Meijiawu Tea from Feng Qing Yuan

by G
(Hong Kong)

Hello Julian,

We just took a day trip to Hangzhou Westlake, and visited a Dragon Well tea garden afterwards (Feng Qing Yuan in Meijiawu Village).

My husband and I know very little about how to grade/compare/price this tea. Have you heard of this tea garden and how reputable is it?

We bought some tea, supposedly the PreMing harvest, 1 catty for 3000 yuan. Have we been taken to the cleaners or is this price reasonable?

The taste was amazing but again, we are no experts. We live in Hong Kong, drink tea almost daily (restaurant grade I'm afraid) so we would appreciate your expert comments!! Thanks.

Answer:

G, buying tea directly from the most popular tea gardens is always a perilous affair. There is a high chance of being "killed" or getting counterfeit teas.

(After all, there is only so much to go around, and these West Lake areas get lots of tourists all year round).

From your feedback, it sounds like you may have got yourself a real Meijiawu Pre-Ming tea, given the timing of your visit and you comment that the tea tastes "amazing".

So if we start on this premise, the next question is price and location.

I am not sure what you mean by one catty. Is it 50 grams, 100 grams or 500 grams?

What I do know is that it is not unusual for tourists to pay 3000 Yuan per 500 grams in the peak season for the top grade.



For comparison, you might want to check the retail prices of the Tribute Dragon Well tea I carry in this site.

Tribute Dragon Well Tea

As for the different types of West Lake tea available, they can roughly be categorized into three types, coinciding with the three periods of expansion of West Lake Dragon Well tea.

The earliest tea comes from Lion Peak Mountain, which has the highest altitude and caters mainly for the Chinese White House (therefore called Tribute).

This is the type I carry.

The 1950s saw expansion to the Grade 2 Area - Meijiawu - they are considered second best. But because of easy accessibility, they are more popularly visited by tourists. Most people know about Mejiawu, but knows little about Lion Peak (Shifeng).

The 1980s saw expansion to the remainder West Lake areas. These teas are considered third best.

A summary can be found here:

Long Jing Tea Varieties - A Prince Among Clones

I hope this helps.

Julian

PS: I think the bottom line is that you have enjoyed your visit to the tea garden, and enjoyed their teas. Consider it an experience well earned, and a lesson well taken!

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