

Appreciation from the Royalty

The origin of Longjing tea can be traced back to when Emperor Qianlong traveled south to Jiangnan.

During his trip to Hangzhou, Qianlong dressed in plain clothes and went to Lion Peak Mountain below Longjing Village to enjoy the scenery.

He happily saw some village women picking new buds on the 18 tea trees in front of the Hu Gong Temple. Wanting to join in, he briskly walked into the tea plantation and started plucking tea.

The location of 18 Royal Tea trees

After picking for a while, a eunuch suddenly reported: “Your Majesty, the Empress Dowager is ill. Please return to the capital urgently.” Hearing the Empress Dowager was sick, Qianlong immediately felt anxious. He hastily put the tea buds in his bag and rushed back to the palace day and night to greet the Empress Dowager.

In fact, the Empress Dowager had no major illness, just a temporary flare-up of liver fire causing red swollen eyes and stomach discomfort. Seeing the Emperor return cheered her up.

She smelled something nice coming towards her and asked her son: “What did you bring from Hangzhou that smells so good?”

a woman smelling tea leaves in a tea plantation

Qianlong was puzzled since he had rushed back without bringing anything. But there was indeed a lingering fragrance coming from his pocket.

Reaching in, he found the tea plucked before Hu Gong Temple in Longjing Village, Hangzhou. Though dry after several days, it now emitted a rich fragrance.

The Empress Dowager wanted to taste this tea. Her maid brewed it and presented it. A pleasant smell filled the air, and after she drank, her mouth felt wet and sweet, refreshing her.

The Empress Dowager’s eye swelling went away and her digestion got better after 3 cups of Hangzhou Longjing tea. She called it a miraculous elixir.

a cup of dragon well tea leaves and three tea cups

When Qianlong saw her happy, he was delighted. He immediately ordered the 18 tea trees to be imperial tea. Tea would be specially produced from them each year as a tribute to the Empress Dowager.

From then on, Longjing tea’s fame grew increasingly. Longjing tea cultivation expanded around West Lake, leading to the name “West Lake Longjing.”

Spanning from the Tang Dynasty to the present day, the history of Longjing tea is as rich and complex as its flavors.

For those eager to delve deeper into this fascinating journey, exploring the History of Longjing Tea is an excellent starting point.

Longjing Tea Harvesting Time

For Chinese tea enthusiasts, the seasonal picking of teas, especially Longjing, is essential knowledge. The timing of the harvest greatly influences the tea’s quality and flavor.
picking dragon well tea in a tea plantation

Ming Qian Long Jing: The Early Harvest

Ming Qian Long Jing, harvested around the Qingming Festival (usually March 20 to April 5), is a product of ancient Chinese agricultural wisdom.
Like Longjing #43, this early spring tea is picked when the buds are young and tender, rich in aroma and flavor.
However, the bud count is limited and growth slow due to lower temperatures before Qingming, making this tea rare and valuable.
But remember, this timeline can shift based on the year’s weather. For instance, a cooler spring in 2017 delayed picking by about 10 days, reducing the quantity and increasing the price of Mingqian tea.
Mingqian Longjing is known for its light flavor and aroma, but a strong, sweet aftertaste offers subtle complexity.
a teapot and cup on a wooden table wit bamboo and rain

Longjing Tea Before Rain: Yu Qian Tea

Picked before the Gu Yu Festival (around April 5 to April 20), Yu Qian Longjing comes from slightly older buds.
Though not as tender as Mingqian tea, it’s richer in flavor. It withstands steeping well, thanks to higher temperatures and faster bud growth. While less delicate than Mingqian, Yu Qian tea is still highly prized.
a teapot and cups of tea on a table
Both these early spring harvests allow the tea trees to rest during summer and fall, ensuring each harvest is balanced in taste, free from bitterness, and not overly dry.

Pre-Ming vs Pre-Rain: A Comparison

Early-picked teas like Ming Qian are more yellow, with a silvery fuzz and smaller leaves.
compare pre-ming and pre-rain longjing tea
Later harvests have less fuzz and show a yellowish-green color with darker shades.
Summer Longjing teas are darker green, but beware, overly green Dragonwell teas may not taste as good and might not be authentic.
Different picking times lead to color, aroma, and taste variations, affecting the price point.
While it’s hard for novices to recognize these differences, seasoned tea lovers can discern them with experience.

