Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: jade green, flat
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 176 degrees
Preparation Method: glass gaiwan
Liquor: pale greenish gold
Dragonwell, also known as Long Jing, is one of my favorite Chinese green teas. A lot of emphasis is put on the harvest date for this type of tea. This one might win an award for longest tea name. Nonpareil is a term that Teavivre uses to designate their highest quality teas. Ming Qian means that it was harvested before the Qing Ming Festival. This year’s tea was picked on March 24th, 2021.
After reviewing as many teas as I have, it can be fun to go back to old favorites. Tea is a product of its environment, so tea from the same company and the same region will not taste the same from year to year. That is why I never get bored. The last time that I wrote about Teavivre Nonpareil Dragon Well was in 2015.
The dry leaves were jade green with the distinctive flat shape that Dragonwell is known for. They were mostly whole, but I did see some broken pieces. I did not see very many fuzzy clumps of trichomes. That is something I usually look for as a sign of a higher quality tea. They also did not quite look like the tea pictured on Teavivre’s website. It is extra work, but I think it is important to re-photograph tea for each harvest to manage customer expectations.
For this review, I prepared Teavivre Nonpareil Dragon Well in a gongfu style using my glass gaiwan. The recommended brewing parameters are a bit light on leaf for my preference, so I also tried it with a higher ratio. In many ways, I preferred this tea when made grandpa style or even made in a western fashion using a larger mug.
Teavivre Nonpareil Dragon Well brewed up a pale greenish gold liquor. The taste was delicate and slightly floral. Dragonwell is known for its signature chestnut aroma, but it barely came through on gongfu-style infusions. I found myself wishing that aspect was a bit stronger. It wasn’t astringent or offensive at all, but it also wasn’t particularly good or special.
In hindsight, I wish I had noticed that this tea was produced a good distance from Long Jing Village. Their Award Winning Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea sounds like it might be a better buy since it is from Shifeng Mountain. Earlier isn’t always better!
Have you ever tried Teavivre Nonpareil Dragon Well? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!