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What is Dragon Well Tea?

Dragon well tea, also known as longjing tea, is one of the most luxurious and exotic varieties of green tea you can drink. It’s processed by hand and is one of China’s most famous teas.

Dragonwell tea is a variety of green tea grown in the Hangzhou region of China. Dragonwell tea is renowned as a symbol of imperial China and an artisanal tea product because of its unique flavor and growing conditions. Dragonwell tea provides several health benefits. 

If you’re looking for a variety of green tea that could be considered the cream of the crop, then dragon well tea is a variety you should consider. Read on to learn more about dragon well tea and its associated health benefits. 

What Is Dragon Well Tea?

Dragonwell tea is the literal translation of longjing tea, a green tea variety produced in the Hangzhou region of mainland China. Dragonwell tea is cultivated in Hangzhou because the microclimate of the region is optimal for tea growing conditions. A combination of high rainfall, low temperatures, and weaker solar radiation are a perfect storm for growing perfect tea. 

In Hangzhou, there are six specific areas where dragon well tea is produced even though it grows wild throughout the region. Here are the six mountain peaks within Hangzhou’s West Lake area where dragon well tea is grown for export:  

  • Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng)
  • Longjing Village
  • Five Cloud Mountain (Wuyun)
  • Tiger Running Temple (Hupao)
  • Plum Peak (Meijiawa) 
lake region famous for dragon well tea
Hangzhou’s West Lake Region Known for Dragon Well Tea

No matter which sub-region of China dragon well tea is produced, it is known for having superior quality compared to other varieties of green tea in nearby regions. Shi Feng is generally considered the highest-quality dragon well tea, while Meijiawa is considered the lowest quality. 

Why Is It Called Dragonwell Tea? 

The origin of dragon well tea’s name is old enough to be considered legendary. One legend explaining the name is related to a well in the region where peasants would pray to the dragon for rain.

In this well, rainwater would layer on top of the heavier well water underneath it, creating a layered, rippling effect. Dragonwell tea is said to have been named for the sparkling effect of the dragon well. 

Is Dragon Well Tea The Same as Longjing Tea?

Longjing tea is the exact same tea as dragonwell tea.  As a matter of fact, dragon well is the literal translation of longjing.  

What Is Dragon Well Tea Good For?

Like other varieties of green tea, dragon well tea is associated with several significant health benefits. Here are just a few of the health-related reasons why you should consider incorporating dragon well tea into your daily routine: 

  • Cancer-fighting antioxidants: Green tea is full of polyphenols and antioxidant botanical chemicals associated with lowered risk of several degenerative diseases. These diseases include diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and many kinds of cancer. 
  • Mood and focus boost: Green tea contains chemicals such as l-theanine that help to stabilize your mood and increase your concentration during both mental and physical tasks.
  • Increased energy: Dragonwell tea contains caffeine, a mild stimulant that can help increase focus and give you a burst of energy. The benefit of drinking caffeine in green tea versus other caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda is that the caffeine is released more gradually, providing a smoother buzz and a lighter come-down.
  • Weight loss: Green tea can help stimulate your metabolism and help aid with weight loss by gently suppressing your appetite. 
Longjing or dragon well tea in a basket
Dragon well tea is also known as Longjing tea

What Does Dragon Well Tea Taste Like?

Along with its health benefits, dragon well tea is also prized for its delicious flavor. Pan-roasting the green tea after picking it helps preserve and deepen its vegetal notes. This leads to a very fresh green tea that can be brewed multiple times.   

Authentic vs. Fake Dragonwell Teas

Dragon Well tea is one of the most famous green teas in China, so it should come as no surprise that there are a few imposters on the market. While authentic dragon well tea only comes from a few specific growing subregions within the West Lake area, other types of green tea are sometimes erroneously labeled as longjing tea.

Here are a few ways you can judge authentic dragon well tea from fake dragon well tea: 

  • Color and appearance: Authentic dragon well tea has a bright yellow-green coloration and the leaves are pressed flat after pan-roasting. Teas with a darker color are almost guaranteed to be longjing fakes. 
  • Fragrance and taste: Authentic dragon well tea has a very unique aroma and flavor in comparison to pretenders. Once you’ve tasted real dragon well tea certified from a real longjing farm, you should be able to tell the difference between dragon well tea and other green tea varieties. 
roasting dragon well tea
Pan roasting dragon well tea gives it a distinctive flavor

The best way to avoid an inauthentic dragon well tea is to choose a processed tea with Geographic Indicator (GI) Certification. This means that the tea has been guaranteed to come from a real longjing tea farm in the West Lake region.  

Dragonwell Tea Is a Famous Chinese Treasure

If you’re trying to add more green tea to your diet, dragon well tea is a great variety to choose. Drinking this tea is decadent enough to make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to rub elbows with a Chinese emperor, but the medicinal properties of this tea are timeless.

dragon well tea graphic