Reviews

Tea Bento West Lake Treasure

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Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: deep green, flattened
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 185 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gong dao bei
Liquor: pale greenish gold

Dragonwell is one of those teas that I have a real soft spot for. It was one of the first teas that I really fell for at the beginning of my journey. Thanks to this blog I’m also a bit spoiled as I’ve been lucky enough to receive samples of some of the highest quality Long Jing available. The taste can be quite delicate but a really good one is unlike anything else that I’ve experienced. I am partial to Shi Feng but that stuff is VERY expensive so I’m not above drinking dragonwell from other areas most of the time. This particular selection is from Long Wu, a region of Hangzhou that I have heard of before but have not seen very often.

When I am reviewing a tea I start evaluating as soon as I open the package. The leaves of this tea were not the nicest looking long jing that I have seen. For a pre-Qingming, they were darker green in color and a bit haphazardly shaped. I did spot any white fuzz balls in the bag or among the leaves. While this not always an indicator of quality, there will generally be more trichomes present in a good quality green tea. Higher grade versions of this tea consist entirely of straight, blade-like buds. Such teas come with a hefty premium and it is important to remember that appearance isn’t everything.

I really prefer brewing green teas in a gong dao bei rather than a gaiwan sometimes. The volume is about the same as my glass gaiwan but there’s no fussing over a lid or worrying about accidentally steaming the leaves. I was glad that I did that with this one because the leaves were quite pretty to look at. Once fully unfurled, they much more closely resembled what I had been expecting but with a slightly higher ratio of larger leaves to buds. The taste was very smooth and sweet with a buttery soft mouthfeel. Sweet vegetal notes reminiscent of sugar snap peas were grounded by a comfortingly nutty finish. It wasn’t quite the classic chestnut aroma but a very close proximity. There was also a savory quality that I would almost call umami.

I’m a bit conflicted about this tea. I can easily find a higher grade of long jing for a similar price point. However, the taste was definitely very pleasant and enjoyable. The shortcomings that I noted apply to the sample that I received but may not be representative of the entire stock of the product.  If I feel a tea is bad, I simply do not write about it. I want to be clear that is not the case here, it just didn’t quite live up to the expectations that I have for dragonwell. Have you tried this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

West Lake Treasure sample provided by Tea Bento

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Nicole has been writing about her love of the leaf since 2008. Her work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. She is the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.