Da Fo Longjing (Big Buddha Dragon Well)

Organic Green Tea 2021

Characteristic smooth and lingering complex Longjing flavor with a roast chestnut and floral aroma. Early spring harvest with uniformly sized leaves and a flattened ‘bookmark’ shape.

This year’s 2021 early spring Da Fo Longjing was harvested from March 22th-25th. It stays the course of classic traditional Longjing flavor, rich and toasty with signature sweet notes of roasted soybean that are most pronounced when fresh.

Clear selection

Tea Origin
Xinchang County, Zhejiang Province, China

Tea Bush
Longjing #43 (Dragon Well #43)

Tea Master
Lü Yiming

Harvest Time
Late March

Picking Standard
One bud, two leaves

Dragon Well (Longjing) is the most famous green tea in China and was a tribute tea for centuries. This particular version of it, Big Buddha Dragon Well, displays characteristic smooth and lingering complex Longjing flavor with a roast chestnut and floral aroma. Leaves from the early spring harvest are uniformly sized with the flattened ‘bookmark’ shape Longjing is known for.

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

There are two styles of Dragon Well. One type is more yellow, preferred by Chinese, and is made by hand frying an additional time, giving the tea a more roasted flavor. The other is greener, which is what we carry. This allows you to enjoy the lightly chestnut and floral aroma and 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.

Harvest for this tea begins in early spring once the tea buds have grown to 1.2 centimeters long. The plucking standard for Dragon Well is one bud and one to two tender leaves. Once the fresh tea has been picked, processors place it on bamboo trays and wither it for about two hours to remove some of the grassy smell and to 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.

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 140-160°F for about 20 minutes. During this time, the woks are closely watched and controlled by professionals 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

During the Qing Dynasty, the royal family would drink Dragon Well during the summer and switch to puer tea in the winter. While Longjing originated around Hangzhou City, it is now produced in many provinces, resulting in a wide range of quality and flavor. There are thousands of Longjing teas on the market, but we have selected Da Fo Longjing from Xinchang County in eastern Zhejiang because of its favorable growing climate, organic certification, skilled tea producers, and long history.

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.

Xinchang County in Zhejiang Province is one of the cradles of Chinese Buddhism with over 1,000 years of green tea production history. Da Fo (Big Buddha) Temple was built on the highest peak of Tiantai Mountain (1,138m) about 1,600 years ago. There they built a very large statue of Buddha that is 16.3 meters tall and 10.6 meters wide.

This region used to produce large quantities of everyday grade green teas (Gunpowder, Buddha’s Eyebrow, etc.), 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