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Chasing the dragon?

October 07, 2010

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In my opinion, the best response to a day-long compulsion to drink Longjing (龙井, Dragon Well) is to yield to it as soon as possible. Longjing is a tea that I prefer to savor with full attention, so it is not typically a tea that I would drink while I am working. So the earlier part of the day held the desire, but not the conditions for a cup of this famous Chinese green tea. But this evening when I was at home, I had both readily available, so I located the 1st Grade Dragon Well that I got from Teas Etc. and brewed some at the Gongfu table.

Longjing is a tea traditionally brewed in glass. I used a glass gaiwan, glass faircup and glass cups. Glass has a neutral impact on the tea and also displays the rich green, distinctively flat leaves to nice effect.

There are plenty of poor quality Dragon Well teas on the market, and they won’t provide much of an experience of what this tea can be when it’s good. The Longjing that Teas Etc. sells is a very nice one, typical of good quality Longjing, and one that I would recommend to anyone who has been interested in trying this legendary tea.

This particular Longjing is from Long Jing Village in Zhejiang Province, which is the only legitimate place that can produce a true Longjing Cha. It is a pre-Qing Ming tea, which means it is plucked before the Qing Ming festival in early spring. It is best enjoyed with a soundtrack of Purcell ground bass as reinterpreted by Michael Nyman, along with a profound sense of satisfaction at fulfilling a daylong desire for a particular delicious tea.

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