Mrs. Li's Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea

Tea type
Green Tea
Green Tea Leaves
Citrus Zest, Cream, Green, Guava, Nuts, Roasted Nuts, Vanilla, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal, Creamy, Peas, Spicy, Sugarcane, Thick, Butter, Vegetables, Artichoke, Asparagus, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Honey, Mineral, Straw, Nutty, Salt, Broccoli, Kettle Corn, Wheat, Spinach, Garden Peas, Soybean, Lettuce, Pine, Smooth, Cucumber, Flowers, Honey Dew, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Apple, Lima Beans, Beany
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 10 oz / 285 ml

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90 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This is possibly one of the most beautiful teas in my collection, it’s beautiful ‘leaf and bud’ sets floating gracefully, gradually swelling and unfolding, and finally sinking to the bottom. I...” Read full tasting note
  • “Finally, I feel like I have enough time to try this tea and do it justice! However, although I’d love to try the authentic dragonwell method, I simply can’t drink hot tea, and can only envision...” Read full tasting note
  • “I’ve had this tea for a while, I can’t remember how long it’s been. It smells so nutty and tastes so sweet and vegetal. I have definitely enjoyed this tea a lot and will consider getting some more...” Read full tasting note
  • “Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea has arrived! It seems like this tea present (more than purchase) will be arriving today (and the rest of this week) in households across North America and...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

True Shi Feng Dragonwell is one of the most admired teas in the world, officially endorsed by Emperor Qianlong as the archetypal green tea. We sourced this limited batch from an old friend, Mrs. Li, whose family has a plot of land at the heights of Shi Feng (Lion’s Peak). Tea lovers make the long hike up gravel and dirt roads to reach Mrs. Li’s farm and buy a bit of her precious harvest. Because of our unique friendship, we were able to secure a few pounds to share.

The aroma of the leaf in the cup is creamy with a sweet tinge of Granny Smith apple, the vegetal notes of soybean and the distinctive crisp mineral quality that Dragonwell green tea is known for. The first sips of this tea are a textural experience with tingling notes that play across the tongue like Sichuan peppercorn, and a building thickness of sweet rice pudding.

As the flavor unfolds there is a hearty confident vegetable sweetness like caramelized Brussels sprouts accentuated by a bursting juiciness of apple coming trough. The mouthfell moves gracefully between a thick Bourbon vanilla and cashew quality to the crisp mineral sparkle of fine Dragonwell. Later steepings bring out a Rainier cherry aftertaste with the herbaceous sweetness of cooked cactus paddle.

As a side note, the beautiful buds are sweet and tender to eat plain or tossed in a salad with a bit of sesame oil after the tea is fully steeped out. Use a glass vessel to brew this tea and get the full experience of the downy buds dancing in the water.

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90 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

This is possibly one of the most beautiful teas in my collection, it’s beautiful ‘leaf and bud’ sets floating gracefully, gradually swelling and unfolding, and finally sinking to the bottom.

I brewed it per the Dragonwell style directions on the Verdant product page, and have been savoring it all morning, along with an occasional cup of the Laoshan black for contrast, which is still in my Gaiwan (who knows how many cups I’ve had of that by now). When I drink it this way, no matter how much I try to blow the tea across the top of the cup, I always end up with tea in my mouth. No problem, it gives me something to chew on and contemplate.

Sweet, savory, vegetal. I don’t drink it everyday, but probably should drink it more often, and I’ll be sad when it’s gone.

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6105 tasting notes

Finally, I feel like I have enough time to try this tea and do it justice! However, although I’d love to try the authentic dragonwell method, I simply can’t drink hot tea, and can only envision oversteeping occurring as a result of attempting it (although one day I think I’ll give it a shot, I just really don’t want to burn my tongue right now!), so I’m trying a western-brewing sort of thing. I measured out 3g of leaf, popped it into a brew basket, and went with a 1-minute infusion at 175F, hoping that it would work out.

I’m happy to report that I was quite successful – the tea has a light, sweet aroma and a rock sugar flavour much like the Tung Ting Vietnam oolong I just drank from DavidsTEA, however there are light seaweedy notes mixed in here, and additional vegetal notes… and so much more that my poor brain can’t seem to describe! Short version? This is delicious, and a perfect tea selection for this evening. The seaweedy notes I’m getting here are what differentiate this most in my mind from the Dragonwell-style Laoshans, which have the rock sugar sweetness but IMO much less complexity aside from that, with only the green beany sort of flavour. This tea is also so, so smooth.