How is Longjing tea made?

holding oolong tea in palm

Longjing tea looks flat and smooth, emerald yellowish-green, and smells fragrant. These qualities come from the way it is processed, especially pan-firing.

Top-grade West Lake Longjing still uses traditional hand methods. Tea farmers work hard to improve their skills for Longjing pan-firing. They have been refining their techniques for generations to create a unique process.

Longjing tea goes through 7 steps: picking, selecting leaves, withering, killing green, re-wetting, pan-frying, and ash-storing.

Do you ever wondered why dried Longjing tea leaves are flat-shaped, unlike other teas?

Let me tell you, beacuse they havc 10 special pan-firing techniques.

  • Shake (used in killing green and pan-firing steps)
    • Purpose: Release moisture within leaves
    • Key points: Palm up, fingers slightly spread and bent, shake tea held in the palm up and down, sprinkling evenly into the pan.
hand made longjing tea - shake
  • Overlap (used in killing green and pan-firing steps)
    • Purpose: Flatten and broaden the tea leaves
    • Key points: Palm down, four fingers together and curled up, thumb separated, turn palm down and press down onto leaves in the pan.
  • Lift (used in killing green and pan-firing steps)
    • Purpose: Lift leaves in pan onto the palm for shaking and flattening
    • Key points: Keep your palm flat and four fingers straight and together. Touch the palm to the leaves and the pan. Then, move the leaves along the wall of the pan into the palm.
hand made longjing tea - lift
  • Flip (used in killing green step)
    • Purpose: Leaves fall from pan edge to bottom, aligning neatly and rolling to wrap buds. Exchanges interior and exterior leaves and arranges them evenly.
    • Key points: To throw leaves into the pan, spread your fingers slightly, bend your thumb, and flip your palm down. Wrap the leaves around the buds, align them, and release moisture. Used in the later stage of killing green.
hand made longjing tea - flip
  • Soft Press (used in killing green and pan-firing steps)
    • Purpose: Make leaves smooth, slick, and flat
    • Key points: Place your hand flat on the leaves in the pan to flatten the leaves. Keep fingers straight and together. Push the leaves firmly from the bottom of the pan towards the sides.
hand made longjing tea - soft press
  • Grip (mainly used in lower-grade pan-firing and killing green steps)
    • Purpose: Exchanges interior and exterior leaves, aligning them and straightening them.
    • Key points: Basic movement in hand pan-firing. Palm down, fingers bent, grip leaves.
hand made longjing tea - grip
  • Push (used in the pan-firing step)
    • Purpose: Make leaves light, flat, and even
    • Key points: To compact the leaves, place your hand with palm down and fingers straight or bent. Keep your thumb slightly bent down. Push forward with force.
hand made longjing tea - push
  • Rub (used in pan-firing step)
    • Purpose: Stronger than pushing, flattens and smooths leaves more
    • Key points: Pushing and grabbing faster, hand friction on leaves, leaves rubbing together, leaves rubbing on the pan, making leaves getting smoother.
hand made longjing tea - rub
  • Hard Press (used in the pan-firing step)
    • Purpose: Both hands press down forcefully on tea stems (one hand on the other’s back) with rubbing to further flatten and smooth leaves.
    • Key points: While gripping, pushing, and rubbing, one palm presses on the back of the other.
hand made longjing tea - hard press
  • Twist (used in lower-grade killing green and pan-firing steps)
    • Purpose: Straightens and evenly aligns the tea stems
    • Key points: Open your thumb and index finger to grip leaves, forming a “tiger’s mouth.” Keep most leaves in the palm while using the middle and ring finger to grip and squeeze out.
hand made longjing tea - twist

The effect of these techniques should be considered. The flattened shape is why Longjing is well-known as a green tea today.

Longjing tea’s flat shape makes transporting and storing it in smaller spaces easier.

Thanks to past wisdom in creating these meticulous yet reliable processing methods that maximize flavor retention, the reach of Longjing tea became much wider.

