Loose. Appearance: leaves are mottled light and dark green, in pretty, flat strips. They open into mossy green leaves when steeped. I actually prefer looking at the dry leaves because they are more jade like and pretty. Liquor: yellow chartreuse. Smell: nutty and vegetal. Taste: Dragonwell is probably my favorite Chinese green tea, and this is a very nice version. This taste is vegetal but sweet, nutty (a hint of the pan firing), with a creamy mouthfeel, and minimal astringency. It is smooth enough I can drink it all day. 8/10. (The Monkey King from Sky Tea I’ve also reviewed was probably better in terms of tea quality – I love the long leaves – but this dragonwell also gets an 8 because the price is nice enough it can be a regular presence at work.)

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Attorney in San Francisco. Recent convert to tea drinking, but I’m hooked. I also love experimenting with vegetarian food (meaning I rarely use recipes). Long time chocolate lover.

When I review a tea, I will identify the following information: Source – “Name.” Style, including loose, bag, or sachet. Appearance, referring to the appearance of the leaves dry. Liquor, referring to the appearance of the brewed drink. Smell, referring to the brewed liquor. Taste (self-explanatory). Other insights. Finally, I will give it a score from 1 to 10. Anything in the 1-3 range is something that I disliked and am unlikely to consume again. Anything in the 4-6 range is okay; I am not likely going to buy it again, but if I came across it and wasn’t paying (or past my fairly low caffeine tolerance for the day), I probably would consume again. Anything in the 7-9 range is something I liked, and the higher the score the more likely I will try to keep the particular tea around. I intend to use a 10 rating very rarely, and only for the very best.

General notes:

I don’t like milk or sugar in my tea, except for an Indian style chai masala and certain other exceptional cases. Many black teas are blended to be more on the bitter side, and thus to call for sugar to soften and round the flavors. When I think to try sugar in such a black, my review will note any difference between the straight and sugared taste. I’m doing that for the review process, because if something requires sugar, I’m unlikely to commit to it for one of my standard teas. I can’t imagine using sugar in a green, oolong, or white tea, so don’t expect that distinction in reviews of those types.


San Francisco



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