Dragon well tea is renowned as "green in hue, strong fragrance, mellow taste and pretty appearance". It is soft but fresh and bold, having a distinctive style. Dragon Well tea is flat-shaped, stiff, of even size and smooth. The tea comes out in lobes when infused in a glass with clear water. The bright green of the tea infusion, the long-lasting fragrance, the refreshing and sweet taste bring real enjoyment to the drinker.
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Ranking the first among the ten famous teas in China, Dragon Well tea is well-known for its green, fragrance, sweetness and pretty shape. As Lu Yu, a tea expert of the Tang dynasty (about 1,000 years ago) had mentioned the Dragon Well tea in his famous book "On Tea", the tea must have enjoyed a history of more than 1200 years.
Dragon Well has four distinct characteristics: 1. flat leaves, 2. jade green color, 3. soft and mellow flavor, 4. sweet, fresh aroma. The mellow flavor of the Dragon Well keeps it from turning bitter like black tea even if it is over-steeped. The Chinese believes Dragon Well has a cooling effect so it is even more popular during the spring and summer seasons. Compared to other green tea varieties, Dragon Well is more full-bodied and complex than most. However, in keeping with the character of green tea, it is still mild compared with black teas and oolong teas.
The "well" is an actual spring-fed well (a circular stone enclosure where the water is gathered) with a temple and a teahouse nearby--not far from Hangzhou. Legend has it that during a severe drought a resident monk summoned up a lucky dragon he'd heard was in the neighborhood. He prayed, and lo, the rains came, the crops were saved, and the peasants rejoiced.Dragon Well is a circular pond 2 meters in diameter, the spring water drains down to a brook along the Yingma bridge, Huangni Hill and finally winds it way into West Lake through Mao Jia Bu.
Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty once named the 18 tea trees growing at the foot of Lion Peak Hill as "royal tea", where Su Dongpo, a famous poet of the Song dynasty, wrote three Chinese characters meaning Old Dragon Well.
The late Chairman Mao Zedong was very fond of Dragon Well tea. During his two visits to Liu's Villa by the West Lake in early 1960s, he picked Dragon Well tea with his own hands, which was roasted and infused with water from Running Tiger Spring. Mao loved the taste so much that he said: "Nothing could be compared with Dragon Well tea infused with water from Running Tiger Spring". The Dragon Well tea tree from which Mao had picked tea was transplanted into the company's courtyard in commemoration of Chairman Mao.
The late Premier Zhou was concerned about the production of Dragon Well tea very much. He had been to the home of Dragon Well tea for five times. Other late Party and State leaders like Deng Xiaoping, Zhu De, Chen Yun, Chen Yi, Ye Jianying were all very fond of Dragon Well tea and had visited the place for many times.