Dragon Well Green Tea - Like An Oolong?

by Julian

Can the highest grade Dragon Well green tea taste like an oolong tea?

Can you tell which one of above is Wang (King grade), and which one is Jipin grade?

On the left is Wang grade, the leaves are more emerald, more spongy and lively. On the right is Jipin.

Here is my Sunday tea tasting story ...

Spring Adventure

Sunday morning. I woke up feeling tired. It wasn't until the mid afternoon that I would have time to taste some teas. Today, it will be HQ's Dragon Well green tea. I have been looking forward to this for months!

It will be a straight contest between Wang (King) grade and Jipin (Ultimate) grade. They are harvested just 1 or 2 days apart, but Wang grade costs 3 times as much. Is it worth the money?

Dry Leaf

My mind starts to clear up as soon as I smell the chestnutty aroma of the Dragon Well green tea.

There is little discernible difference between the two. On closer inspection, Wang grade's leaves are somehow broader, more symmetrical and emerald.

I started chewing. Both are crispy. Wang grade is pleasant while Jipin grade is more bitter, just as my customer Sigurd has reported.

Brewing Parameters

- 2 grams (about 120 tea shoots) at 180 Fahrenheit (80 degree Celsius) in a 8 ounce tall glass.

- 10 minutes soaking with open lid.

- Pour water in 3 distinct, sharp movements to encourage bubbles and oxygen.

Tea Liquor

Wang grade yielded a delightful green liquor. Vapour is more nutty, like a chicken broth, as my customer Sting likes to call it. The soaked leaves sink one by one to the bottom of the glass. They swell and are more spongy. What a sight to behold.

Jipin grade is more yellowish-green. It is an excellent tea. But it does appear slightly inferior alongside Wang grade.

Tea Taste

First sip on Wang grade is slightly bitter, but exceeding complex and rich. I can feel the floral aroma travels up my nose after a few sips.

The tea liquor is a rich greenish-yellow. This is not the subtle Dragon Well green tea that I have known. It feels very much like an oolong tea. Very aromatic and rich.

Second infusion becomes very sweet, with a sharper profile that goes (sorry for the term!) "deep throat". The floral aroma travels up to the top of the nose and stays there for a long time. A truly unusual green tea.

In comparison, Jipin grade is sweeter, more fruity, more full-mouth and less nosy. I guess most of my customers will prefer and expect these flavours.


I reflect on the startling difference between the 2 grades. The Wang grade has really given me something to think about. A year ago I would have thought the Jipin grade was the best Dragon Well green tea in the world. The Wang grade has a different dimension.

I feel the universe melting into myself. My breathing was relaxed and easy. I feel bright, calm and soothing. I count my blessings. I am happy for who I truly am at this moment in time.

As I get ready for my third infusion, my one-year-old toddler Anni is starting to mess around again. I look at her with a naughty glint in my eyes and think: You little monster, I am ready again.

Comments for Dragon Well Green Tea - Like An Oolong?

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Jun 01, 2008
Brewing Dragon Well Tea
by: Julian

A reader emailed me and asked:

Your brewing time and water temp is not at all what you usually have. You mention water temp of almost boiling and much shorter brewing time. Closer to one minute I think. Now you use 10 minutes and 80 deg C water temp.

Higher quality tea can withstand higher temperatures but not this time? How come you use this brewing technique?

My answer:

How I pour the water has an effect on in-glass temperature.

I guess when I pour the water down the glass in 3 distinct movements creating bubbles, into the un-pre-heated glass, it takes some heat off the water, so by the time the thermometer reads the water temperature, it reads 80 degrees.

The actual temperature in-kettle temperature was probably closer to 100 degrees, but it was too hot for me to read the temperature.

Only the first sip of Wang grade is bitter, after that it was not prominent. I guess if I were to use shorter brewing time it won't taste bitter, but I think during this session I am more interested in the relative difference between the two teas, and using longer brewing I can soak up more flavours in the first infusion and put the tea under more stress.

I guess here I am testing the tea, but trying to brew it to the best effects (my personal preference is 1 gram in 8 ounce cup using boiling water, when of course, depending on how I pour the water can have lower or higher temperature).

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