Dragon Well Tea Village (Longjing Tea Village)

Dragon Well Tea (Longji) is the most famous tea in China and one of the most sought after in the world. The teas production has a history of over a thousand years and has been enjoyed by many emperors through the centuries.

Dragon Well Village is situated at the base of the mountains near the West Lake. Its name is said to have come from a water well in the village where the residents believed a dragon lived and controlled the rainfall. One of its major attractions is the 18 imperial trees beside the Hugong temple which Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ordered the planting of. It is said that during a visit to Longji he heard his mother was ill and brought her back some tea which cured her and this gave rise to even more fame for the village's tea.

Visitors can spend a peaceful time relaxing in the village's tea pavilions and teahouses sampling the tea brewed by tea masters as there are certain brewing techniques that bring out the best tastes, namely using 80C water and glasses to brew in.

A number of varieties of Dragon Well Tea are grown. Xi Hu Longjing tea is the rarest and most sought after, which is grown in a designated area near the West Lake and this also makes it the most expensive. Other well known varieties include Qian Tang Longjing tea, Bai Longjing tea, Mei Jia Wu Longjing tea and Shi Feng Longjing tea.

Only a small amount of tea comes from the area each year, about 1000 tons and this is what makes the tea expensive. Also, if possible it is best to buy direct off the plantations to avoid fake Dragon Well Tea. The best tea is brewed from the earliest picked leaves of the harvest which are around April 5-21 and immediately pan-fried to halt oxidation and preserve.

Many health benefits are claimed of the tea - its antioxidants help prevent heart disease and cancer and it is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. For any tea lovers, Dragons Well Tea Village is one of the tea worlds Holy Grails and definitely cannot be missed.