Mrs. Li's Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea

Tea type
Green Tea
Green Tea Leaves
Butter, Peas, Vegetables, Artichoke, Asparagus, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Honey, Mineral, Straw, Nuts, Nutty, Salt, Vegetal, Broccoli, Kettle Corn, Wheat, banana, Cream, Spinach, Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla, Sweet, warm grass, Apple, Green, Smooth, Lima Beans, Beany
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Loose Leaf
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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 / 294 ml

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81 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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81 Tasting Notes

1259 tasting notes

Hmmm, I’ll post my tealog under this – or maybe I should create a 2013 tea?
I dunno. I just drink the tea, take weird photos and write the review.

Lovely spinach, cucumber, melon, creamy, sweet, fruity, refreshing and lychee notes!

I tried this tea both gaiwan and glass brewing – the gaiwan went better for me as in the glass. However, I can see this dragonwell being really great to enjoy in one’s tumbler all day!

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl

175 °F / 79 °C

Yum! I’m so glad I ordered a sample of this tea! Can’t wait to try it!!

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794 tasting notes

I love Dragonwell.

I dumped the dry leaves in my warmed flowering teapot and it smelled like a peanut butter, except more vegetal! Maybe I shouldn’t have done that but the smell was worth it. Wow!

Drinking the “rinse” and it is equally full of buttery nuttiness. I’ve never had a Dragonwell that is this full of flavour and smell. It’s almost overwhelming.

I get the green granny smith apples on the first steep; it’s sweet, juicy, crisp, and kind of tart, in a way. I can’t believe I taste that. The buttery nut notes linger in the back roof of my mouth, like mushed cashews or soybeans. My second steep is even smoother with that prevailing buttery, nutty sweetness. The unfolding flavours evolve into various items.

I think I’m going to end the note there and just focus on drinking as much of this as possible- this may be my new favourite Dragonwell! I purchased two “Dragonwells”, among other teas, from Verdant but this is the only one I bought in a larger quantity right off the bat. I’m glad I did!

On a side-note: I never felt the full effect that the water taste had on tea until I started short brewing and went from Vancouver to Victoria. Victoria water tastes of algae! It is not my favourite.


That’s interesting! I was just using tap-water for the longest time, and then switched to filtered. Didn’t notice a huge difference but I feel better for doing so.


Oh and that Dragonwell sounds awesome! Seems like Verdant has some pretty fancy teas.


I was about to PM you- I’m actually sending you three Dragonwell samples because I couldn’t find any mention of this tea in your cupboards or ratings. Even if you don’t end up liking it I firmly believe this is a tea everyone should try at least once… or twice. Maybe three times? ;)

Miss Starfish

I was never a fan of CBD Victoria water, might be some of the ancient pipes? Van water always tasted more “chemically” to me.


Oh that’s awesome. Thanks! :D

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98 tasting notes

Since I saw this was going so fast I placed an order for a sample size of this and a few of the others teas that Verdant was getting low on that I had heard a lot about. The leaves of this look beautiful and they smell like a nice summer garden. Wet they smell very similar to a strawberry poptart, which amazes me. I am brewing in my gaiwan today so I will just list my notes for each steep.

1st: No rise as suggested and steeped for 3 sec. I can really taste the Cashew notes that are mentioned on the site.
2nd: 3 sec steep. Once again their is Cashew notes but its a little subdued since there is something else coming through, I’m not sure what.
3rd: 3 secs. Alright so what I was getting is a creamyness that compliments the cashew flavor.
4th: 6 sec. Along with the creamyness there is a bit of a sugary sweetness to this one. The cashew flavor is more blended with all the other flavors now so its like cashew butter.
5th: 9 sec. See above and image its blended even more.
6th: 12 sec. nothing different.

There will be other steepings but I don’t feel the need to post them since they seem to be staying the same from here on out.

175 °F / 79 °C

This has been getting such good reviews it’s a shame it was only available for such a short time


I know, if there had been any more I probably would have ordered a full order of it. Oh well, at least I got to try it.

