Shu Longzhu (Sweet Dragon Ball)

Shu Puer Ball 8g 2016

A rich and deep-flavored shu puer with a lingering finish and a clean sweet brew. Made with unusually high quality tender young leaves from old growth tea trees to create impressive layered complexity. Hand-rolled into individual 7-8 gram single serving balls.

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Tea Origin
Lan Cang area, Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
Yunnan Daye Quntizhong (Yunnan Large Leaf Heirloom Tea Tree)

Tea Master
Chen Keke and Li Dong

Harvest Time
Early April

Picking Standard
One bud, two leaves

Sweet Dragon Ball is a high quality shu puer tea made with unusually good leaf material for a shu puer. Normally, the ripening process that gives shu puer its darkness and smoothness is risky because it is difficult to control. Rather than risk ruining expensive tea leaves, tea makers reserve them for unripened sheng puer cakes. However, after three years of research developing the small batch technique used to make Sweet Dragon Ball, tea makers can now control the ripening process carefully enough to work with higher quality leaf. The result is a shu puer that is exceptionally clean and smooth, yet whose flavor retains the deep, layered complexity of a quality sheng puer. As the convenient single-serve balls are a hefty 8 grams each, this tea lasts for many brews. Soft sweet and mineral flavors reveal themselves in later infusions.

Unique new small batch processing technique

Normally, making shu puer requires a very large quantity of tea leaves. Depending on the size of the batch being made, producers use 10-20 tons of leaves all piled together. Piling the leaves this way creates heat as the leaves ferment, providing an excellent growing environment for microbes of all kinds. However, the small batch technique used to make Sweet Dragon Ball uses only a few tons of leaves at a time. This way, it is easier to adjust the temperature and moisture levels in the pile and isolate the specific microbes that drive the ripening process. With this nuanced and precise level of control of their development in the fermenting tea, tea makers can cultivate the beneficial microbes and discourage the growth of those that create unwanted earthy or fishy flavors. This also makes it easier to avoid harboring potentially harmful mold pathogens. Using this method reduces the risk of wasting tea leaves if the ripening process goes awry. It also reduces the proportion of tea in any batch that inevitably becomes over-ripened. Furthermore, this preserves the more subtle flavors and high nutrition levels of the original leaf.


Leaves for Sweet Dragon Ball are sourced in the Lan Cang area in southwestern Yunnan Province. This tea is harvested from trees of varying ages that are on average 60 years old or older. These trees grow under the canopy of Yunnan’s subtropical highland forests in their natural environment. Grown without the use of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, these trees are largely untended except for minimal maintenance by local people.

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.

Shu Longzhu (Sweet Dragon Ball) 2016 brewing guidelines

One piece, 7-8 grams tea

12 oz 100°C (212ºF) water

3 min. first infusion

At least 5 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8, 10 minutes