Very impressed with this one, even though I didn’t brew it as recommended! Onto a second infusion shortly, as I know greens do not take well to sitting overnight prior to re-steeping (in my experience), and I really want to see how this one lasts!

ETA: Second infusion for 1:15 is lighter and less distinctive, but still quite tasty. The vegetal notes are a bit more in the background, and I almost feel like I’m getting a hint of a popcorn sort of flavour… air-popped, we’re not talking buttery here. Yum. Still smooth as anything. I think I’ll try for at least one more infusion (probably 2 minutes) before thiefing some of my roommate’s sesame oil and munching on the leaves…

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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2816 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea for a while, I can’t remember how long it’s been. It smells so nutty and tastes so sweet and vegetal. I have definitely enjoyed this tea a lot and will consider getting some more if it becomes available (don’t see it on Verdant’s site anymore).

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Lily Duckler

This one just sold out last week. There is no autumn harvest in Dragonwell, but we’ll definitely bring in the 2014 harvest when Spring returns!


Cool, I’ll keep an eye out for it!

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676 tasting notes

Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea has arrived!

It seems like this tea present (more than purchase) will be arriving today (and the rest of this week) in households across North America and then around the World. ANTICIPATION!

I didn’t hesitate and went to the Verdant website, transferred all the information about the tea to Steepster so that we could review our Dragonwell together as it arrives.

Next, I read ‘How to Brew’ which I highly, HIGHLY recommend!

I chose the tumbler brewing method with 5oz. tea leaves, and luckily I had a gallon of Spring water left in the frig.
The quality of the water is very important with this particular tea.

With the tumbler method there was no straining of leaves, no timing of steepings and no worry. The process was very relaxed.

The leaves were jade green, very flat and had a fine white powder on them.

Following the brewing instructions carefully, I filled my tumbler and began blowing the leaves out of the way… sipping what looked like clear water.
That was fun.
I had to take off my glasses…the steam blinded me!

The sight of swirling green leaves and steam was beautiful.
Like the humid mist in the rain forest, I began to sip and think about green winged dragonflies, pure peridot colored leaves,
leaves swirling around like a school of fish.

I kept my eye on the level of the water in my tumbler and pushed the leaves away from my mouth by blowing on the leaves.
As the water level reached the lower third of the glass, I would fill it up again with water.
Blow on the leaves, sip, blow on the leaves, sip, pour in more water, blow on the leaves and sip.
That was all.

At times my technique of blowing leaves away and sipping had all the finesse of a whale sifting plankton. Some got caught in my mouth.

The flavor of the tea was savory soybean. This was the clearest, purest of pure flavors. No astringency, heat or bite. The sweetness was so subtle you hardly noticed.
The taste was soft but still rich and the mineral quality was like laying under a cool waterfall with the smell of wet granite and calcified rock.

As I continued pouring, the water turned pale green, and there was a bit of peppercorn heat.

My forehead became ‘tight’. Hum, I was aware that the tea was letting me know it’s potency. A well adorned object of beauty with hidden powers.

The last time I went swimming in the deep sea was 5 years ago in Kauai. The spot was off some enormous, jutting mountains (you might remember in ‘Lost’ or ‘Jurassic Park’) that go straight up and then straight down as jagged points back into the sea.
There in Kauai, the light penetrated the crystal water so deep that I watched small, flat, silver fish coming close to me then dart away. There was coral, giant marbled green rock…fern-like plants waving softly as though a gentle breeze was moving past them.

That is what I was thinking when I was drinking my tea. About the rocks, fish, sun and water, and the slow gentle movement of living things. I thought about me in the middle of it all floating.

When I finished my tea, I went to the cupboard, took down my small bottle of toasted sesame oil and put just a few drops on the tea leaves with a few grains of salt. (I could have added these to a salad but wanted to taste them as they were.)

They were delicious! Really, really good!

I can’t wait to hear the tasting adventures everyone else has with this tea. What fun, and what a pleasure to have this rare Dragonwell available to us.

This tea was elegant, refined and pure.

Thank you Mrs. Li for sharing your treasure with us!