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250 tasting notes

Alright, first time in almost two weeks that I actually had enough time to do a proper review. First of all, I actually tried this tea when I got it, but I had a paper to write and team mates to “motivate” so that the group wouldn’t fail a project (I refuse to do all the work, and actually had to bring the professor into the discussion to actually get them to work…).

As with all my green teas, I brewed this tea in my ceramic tumbler. I actually like to let my tea cool for a while before drinking, so the leaves had a few minutes to steep peacefully before I started to blow them out of my way. The first cup was delighfully clear and lightly grassy. It’s very sweet for a green tea, and it has an amazing smooth/creamy finish that is just perfect. It’s also amazing in that the smooth/creamy texture lingers for over two minutes on the hard palate, gently transitioning into a tingling creaminess (somehow, the smoothness dissapates). This is by far the best green tea I’ve ever had.

As the steepings ocntinued, the hashser edges of the grassiness quickly faded into a delightful sweet grass flavor. It’s like my beloved fukamushi sencha, but the texture of the tea is smoother. After about three cups, the creamy texture has faded, and it was relanced by a mineralish smoothness which lingers on the back of the tongue very delightfully. By number 5, vanilla was starting to peak out of the rest of the flavors, but it remained fairly weak for a quite some time.

The later steepings where characterized by a light vanilla flavor, a bit of sweet grass, and a general smooth, sweet taste. The amazing thing is that it never gets bitter, nor does the flavor ever really have anything unpleasant about it. It’s truly a finely-crafter tea, and I offer my humble thanks to both David and Mrs. Li for making this tea available to us.

Final experiment – How do the tea leaves taste? I remember somebody (I think it was Bonnie…) experimented and ate this tea after she was done, so I decided to give it a go. It was interesting, to say the least. The leaves didn’t have that much flavor, and they were very chewy, yet they wern’t unpleasant. It was fine, but I woun’t go out of my way to eat the leaves in the future.

Music of the DayDinastia Borja, directed by Jordi Savall.

This is a wonderful historically-informed performance, covereing music from the 11th century up to tail end of the renaissance, and from various cultures. THe common theme is the Borgia Family, and each peice can be related to them somehow. Also, the 3 cds come with a book in multiple languages, which explains both how the pieces relate to the Borgia family, tell their story, and provides the lyrics fo the music.

Here’s a sample:


Loved listening to Dinastia Borja and thinking about how the music influenced your experience mystically with this tea. How lovely to listen and have the best green tea of your life.

Joshua Smith

It really is a good album for tea listening, even the parts of the album which are recitations with musical accompaniment. MY only regret is that I don’t understand any of the languages, since I’m sure that it’s even better when you can understand what the singers are saying.


Somtimes I’d agree, and sometimes I like the fact that I’m listening to the essence or feeling of the music instead of the words. I listen to lots of Russian Chant and Choral music and Byzantine Chant.

Joshua Smith

I know exactly what you mean. The music was designed to evoke some emotion in the listener, and that is universal. You don’t actually need to know what they are saying to empathize with the music. It’s actually why I listen to Italian opera: I can figure out maybe 1 in 10 words, but the music is so expressive that I can understand it well enough to actually enjoy the music.


I think that when I was a little girl and my mom sang opera or Beethoven’s Lords Prayer ( ) and I knew the underlying physical pain she suffered. The tears would roll down my face as she sang and my little heart would almost break. I learned to play this last piece of music on the piano for her which wasn’t easy to do if I got choked up! So this is where I learned to feel music.

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8954 tasting notes

SIPDOWN! (mwahahaha getting tired of seeing those from me yet?) My review won’t do this justice since I am not a fan of green teas in the greater scheme of things. You’re better off checking out the reviews from other folks like Bonnie; Matt; Kittenna…etc.

Long story short? I would drink this again. it’s vegetal but in a sweet sort of way. However i only need maybe one green tea in my cupboard since it takes me forever to drink them, so i’m better off with something else :)

Terri HarpLady

I should pull this one out. I haven’t drank it for awhile, & then we can be twinsies!

