I was thrilled and disappointed to find an unopened foil package of this in one of the tins on my tea shelf – thrilled because I occasionally treat myself to this (very expensive) tea and it’s one of my favourite Dragon Wells, and disappointed because my pack had a harvest date of 2012.
I’m not sure how I forgot I had this for a year and a half – the perils of having dozens of tins and ziplock bags of teas.
It’s a very delicate tea even when it’s at its freshest, so I brewed, in a glass jug, about 5g in 300ml near-boiling water for about 4-minute steeps to try to compensate for any diminished taste. With the fresh leaves, I’d usually use about 2-3g.
The leaves are very small and light green, the liquor a nice clear pale yellow, and the taste and smell are softly grassy. I got a lovely oily mouthfeel, and the aroma and flavours were the same as with fresh leaves, but much fainter as I expected.
I’m rating this highly based on experiences with fresh leaves, and how well it has stood up over time – its characteristics were faint, but it had no staleness, and the flavour and scent, though not as vibrant as when I buy and drink this around harvest time, still tasted beautiful and fresh.
Overall this stood up very well; I only managed to get 2 infusions from the leaves before the taste and aroma vanished, whereas with recently harvested I can get 3 or even 4, but I’m still as impressed with this tea as ever, and will be searching my tea tins for any more forgotten treasures.