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Dragon's brew is the drink for spring

By Zhou Yutong and Sun Ye (China Daily)

14:49, April 02, 2013

(China Daily/Fan Zhen)

Name of tea: Dragon Well green tea (longjing)

Type: Green Tea

Origin: Dragon Well village, Zhejiang province

Qianlong Emperor, who ruled China for more than 60 years in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is closely associated with this tea. There is a story that he once held a packet of Dragon Well green tea leaves close to his chest as he hurried back to Beijing to see his mother.

The dowager had been ill and had sent for her son, out on a tour to Hangzhou. Qianlong was reputedly in the Dragon Well village in Zhejiang province, picking green tea leaves with the village girls when the news reached him. He stuffed the tea leaves into his pockets and sped home. By the time he got home, the tea leaves had fermented and were giving off a head-clearing fragrance. The royal matriarch took a sniff and felt better immediately.

This story is among the tales of the emperor's adventures, but the garden where he picked the tea leaves is still there at the foot of Lion Peak Hill, and from then on, Qianlong's royal seal of endorsement was firmly planted on Dragon Well tea.

Anecdotes aside, Dragon Well is the first among China's most well known teas.

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