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Excellent “Dragonwell Style” tea from Laoshan. All of the teas from Laoshan have a very similar feel which can be attributed to their Northern location. I love the way that green teas from Laoshan actually have all of those great cooling qualities of a good Japanese Gyokuro yet maintain the heartiness of a good Chinese tea. This tea is particularly stunning in color. So fresh! So green! I myself will not drink green tea daily, but this is one that I will pull out as a great example of what Dragonwell style teas can be.

Highly recommended for green tea lovers that are looking for something new.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Chad

I can’t wait to taste this tea. I’ve never had dragon well, but I love sencha. So, it will be interesting to see how it compares.

Spoonvonstup

“I myself will not drink green tea daily..”

Now if someone would only let tea grow wild in LaoShan for a hundred years until it’s tree-sized, then pick and process the LaoShan as pu’er.. you’d be all over that stuff!

You’re such an unabashed pu’er lover. ;)

Do you have a preference for the Dragonwell-style in particular over the Wok-Fired or the Spring picking?

Nathaniel Gruber

Haha! Everybody tells me that I am very biased against green and black tea. I think that both are great, I just won’t drink them on a daily basis. Funnily enough I have only drank shu pu’er once in the past few months because I’ve been so hooked on all of the fresh, spring picking stuff that has come in. I’m sure as the weather turns back to cold after our short summer I will begin to drink shu pu’er daily once again.

As for the green tea…I can really appreciate both styles of the Laoshan tea but I think my favorite would have to be the spring picking. It is just too sweet and fresh not to love.

Jesse Örö

What does “Dragonwell Style” mean in this context? Is this from one of the Longjing cultivars, grown in Laoshan? Or maybe it’s leaves are processed in a same way, although the cultivar is different?

Nathaniel Gruber

Processed in the same way, though the cultivar is different. Correct.

Jesse Örö

Can you tell me more about this tea? Is it the same cultivar as the other Laoshan greens Verdant Teas is selling?

There were reports that there was major drought in Shandong province, and that presumably has affected the tea as well. What do you think? How is Laoshan green this year compared to last year?

David Duckler

Hi Jesse!
Thanks for the interest. This “Dragonwell Style” Laoshan is a bit confusing. In the village of Laoshan, nobody thinks of it as Dragonwell style specifically. They recently started experimenting with hand pressing the leaves flat, because the lower heat required, and the lesser degree of handling take some of the hearty bean edge off the tea and make it sweeter. We decided to call it Dragonwell Style because Dragonwell village was the first to really make that technique known, and the flat leaves are associated in the west with Dragonwell green.

There is no difference in the cultivar. In fact, all of our green teas come from a family farm of about 15 acres that has one of the privileged spots on the mountainside itself instead of the surrounding valley. Tea plants were actually brought up from Zhejiang originally. The government discovered that Taoist monks were growing tea on th emountainside, and started an experimental farm in the 50’s right in the middle of Qingdao. After playing around with their Zhejiang plants and progressively selecting heartier and hearier ones, they were ready to plant on Laoshan. After about 20 years of establishing themselves, the plants are yielding, in my opinion, some of teh best green tea out there. for more on Laoshan, you can see the article on the site:
http://verdanttea.com/gallery/dragonwell-style-laoshan-green/

About the drought: Shandong has been effected, but Laoshan is in a specialy spot that makes it pretty immune to drought. It is right nera the tip of a peninsula, about a mile inland from the ocean, and catches ocean mist every day. In fact, it is probably mountains on the coast like Laoshan that stop rain from travelling inland to water other crops. In any case, the family that we work with is very optimistic, and excited about this spring picking.

Jesse Örö

Hey, thanks for detailed answer! So, if these laoshan greens are of same area and same cultivar, difference in taste has to come from processing. Interesting, teas from same areas and processings but different cultivars are possible to find, but now there is teas of same area, same cultivar yet different processing.

David Duckler

Yes, it is not a normal thing to find so many different processing techniques for Laoshan tea. They are even making black tea out of the exact same leaves that they pick for green tea. The reason is that tea production in the area is so new that there are no traditions to follow. Some might see that as negative, but I see it as a great example of innovation. The result is some really crazy and fun tea coming out of the village. If every tea village continued expirimenting and trying to improve, it would be hard to imagine what we would get. Another example of innovation is with pu’er tea, which has increased in quality immensely in the last 50 years due to higher demand and competition from dishonest merchants. The honest farmers have had to push what they do to a new level to stay on top.

Chad

That makes sense, but it disagrees with everyone else who says increased demand has had the opposite effect on quality.

Nathaniel Gruber

I think Pu’er production is interesting in that it is something that has pushed people to master their art more as time goes on. People are able to distinguish between the best stuff and an impostor. A really high quality Sheng pu’er from 40 years ago will not be nearly as good as a really high quality Sheng pu’er from 2005 being drunk in 2045. This is because of innovation and people understanding the tea more today than they did in the past.

David and I have seen the same to be true with really great yixing tea pots. Though many people get upset to hear us say it, it is true that the best crafted tea pots from today are of much higher craftsmanship than most of what was made 80 years ago. We have discussed this with one of David’s tea pots, which is an absolute work of art with a great story behind it (not to mention extremely expensive). This particular tea pot is from the beginning of the 20th century. It is beautiful and great, but the craftsmanship cannot compare to a few of his newer tea pots. Sometimes the fact that something is older doesn’t necessarily make it supreme.

To sum up: it’s true that there are people taking advantage of increased demand and producing lower quality tea and tea pots. But, it’s even more true that the true artists of tea and tea culture are still evolving, continually bringing about newer and better techniques and practices, all of which we are lucky enough to have people like David that can bring them in to the country for all of us.

