This high grade Lung Ching or Longjing is a pre-qingming plucking of young spring leaves, which have a fresher and lighter character than later harvested tea. Skilfully done pan-firing in a hot wok brings out the classic warm, roasted chestnut notes inherent in the leaf and, in this case, a hint of caramelised sugar and crisp floral essence. Soft, complex and layered in the cup, with a crisp finish. This beautifully smooth tea leaves no astringency and is perfect for multiple infusions.
Lung Ching actually means 'dragon's well', and it refers to a local well that, legend has it, is the lair of a benevolent dragon. Dragonwell tea has been presented as a tribute to many generations of Chinese emperors, and was the tea served to Richard Nixon in his memorable encounter with Mao Tse-tung. It is praised for its 'four uniques': jade colour, vegetative aroma, mellow chestnut flavour and singular shape.