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1719 tasting notes

I cannot use Verdant’s steeping method. I tried but I just can’t drink tea when it is that hot. So I had maybe a 30 second steep before realizing I had to pour into a drinking vessel. Even with botched methodology and a pretty short steep, this turned out very nice. This is an excellent version of the type. Clean, crisp, fresh and green. The aftertaste is sweet. I am on my first cup but expect to enjoy several more.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I’m so glad you’re enjoying these teas! :)


I’m so glad you shared them! I had three 12oz mugs out of this before I ran out of time.


I’m so glad you shared them! I had three 12oz mugs out of this before I ran out of time.

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417 tasting notes

Ack. I won’t rate this one as I’m not sure how much of the way this tea is is due to the fact that it’s a bit too old and I had opened it and then saved it for months unrefrigerated. Others have mentioned how beautiful this tea is, but my sample is full of lots of small leaf pieces. I honestly don’t think I could have accidentally pulverized it that much. I am very careful with my Verdant samples. However, my cat Xavier did sit in this box briefly.

I have always been disappointed with Dragonwell teas. I don’t think I have had a single good one! I see in videos these beautiful green leaves swirling and unfurling in a pale broth, and then slowly and delicately resting at the bottom of the glass.

The Dragonwells I have made always looked over-oxidized and full broken leaves that turn the water a mostly yellow color. This one did just that and brewed a bitter cup. Oh well.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Dragonwells are unforgiving I agree. It matters most to me that my water is filtered or else I can taste the bitterness. Also, I never pour the water directly on the leaves but down the side of the glass or gaiwan. (I use a glass not a gaiwan and never cover the top because this is what is done where the tea comes from). Sip and blow leaves, keep adding water.


Thanks for your advice, Bonnie. Unfortunately, I did all of these things. The water was filtered, it was of the correct temperature, I brewed it in an uncovered glass, and I did not pour it directly on the leaves. I was tempted to try Verdant’s first picking Dragonwell, until I read the reviews and someone said that it was easy to overbrew. I’ve heard from other sources that unless you are using water that is way too hot, it Dragonwell should never get bitter. Maybe I’m misinformed. Do you (or anyone else) have a good recommendation for another Dragonwell to try?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Whenever I have a difficult green tea, I steep 1tsp in 8oz of 160ºF water for 60 seconds. That’s my go-to for gyokuro and a few other Japanese teas as well as difficult Chinese teas or greens that don’t have any background info.


Maybe you’re a super tastebud person like me. I have to underleaf lots of tea’s. Forgot to say that. I start with a very small brewing to test it out. Small amount of leaves to 4 oz. After I determine my ratio, I can proceed. With black tea I have less trouble. Some green tea’s I can’t taste at all so I am picky about greens. You did all the right things though. Some people wing it, I should have known you wouldn’t!!! I don’t keep my Dragonwell around too long though either.


Thank you both for the suggestions! I have a few green teas that I need to drink up soon, and I think these ideas are going to help me brew them better. :-)


The Bay Area is a pretty good environment for tea. I can’t keep puerh too long here because it’s really dry. Oolongs do very well on dry climates and my black tea’s…I drink um up fast. Love my black tea like some people love their micobrew beer!


I’m actually in Napa, so it’s pretty usually pretty dry here too. Except for in the winter when it’s rainy. I’m about to get a mini fridge for my green teas because my regular fridge just doesn’t have the space (I’m also somewhat concerned somewhat about smell contamination). My puerhs are in a small cabinet that isn’t quite air-tight. I try to keep a few dishes of water in there to add some humidity to the environment. I mostly try to drink my teas pretty fast, though. I’m not very confident in my ability to properly store teas for aging.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Storing puerh for aging is actually really easy :) Keep in a condition with humidity under 85% (very easy) and temp between 68-80ºF (room temp), away from sunlight and strong smells, and NOT airtight. Air circulation is what ages tea – if you seal puerh off from air circulation for too long it will stop aging and won’t ever age again. Also note that most ripe puerh will smooth out and be boring after about 10 years. I had a 97’ a few days ago and it was incredibly boring and 1-note. Raw puerh is ideal between 40-60 years from what I’ve heard.

