This is a lovely, very well-made green tea that is modest in price but long on flavor. It is back this year by popular demand as a Tea Trekker customer favorite.
Good news for fans of this tea…..the 2019 season has produced a very tasty batch of this tea, made from more concentrated, medium-large-sized, spring leaf that was ready to be plucked almost three weeks earlier than last year. This batch really impressed us. The finished tea is a significantly longer length than the traditional size for Dragon Whiskers in the dried form, although once re-hydrated the length is more similar. This tea will keep well because of both its depth of flavor and the expert firing of leaf (that has a similar, higher moisture content, as did last year’s leaf).
Each year we purchase a larger quantity of this tea, as we expect word-of-mouth about the goodness and value of this tea to continue to spread. We were first introduced to this tea at the Fang Cun tea market in Guangzhou some years ago and ordered it immediately. Sweet, refreshing and readily drinkable, this tea has become the everyday tea for many of our customers. Dragon Whiskers is made from Longjing varietal tea bushes that are grown not for production of Longing (this is not the Longjing production zone) but for making this delicious regional tea.
In China, teas such as this are known as Clouds & Mist teas, a reference to a weather phenomenon that occurs in many mountainous tea-growing locations of eastern China. At certain high elevations, thin, wispy clouds develop over the landscape in the morning and drift whichever way the wind blows over the tea gardens. This brings much needed gentle moisture to the tea bushes.These misty clouds disappear in the afternoon, only to return again the next day.
This mao jian pluck – the bud and one leaf – is very elegant in appearance, with a long length and slender profile, which makes for a not-so-easy-to-measure leaf that yields a very tasty cup with good clarity and sweet spring aroma. It has a rich, full-bodied, buttery flavor in the cup to satisfy Western tea drinkers, yet has enough of the sweetness of early spring tea to make it truly special. Some Asians refer to this mouthfeel as the ‘tea soup’ or call it ‘brothy’. This tactile impression contributes to its immense ‘returning flavor’ which we tend to call ‘aftertaste’.
Easy to steep, this tea is reasonably forgiving about water temperature and steep time. This is not to suggest that attention should not be paid to steeping parameters, but that it is a more ‘tolerant’ tea in the teapot than are some others. Those of you who purchased it last year will need to un-learn and re-learn the quantity to use though, if measuring my eye, as this year the leaf is much more bulky in volume. By weight we use the same 3 grams per 6oz of water.