Daisy Chubb

My eyes are crinkling and my smile stretching with longing! A lovely review Bonnie – so full of vivid imagery!


Thank you, your opinion(’s) matter to me.

Terri HarpLady

Yes, a beautiful review, I love the imagery, especially of the whale!


Beautiful, Bonnie, thank you.


You ate the tea leaves with sesame oil and salt? That sounds awesome! Cannot wait to get my tea and try it out!


Oh yes, of course! Kittenna this is right up your alley (or field of culinary expertise!) …I’ll never forget your stint with asparagus studies either!

Joshua Smith

I was already excited about this tea, but your review has taken my aniticipation to new heights! Also, loved the little scene you painted of Kauai, especially since I’m pretty sure that I went to the same place, and enjoyed it just as much as you did!

Yogini Undefined

Beautiful review!


I still haven’t tried this tea! Bad me! I’m so craving greens + sesame oil right now though. And, my stint with asparagus studies is not over yet (although I wish it was!)

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412 tasting notes

Finally I have time to do the tasting this tea deserves! I had never had Dragonwell tea before, or even a Dragonwell-styled tea, so the appearance of the leaves was quite striking. They’re flat! As if they had been pressed. I prepared it Dragonwell style, with about 3g tea in the bottom of a glass mug, then adding 175˚ water and starting to drink as soon as it’s cool enough. That took a few minutes for me (I’m a wuss – I can’t drink 150˚ water :P) so the liquor was a lovely fragrant pale green by the time I tasted it, and in the meantime I got to enjoy the beauty of the leaves dancing in the water (they float, then some turn vertical and bob up and down a bit, and gradually most sink to the bottom, though several remain upright as if they might float again). It also has the slight haze you get from silver needle teas.

Anyway, once I could drink it this was quite flavorful. I’m not good at identifying green tea flavors, but this is definitely vegetal, some mineral, and a little spicy at times.

I’ve gone through about 16oz water now, and I like this better as it goes on. The flavor waxes and wanes as I add water and let it sit, but overall it gets fuller and sweeter.

165 °F / 73 °C

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464 tasting notes

Dragonwell is a tea I’ve only begun to appreciate lately, mostly because I’ve learned that you don’t need to steep it for very long. If steeped too strongly, it always develops that seaweed type taste I am not fond of, but if steeped for just a short time it develops into a buttery, grassy, tasty treat. So after going through this learning process, I’m very excited to try this particular dragonwell from Verdant. I set aside a little time after my run this morning to really spend some time with it.

Even with a 10 second steep I’m getting a little bit of seaweed in this, but it’s not overwhelming or too bright. In fact the flavor is darker than I expected- like the taste of fall grape vines (yes I actually chew on grape vines from the backyard sometimes). It is just slightly bitter, but again not unpleasantly so. There is definitely a buttery aspect to this which smooths out the dark veggies. It almost has a nutty quality to this flavor, somewhat like mashed chestnuts. The fruity, bright aftertaste reminds me of green grapes, like when you chew one, seeds and all. I never thought a green tea could remind me a vineyard, but this one does- It brings into my mind the image of a vineyard near the ocean. The taste of green grapes combined with the salty tang of sea air. Weird, but pleasant. I think I’ll have another cup! :-)


i have some waiting unopened for me to continue to knock down the rest of teas, lol. can’t wait!


This was the sample from my last order! I’m glad they slipped it in and I got a chance to try it


so less time rather than more for the steep?


Yes. At least if you have similar taste in greens to me.

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1186 tasting notes

Having a few steeps of this in the gaiwan tonight, haven’t had it in a while! Enjoying the nutty green flavor tonight a lot! I have been lazy with tea notes today, had 2 other cups this afternoon but haven’t logged them yet. Haha, just relaxing today and have been watching Harry Potter. So yeah, See previous notes on this tea :)


Harry Potter!! I have a severe need to get all the movies and spend a whole Saturday watching the entire gamut! Maybe next weekend…


Nice! Yeah I usually watch them every few months in the span of a week :) I need to re-read the books though, haven’t done that in ages!

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2201 tasting notes

I ordered this tea quite a while ago, but never got around to trying it because I didn’t have a scale to weigh the leaves and wasn’t confident on my ability to estimate. Then I finally brought my kitchen scale into work, but still I forgot that I had this tea and now could drink it, until just the other day. Well, I’m finally trying it now.

