Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teavivre, Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea

Teavivre Description:
In the early Spring, when the tea buds just appeared their face on the trees, the harvest of She Qian Dragon Well is ready to begin. The tea gardens in Hangzhou are busy making the first flush teas. The fresh leaves of She Qian Dragon Well are all in one bud with one leaf shape, as straight as an upstanding flag. The beautiful shape also brings enjoyment to the brewing.

Why is She Qian Dragon Well better than Ming Qian?

First of all, the She Qian tea is picked earlier than Ming Qian, which is before March 26, 2014.

Secondly, the fresh leaves of She Qian tea are of much higher grade. The leaves are all in one bud with one leaf or two leaves shape.

Lastly, the making skill of She Qian tea is above the level of Ming Qian. Since She Qian tea is picked in early spring when the weather is still cool. The low temperature makes it harder for picking, as well as for making. The output of She Qian Dragon Well is very limited. Consequently, She Qian Dragon Well is much rare.

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
I included a large description from Teavivre because this is possibly the most expensive tea I have ever had on my desk to review. I thought it deserved more background. The sample was packed with a beautiful scarf that when my wife first saw it, she said, "Oh pretty!" She grabbed it and it has been around her neck ever since.

When I opened the sample the aroma was faint like I would expect from delicate dragon well. The leaf is just as pictured yet much tinier than I expected. I am only guessing that is due to the very young age of the bud and leaf. 

I placed about three grams in my press with 8 oz of bottled water (with added minerals) that was heated to 185 F. I steeped for almost 4 minutes. The label said 3-5. At the end of the steep some of the leaf was on the surface while equal amounts were on the bottom or floating somewhere between. I am always fascinated by how the leaf reacts. 

The liquor in the press and in the mug is extremely clear and almost colorless. It has the faintest tint of green. The wet leaf is steamed spinach and cream corn in aroma. Very nice! 

The taste is quite brisk, almost bitter but in a good green tea way. It is kind of sweet and a touch salty. It is altogether definitely dragon well. It is also very crisp. A couple things I am noticing - I get a sensation of inner warmth, and the aftertaste fades very quickly while the warmth remains. I have never experienced this before.

This is a rare tea and is not intended to be an everyday cup. I believe it should be experienced, on the just as rare occasion, when you have the time to be quiet and enjoy the moment. It is a very interesting and beautiful tea of exceptional quality. It is a luxury, like a trip to the spa, when you need to pamper yourself. It should resteep several times as I hope to find out shortly.


Update: I am posting this update on 4/20/14. Today I prepared this tea again. I was not as nervous about drinking it today. I just relaxed and went with my gut. I lowered the water temperature 10 F to 175 F. I also cut the steeping time in half to two minutes.

The liquor is crystal clear and more honey colored than the almost non-existent green tint from the other day. The wet leaf scent is creamed corn and steamed spinach. The taste is simply WOW! Seriously. This is creamed corn with a mild dragonwell bite. The aftertaste now lingers long and pleasant. I am still getting that inner warming glow that a friend identified as good tea energy. This is an amazingly delicious cup. Wow! Just Wow!

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