Purchasing Tips: How to Choose Longjing Tea?

differents kinds of green tea with price

You may want to purchase some after learning in-depth information about Longjing tea.

I can help you with that in this in-depth article. This article covers my personal experience and official grading methods of dragon well tea, and it will help you know more about Longjing tea grades.

And I also prepared some recommended Longjing tea based on personal tasting experience to help you make preliminary comparisons before buying.

How to Brew Longjing Tea?

The brewing method for Longjing tea can affect the final flavor you taste, so here is a simple method I often use for reference.

Steps to Steep Green Tea

To learn more about different methods of how to brew dragon well tea, I’ve prepared 5 other methods for beginners and experienced tea lovers to choose the one most suitable for you.

Benefits of Longjing Tea

As a beverage with over a thousand years of history, the health benefits of Longjing tea need no elaboration. In addition to reducing anxiety and increasing focus, Longjing has other surprising benefits.

I’ve prepared an in-depth article to share 9 major benefits of Longjing tea, some scientifically proven.

tea good for weight loss

How Long Does Longjing Tea Last?

Generally, if stored under the right conditions, Longjing tea has an impressive shelf life of about 1.5 to 1.8 years.
To enjoy Longjing tea at its best, it’s ideal to consume it soon after purchase.
However, if you have more than you can drink immediately, proper storage is key to maintaining its freshness and flavor.

Short-Term Storage (Up to 2 Weeks)

If you plan to drink your Longjing tea within two weeks, there’s no need for refrigeration.
Seal it in a ziplock bag and store it at room temperature. This method preserves the tea’s quality without the risk of moisture damage from frequent temperature changes.

Medium-Term Storage (Up to 3 Months)

For a storage period of up to three months, the freezer is your best option.
This helps retain the tea’s aroma and prevents spoilage. Just remember to seal it well in a ziplock bag before freezing.

Long-Term Storage (Up to 6 Months or More)

For those planning to enjoy their Longjing tea over six months, freezing is again recommended. Ensure the tea is tightly sealed to prevent any freezer burn or loss of flavor.

Tips for Avoiding Moisture Damage

Limiting the number of times the tea is taken out of the refrigerator or freezer is crucial.
Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, leading to dampness and deterioration of the tea leaves.
After opening, reseal the tea in a ziplock bag and place it in a sealed box before returning it to the freezer.

Example for Practical Understanding:

  • Chris buys 12 packs of Longjing tea, planning to consume them over a year.
  • He keeps 1 pack on the dining table for daily use, stored in a ziplock bag at room temperature.
  • He places 3 packs in the freezer, retrieving one pack each in the second, third, and fourth months.
  • He stores 8 packs in the freezer. At the end of the fourth month, he moves one pack to the freezer for use in the fifth month.
  • Before drinking, he thaws the remaining packs in the freezer a day in advance.
Remember, proper storage is crucial for enjoying Longjing tea at its best. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your tea remains fresh and flavorful throughout the year.

Is Longjing Tea Expensive?

Now that we’ve explored Longjing tea, a natural question arises: What about its price?
Indeed, the cost of Longjing tea varies, mainly depending on its grade.
For instance, top-grade teas like West Lake Longjing, especially those picked before the Qingming Festival, are relatively expensive.
This price difference is a testament to the tea’s quality, rarity, and the intricate processes involved in its cultivation and production.
Are you curious about why Dragon Well tea commands such high prices?
Delve into the details by reading Why is Dragon Well Tea So Expensive?
This exploration will comprehensively understand the factors contributing to its value, making your Longjing tea experience even more meaningful.

Longjing Tea Recipes

If you ever find yourself in Hangzhou’s Longjing Tea Culture Village, prepare for a culinary treat.
The authentic Longjing Tea Shrimp is a must-try dish among many farmhouse restaurants. This local specialty beautifully marries the freshness of Longjing tea with succulent shrimp.

The Delightful Longjing Tea Shrimp

Imagine a dish with tender, white shrimp infused with Longjing tea’s delicate aroma.
Each bite blends freshness and softness, with the shrimp’s natural flavors enhanced by the tea’s fragrance. This dish is refreshing and tasty and leaves a memorable aftertaste.