Let me start out by saying that I am attempting to follow the “dragowell style” steeping instructions on Verdant’s website. However, I am a little miffed that the instructions on Verdant’s site say nothing about the size of the “glass tumbler” used in this method. A medium sized gaiwan, I know what that means. There is not a standard size of a glass tumbler. :P

My cup is about 8oz I think, for anyone looking for the sizes people have used. Otherwise, I followed the instructions. Except for the fact that just about the entire batch of tea leaves is floating on the top of my in a thick layer (and my mug is a wide mouth!), making “blowing them out of the way” nearly impossible. I am definitely eating quite a few leaves, not exactly on purpose. Not to mention that in attempting to blow the leaves out of the way I am mostly succeeding in blowing water all over the place (the water moves, the tea leaves don’t!). This is not exactly an enjoyable way for me to drink a cup of tea.

With all the fussing and such, I couldn’t even concentrate on the tea. What I did taste was tasty, with a nice buttery-bakery flavor that I like in dragonwells. But this experience was not conducive to a review. I just don’t forsee myself brewing it this way again. Gaiwan/teapot it is, next time.

Mark B

I hate hearing that you didn’t have the best experience with this tea. Here’s my two cents. Hope it helps:

If you’re going with the tall glass method, I would at minimum recommend a ten to 16 oz tempered glass. I’ve used everything from a pint glass for beer to standard cooler glasses like you’d find in this image search:

I usually go with double wall tumblers that I talk about in my profile. Either way, my tall glass method for consuming ALL Dragonwell/Longjing teas, regardless of cup choice, is to first warm the cup with hot water and pour off. Then I introduce about 3 teaspoons of tea give or take depending on size of cup. For instance with my 10 oz I can get away with 2 to 3 teaspoons, depending on how much volume there is to the leaf (sorry this is not an exact science, but more feel). If it were a 16 oz tumbler I might go tablespoons.

Maybe this will help; most samples come 5 to 7 grams. If I were brewing this from a sample, I’d use the whole thing. Coincidentally, when I measure by eye, 3 teaspoons usually ends up to be 5-7g.

Anyway, So you warm the glass. Then drop those leaves in the glass and give it a nice swirl or shake in the warm damp environment. Give it a whiff. Right?? Let the journey begin.

Now take water in temp ranging from 175-185˚F and pour along the edges of the glass until you have about an inch of water in the bottom. Swirl the tea gently around in the glass for about 30 seconds to wet the leaves and prime them for steeping. For water temperature, if you don’t have a thermometer, I find boiled water will get into this temperature range by filling your cold glass, and then pouring it off into another while you go through the first prep stages. This warms the glass and cools the water at the same time. It’s particularly effective with thick tempered glass as the glass retains a lot of the heat. Then, while you drink, as your boiled water sits in the kettle, it will naturally fall in temp while you do multiple infusions. Mind you it may fall below temp, depending on how long you take, and heating and decanting can help get you back into the ballpark.

So, after a 30 second swirl you can now fill your glass, leaving a little breathing room. Leaving room is just civilized, and if using a filtered tumbler, it’s also practical. Some would say you let the tea steep until 80% of the leaves drop. I don’t find this to be the case, particularly with high quality teas. A 30-45 sec 1st steep is plenty, maybe even less depending on how strong you like your tea. Consider that you’ve already primed the leaves for 30 secs in the first stage…

Now decant your tea into another warmed glass. Use a filter if you must, or simply a fork to hold back the leaf. But here’s the trick, leave a “root.” A root is about 1/3 of the water, enough to keep the leaves covered. Enjoy your first infusion.

For the second infusion, I’ll fill the glass again, but this steep is usually pretty short, maybe 20-30 secs. My logic is that the root has been sitting for a bit, the leaves have yielded a lot of flavor and thus it’s not going to take much to get where I want to go. Use your nose and eyes too. How does the color look? Does it smell like it’s ready? Sometimes I’ll even give the glass a gentle swirl to distribute the leaves more evenly. Drink and enjoy. Assuming you’ve left a root and were using a 10 oz glass, you’ve just enjoyed two 5 oz cups of tea.

For the 3rd infusion time may be a bit more of a factor. Your water temp may be lower (and you may be too lazy to get water up to temp), so you may take longer. I’m usually lazy, and my waters usually dropped to about 160. So this turns into 45sec-1min steep. Leave your root, drink and enjoy.