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Comments

Chad

I can’t wait to taste this tea. I’ve never had dragon well, but I love sencha. So, it will be interesting to see how it compares.

Spoonvonstup

“I myself will not drink green tea daily..”

Now if someone would only let tea grow wild in LaoShan for a hundred years until it’s tree-sized, then pick and process the LaoShan as pu’er.. you’d be all over that stuff!

You’re such an unabashed pu’er lover. ;)

Do you have a preference for the Dragonwell-style in particular over the Wok-Fired or the Spring picking?

Nathaniel Gruber

Haha! Everybody tells me that I am very biased against green and black tea. I think that both are great, I just won’t drink them on a daily basis. Funnily enough I have only drank shu pu’er once in the past few months because I’ve been so hooked on all of the fresh, spring picking stuff that has come in. I’m sure as the weather turns back to cold after our short summer I will begin to drink shu pu’er daily once again.

As for the green tea…I can really appreciate both styles of the Laoshan tea but I think my favorite would have to be the spring picking. It is just too sweet and fresh not to love.

Jesse Örö

What does “Dragonwell Style” mean in this context? Is this from one of the Longjing cultivars, grown in Laoshan? Or maybe it’s leaves are processed in a same way, although the cultivar is different?

Nathaniel Gruber

Processed in the same way, though the cultivar is different. Correct.

Jesse Örö

Can you tell me more about this tea? Is it the same cultivar as the other Laoshan greens Verdant Teas is selling?

There were reports that there was major drought in Shandong province, and that presumably has affected the tea as well. What do you think? How is Laoshan green this year compared to last year?

David Duckler

Hi Jesse!
Thanks for the interest. This “Dragonwell Style” Laoshan is a bit confusing. In the village of Laoshan, nobody thinks of it as Dragonwell style specifically. They recently started experimenting with hand pressing the leaves flat, because the lower heat required, and the lesser degree of handling take some of the hearty bean edge off the tea and make it sweeter. We decided to call it Dragonwell Style because Dragonwell village was the first to really make that technique known, and the flat leaves are associated in the west with Dragonwell green.

There is no difference in the cultivar. In fact, all of our green teas come from a family farm of about 15 acres that has one of the privileged spots on the mountainside itself instead of the surrounding valley. Tea plants were actually brought up from Zhejiang originally. The government discovered that Taoist monks were growing tea on th emountainside, and started an experimental farm in the 50’s right in the middle of Qingdao. After playing around with their Zhejiang plants and progressively selecting heartier and hearier ones, they were ready to plant on Laoshan. After about 20 years of establishing themselves, the plants are yielding, in my opinion, some of teh best green tea out there. for more on Laoshan, you can see the article on the site:
http://verdanttea.com/gallery/dragonwell-style-laoshan-green/

About the drought: Shandong has been effected, but Laoshan is in a specialy spot that makes it pretty immune to drought. It is right nera the tip of a peninsula, about a mile inland from the ocean, and catches ocean mist every day. In fact, it is probably mountains on the coast like Laoshan that stop rain from travelling inland to water other crops. In any case, the family that we work with is very optimistic, and excited about this spring picking.

Jesse Örö

Hey, thanks for detailed answer! So, if these laoshan greens are of same area and same cultivar, difference in taste has to come from processing. Interesting, teas from same areas and processings but different cultivars are possible to find, but now there is teas of same area, same cultivar yet different processing.

David Duckler

Yes, it is not a normal thing to find so many different processing techniques for Laoshan tea. They are even making black tea out of the exact same leaves that they pick for green tea. The reason is that tea production in the area is so new that there are no traditions to follow. Some might see that as negative, but I see it as a great example of innovation. The result is some really crazy and fun tea coming out of the village. If every tea village continued expirimenting and trying to improve, it would be hard to imagine what we would get. Another example of innovation is with pu’er tea, which has increased in quality immensely in the last 50 years due to higher demand and competition from dishonest merchants. The honest farmers have had to push what they do to a new level to stay on top.

Chad

That makes sense, but it disagrees with everyone else who says increased demand has had the opposite effect on quality.

Nathaniel Gruber

I think Pu’er production is interesting in that it is something that has pushed people to master their art more as time goes on. People are able to distinguish between the best stuff and an impostor. A really high quality Sheng pu’er from 40 years ago will not be nearly as good as a really high quality Sheng pu’er from 2005 being drunk in 2045. This is because of innovation and people understanding the tea more today than they did in the past.

David and I have seen the same to be true with really great yixing tea pots. Though many people get upset to hear us say it, it is true that the best crafted tea pots from today are of much higher craftsmanship than most of what was made 80 years ago. We have discussed this with one of David’s tea pots, which is an absolute work of art with a great story behind it (not to mention extremely expensive). This particular tea pot is from the beginning of the 20th century. It is beautiful and great, but the craftsmanship cannot compare to a few of his newer tea pots. Sometimes the fact that something is older doesn’t necessarily make it supreme.

To sum up: it’s true that there are people taking advantage of increased demand and producing lower quality tea and tea pots. But, it’s even more true that the true artists of tea and tea culture are still evolving, continually bringing about newer and better techniques and practices, all of which we are lucky enough to have people like David that can bring them in to the country for all of us.

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I am a lover of everything good. Rivers, fields, plains, forests, lakes, mountains, valleys, deserts – people, tea, beer, cheese, wine. But mainly, more than anything, I love God. None of these other things are worth a cent without Him.

P.S. If you’re ever in Milwaukee and looking for someone to drink tea with for an afternoon, don’t hesitate to send a message.

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http://verdanttea.com/

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