Also, note that refrigerating your tea will actually make it last SHORTER due to the humidity.


Interesting perspective. I’ve read so many times to refrigerate my matcha and gyokuro to ensure freshness, and had assumed that most green teas would last longer if I did that. I will probably continue to refrigerate any sealed green teas I have, because humidity getting in there is not a concern.

The cabinet where I store my puerh is not airtight, but you are right in that it probably could use more airflow. It’s just so dry here that I was about it getting too dried out, but it probably shouldn’t be a big concern.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Just make sure to let your sealed teas completely cool off before opening them after removing them from the fridge. If the leaves are still cold when you open the package, moisture in the air will instantly get pulled into the bag and ruin your entire bag of tea.


I will. Thanks! I’d never really considered the condensation factor before. That was really good information…

Whispering Pines Tea Company

No worries :) A long while back I destroyed a batch of green tea by putting it in the fridge, so I figured I’d try to pass it on :)

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300 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday when I had a toddler with a fever attached to me all day. I also brewed this in the recommended Dragonwell style. Took a bit of getting used to but got easier when I was half through my first glass (I actually had a place to blow the leaves to) and the subsequent refills only got easier as the leaves sank and tastier! In fact toward then end I found myself getting lost in the glass. Love love love the cherry aftertaste in this one, it’s amazing! The green was a bit intense for me at times, especially as the leaves kept trying to get into my mouth. Thankfully I have over an ounce of this left (pre-ordered a sample size and then added an ounce). Will be picking up some good spring water for my next session with this, at which point I hope to provide more detailed notes. Still feel very blessed to be able to drink this wonderful tea. Thank you Verdant and Mrs. Li!

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166 tasting notes

Enjoyed several steepings of this wonderful Dragonwell today. I’ve been on such a black tea binge, that I almost forgot how satisfying a really good green tea can be. One of my favorite greens!


Oh my goodness I feel the same way! I’ve been mainly drinking black tea lately, but relaxing with a cup of green or white tea is definitely a very happy change!

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602 tasting notes

First time drinking this as iced tea. It’s pretty good that way, actually. Same brewing method as usual for work. Make it up in the morning with 4 cup’s worth of leaves in my 1 QT pitcher, let cold steep for 8 hours and then sweeten and drink. I work 10 hour days these days so it’s totally doable.

I’ve drunk through 1/3 of the pitcher already with another third in my glass. It’s pretty good. Really refreshing during the sip and as soon as I stop drinking, the dragonwell green-tea-ness comes through pretty strongly for a few moments. If it were strongly green through the whole drink, I might have difficulty with it. It’s one of the difficulties I have with green tea in general. Also I didn’t have any of the usual ‘green tea nausea’ I have on an empty stomach.

In cat news: remaining kitties stayed nearby during all of yesterday, even the standoffish girl kitty. The initial grief has died down a bit though I still can’t talk about it or even type up this note without tearing up a bit (or a lot). I miss him but he was not having a good life anymore. The regret for the decision to have him put to sleep is that his life was so miserable now and not that I let him leave me. Hardest decision of pet parentship.

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

I’m so sorry to hear of your kitty’s passing :( hugs


Thanks. It’s been difficult, especially since this is the third kitty I’ve lost to illness/age in 3 years. But he’s with his sister now and I can take comfort in the fact that he’s not feeling bad anymore.


Oh no, I’m so sorry. :(


I know what you are going through. In May of 2013, I had to see my belovèd cat, Elton, who was almost 19, across the Rainbow Bridge. It broke my heart. He had developed cancer and was going blind. I know in my heart that one day we will be together again, and I find comfort in that. :::Hug:::


♥ I’m so sorry to hear this.

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