How to Make Longjing Tea Shrimp

Shrimp Preparation:

  1. Wash fresh shrimp in water three times until they’re snow-white.
  2. Pat them dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Place in a bowl, add salt, MSG, and egg white. Stir until sticky.
  4. Coat the shrimp evenly with dry starch.

Longjing Tea Preparation:

  1. Steep about 5g of Longjing tea in 50-60g of boiling water (90-100℃) for 1 minute. Don’t cover the cup.
  2. Strain 40g of tea broth for use, and set aside the rest.

Stir-Frying the Shrimp:

  1. Heat vegetable oil and lard in a frying pan.
  2. After about 15 seconds, add the shrimp. Quickly paddle to prevent sticking and fry for 15 seconds.
  3. Drain the shrimp in a colander.
  4. Remove excess oil from the wok, leaving just enough for frying.
  5. Return the shrimp to the wok, quickly add the tea leaves and broth, a little cooking wine or white wine, and season with salt and MSG.
  6. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then serve.
This dish is a culinary representation of the region’s rich tea culture. It’s an experience that goes beyond taste, immersing you in the traditional flavors of Hangzhou.
When visiting Longjing Tea Culture Village, take the chance to savor this unique fusion of Longjing tea and shrimp.


In this article, you learned about authentic Dragon Well tea and its origins. You also learned how to grade the Dragon Well tea you buy. Lastly, you discovered how to experiment with brewing methods to find your favorite.

I hope this healthy beverage adds a touch of color to your life. I welcome any insightful feedback on my blog – feel free to contact me anywhere you can find me. I’d also love to host you for a visit to my tea plantation someday in the future.


What temperature should Dragon Well tea be?

I suggest brewing Dragon Well tea with 80-90°C water and using a vessel preheated to 40-60°C. This allows the aroma of the tea to be fully released. Some people also enjoy cold brewing Dragon Well tea at around 20°C for 45 minutes.

A cup of hot water being poured into a cup

How long do you steep Dragonwell tea?

Steeping time is an important factor that directly affects the flavor of the tea.

Usually, the longer you steep it, the stronger the flavor gets. However, it can also make it bitter and astringent, which beginners might not enjoy. On the other hand, too short a steeping time results in a lighter flavor.

However, this does not mean steeping for just 30 seconds – that won’t draw out the true flavor of the tea leaves. The recommended steeping time is 2-3 minutes; you can make it longer or shorter according to personal taste.

What foods pair well with Dragon Well tea?

In China, we usually drink tea without any food pairings. But I recommend sweets and desserts that pair well with coffee, like cakes and mousses. Dragon Well tea’s flavor helps balance the sweetness, allowing you to enjoy the desserts better.

Is there any special teaware used for brewing Dragon Well tea?

Tea ceremony etiquette is influenced by tea-drinking cultures. This leads to the use of various tea vessels in ceremonies, which can cause misconceptions about tea. If you’re just serving friends or yourself, don’t worry about special tools. Just use the brewing methods mentioned earlier.

a man pouring tea into a cup

How should Dragon Well tea be stored and kept fresh?

As an unfermented tea, keeping Dragon Well tea fresh can be tricky. I use double sealing – first in an airtight bag, then in an airtight container. You can read this article to learn more about properly storing tea.

What are some common mistakes people make when preparing Dragon Well tea?

Here are 3 common mistakes:

  1. Not preheating the brewing vessel which affects both aroma and flavor.
  2. Using water not between 80-90°C to brew the tea. Generally, boiling water left at room temperature for 3-4 minutes will cool to the ideal temperature.
  3. Using mineral-heavy brewing water, which can make the tea taste bitter.

How many times can you steep the same leaves of Dragon Well tea?

  • Group cultivar: I recommend 4-5 steepings for early spring harvest and 6-7 steepings for pre-rain harvest.
  • Longjing #43: For early spring harvest, I recommend 2-3 steepings and 4-5 steepings for pre-rain harvest.
  • About

    I was born in Xinyang, home of Maojian tea. Eager to share my extensive tea knowledge. Welcome to my tea world.

  • About

    I was born in Xinyang, home of Maojian tea. Eager to share my extensive tea knowledge. Welcome to my tea world.



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