Steep 4 is where I usually drain my brewing vessel and call it quits, but your experience may vary. Again with my lazy water temps, I might fill the glass and let brew for a while. This might sit for upward of 5 mins while I drink my 3rd infusion, or get lost in something else.

When it’s all said and done, 5-7 grams of tea yields about 24-30 oz of liquid goodness.

Now I know this is not quite the same method that David outlines at Verdant, but the results for me are quite dependable. Hope you find the same. Sometimes, when I’m on the move, I drink directly from the glass and add water as I go, but I prefer to decant. When I’m not decanting I prefer to use a filter and refill the glass even before the half way point, otherwise I find the tea too strong.

For the videos that got me started on this method, check here:

Invader Zim

This is extremely helpful. I could never get the tumbler method to work for me, but I’ll have to give this a try!


Wow, thanks for the comment Mark. Those are quite detailed instructions!

My main problem was that the leaves never sunk, in fact the ones on the bottom floated to the surface! And there was no decanting in the instructions, but I definitely do need to decant. What you describe is basically how I experienced green tea tastings in China, so I should have definitely just tried to go with that. Thanks for the suggestions.


Wow! Thank you for taking the time to type all of that out and link the videos, Mark B. I was unfamiliar with that method. I can’t wait to try it!

Mark B

Glad you folks like the info. Report back your results!

Dinosara, I find the leaves don’t sink when the water temp is not high enough. But using the method I outline, they always eventually descend, especially on the 2nd steep. It’s a fine line of temperature there though.

Also, I didn’t mention it, but I NEVER cover my glass. I find this tends towards stewing the leaves, which is not what I’m going for. It changes the flavor profile dramatically and a lot of the subtlety can be lost. Let’s call this more gently coaxing the spirit of the tea out until it submits!


I watched the timer on the video and the majority of the leaves plummeted at almost exactly three minutes.

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1113 tasting notes

I bought a sample of this with my last Verdant order. I love green teas, but this is not my favorite. I feel like I should love it though! I wonder if I am steeping it wrong or something. It is a little bit too astringent or something for me. I do appreciate the vegetal and mineraly flavor and sweet smell. Also there is a richness I appreciate. Maybe I just steeped it too long…


This was my free sample in my last order. I’m looking for a time to set aside it so I can steep it “properly”.


Probably a good plan. I’m going to be more careful with my 2nd steep and see if it performs better!


2nd steep went much better :)


Good to know! :-)


Hahaha, my Verdant order came today and I got another sample pack of this!


I guess they want people to try it!!

Lily Duckler

It’s true! :) We love sharing Mrs. Li’s tea, and we want to make sure folks can try it before it gets too late in the year. One tip for Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell is to keep your glass (or tea pot or mug) uncovered while you’re brewing it. Covering your leaves will let steam build up which can raise the temperature and scald the leaves.
Another thing to try is leaving a little bit of water covering the leaves in between steepings. This will keep protect the delicate flat-pressed leaves from oxidizing while you sip!

Mrs Li keeps it simple when brewing for guests: just leaves in an uncovered glass cup and below-boiling water. Have you seen her video about brewing Dragonwell?


Good to know! Thanks for the tips, Lily!


Sweet! Thanks Lily!

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4843 tasting notes


I am really glad that I had the opportunity to try this tea as it is now sold out. This is one of the finest Dragon Well teas I’ve ever tried. No big surprise there, since Verdant Tea always seems to deliver some of the finest teas available! I can’t think of a time when they’ve ever disappointed me!

Sweet, creamy, nutty … delicious! I was surprised at how well I was able to distinguish the cashews in this tea. It really has a distinct cashew flavor. Slight grassy tones with hints of lima bean. A faint mineral taste as well. The creaminess took me by surprise as well, because I don’t ordinarily associate “creaminess” as a Dragon Well quality.

A really fine tea. Here’s my full-length review:

Lily Duckler

Hi Liberteas- thank you for your wonderful review!

We were able to bring in Mrs. Li’s 2013 Spring Harvest of Shi Feng Dragonwell, and we still have some available. I hope you get the chance to try it again sometime soon. :)


i have some coming!!!! thank you for you review from me too! lol.

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