Da Fo Longjing (Big Buddha Dragon Well)

Organic Green Tea 2022

Characteristic smooth and lingering complex Longjing flavor with a roast chestnut and floral aroma. Harvested in the early spring with uniformly sized leaves with a flattened bookmark-like shape.

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Tea Origin
Xinchang County, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, China

Tea Bush
Longjing #43 (Dragon Well #43)

Tea Maker
Lü Yiming

Harvest Time
Late March

Plucking Standard
One bud, two leaves

Spring leaves on Longjing #43 green tea bush
Spring leaves on a Longjing #43 cultivar tea bush

This Longjing possesses the freshness and sweetness of early spring tea. Made with machine frying for the beginning of its processing and finished by hand using the traditional pan-fired method to shape its leaves. The result is a tea with a light chestnut and floral aroma and a wonderfully complex taste: the signature of true Long Jing.

 

Making Da Fo Longjing Green Tea

A long row of machine fryers in a sparkling tea processing room, being carried down a long thin conveyor and pouring into a large woven bamboo basket on the floor.
The first ‘sha qing’ frying by machine to denature the enzymes in the leaf is very hot, over 210°C, and lasts only a few minutes.

Harvesting for this tea begins in early spring once the tea buds have grown to about 1.5 centimeters long. The plucking standard for Longjing or Dragon Well is one bud and one to two tender leaves. Once the fresh tea has been picked, the leaves are placed on bamboo trays and withered for about two hours to remove some of the strong grassy smell and let the leaves become soft and wilted, ideal for frying.

The tea is first fried by machine at a very high temperature to stop oxidation and keep the leaves green, around 200°C (390°F) for about 3-4 minutes. It goes through a second machine frying at lower heat to start shaping the leaves.

For making Longjing tea, oxidation needs to be stopped as soon as possible, many workers need to do it together for a large tea company.

A row of workers frying Da Fo Longjing tea leaves by hand in their woks.
For making Longjing tea, oxidation needs to be stopped ASAP, many workers need to do it together for a large tea company.

They give the tea a break before they further develop its shape and flavor by hand frying it in a wok at a lower temperature of 60-70°C (140-160°F) for about 20 minutes. During this time, the woks are closely watched and controlled to make sure the tea does not burn. The tea master will use specific and precise hand movements for frying the tea to create Dragon Well’s signature flat bookmark-shaped tea leaves. It takes lots of practice and experience to fry Longjing by hand this way.

 

Origins of Longjing tea production

The entrance to Da Fo Temple in Zhejiang, with an angled roof over an outdoor archway.
The entrance to Da Fo Temple in Zhejiang Province, which gives Da Fo Longjing its name.

While Longjing originated around Hangzhou City, it is now produced in many provinces, resulting in a wide range of quality and flavor. Even though there are thousands of Longjing teas on the market, we have selected Da Fo Longjing from Xinchang County in eastern Zhejiang because of its favorable growing climate, organic agriculture, skilled tea producers, and long history.

Xinchang County in Zhejiang Province is one of the cradles of Chinese Buddhism with over 1,000 years of green tea production history. The local Da Fo (Big Buddha) Temple has 1600 years of history and is home to a very large statue of The Buddha that is 16.3 meters tall and 10.6 meters wide.

This region used to produce large quantities of everyday grade green teas, but not much profit was being made. In the mid-90s, the government decided to invite Dragon Well tea masters to Xinchang to teach the local tea makers how to make high-end green teas by hand. The brand name “Da Fo” or “Big Buddha” was approved by Xinchang County’s government in 2002, hence the name of this particular Dragon Well variety.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

Da Fo Longjing (Big Buddha Dragon Well) brewing guidelines

5 grams (2 Tb) tea

12 oz 85°C (185ºF) water

3 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8 minutes