Pre-rain Dragonwell

Tea type
Green Tea
Ingredients
Green Tea Leaves
Flavors
Butter, Nutty, Fruity, Plums, Vegetal, Roasted, Tannic, Grass, Straw, Sweet, Wheat, Earth, Wet Earth
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Erik Dabel
Average preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 21 oz / 621 ml

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Note: This is a later-harvest Longjing and thus trickier to brew than the higher-end Longjings. In future, skip the rinse and brew at 177 – 180˚F, for 40s / 55s / 70s / 90-95s. Even when...” Read full tasting note
    78
  • “From: http://steeptimes.blogspot.com/ (includes photos and links) Today I’ll be reviewing a tea from Red Blossom (Congratulations on 30 years of business!). I purchased The Discovery Collection...” Read full tasting note
    60
  • “For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio. Unfortunately, Dragonwell is one of those teas that you need to spend a bit more on to get the right flavor. This one is lacking in complexity. ...” Read full tasting note
    60
  • “This tea just blows me away every time I drink it. The smooth, easy green tea base with hints of butter, wet grass and straw literally make a cup of pure happiness every time. All that being said,...” Read full tasting note
    92

From Red Blossom Tea Company

Picked a few days after the Qing Ming holiday on April 5th, the date marks the beginning of a two week green tea harvest period that wraps up on April 20th. That end day is important, because it falls on the Guyu Festival, an agricultural holiday held to invite the arrival of spring rains. Teas picked during that period are therefore referred to as “pre-rain” Dragonwells.

The leaf buds were gathered when the leaf buds have barely opened. Immediately after harvest, the fresh leaves are expertly pan-roasted by hand: first lightly tossed, then firmly pressed and folded against the hot surface of the roasting wok. This hand roasting gives the tea its unique blade-like appearance.

To accentuate the sweetness of these early harvest leaves, we requested a longer lower temperature roast on the tea, a process that imparts a natural buttery nuttiness to it, similar to a traditional Shifeng style Dragonwell.

About Red Blossom Tea Company View company

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9 Tasting Notes

78
217 tasting notes

Note: This is a later-harvest Longjing and thus trickier to brew than the higher-end Longjings. In future, skip the rinse and brew at 177 – 180˚F, for 40s / 55s / 70s / 90-95s.

Even when sufficiently steeped, the liquor is paler than any other tea I’ve seen so far––it’s the colour of moonlight, paler than canola oil, the sepia of a recent memory.

Brewing this Longjing in a gaiwan this time. Rinsed for 1s before brewing.

1st infusion (175˚F, 45s):
Strong buttery fragrance as usual. Tastes clear, fresh, but a bit astringent this time. Next time maybe just 40s. (Assuming I dilly-dally and take 5s to get to the gaiwan and pour it out)

2nd infusion (175˚F, 55s):
Surprisingly, the buttery scent is gone from the leaves. All I smell is vegetal and fruity plum notes. It’s really intoxicating. The tea still tastes buttery though. Unfortunately halfway through drinking this my mouth got so dry I had to throw out the rest of this infusion.

3rd infusion (177˚F, 65s):
Not bad, the astringency has decreased. Maybe it’s better brewed at a slightly higher temperature.

4th infusion (180˚F, 75s):
Lightly, elegantly scented water. We’re done here.

Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Plums, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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60
3 tasting notes

From: http://steeptimes.blogspot.com/ (includes photos and links)

Today I’ll be reviewing a tea from Red Blossom (Congratulations on 30 years of business!). I purchased The Discovery Collection which comes with four sample teas, all of which I’ll review. I’ll be drinking the Pre-Rain Dragonwell 2015 today.

I’m at work while drinking this so I’ll be using my Adagio ingenuiTEA cup to infuse the tea and drinking from a regular ceramic coffee mug.

Leaf
Here are some shots of the leaves.

They smell of straw/hay bales with a sweetness that lasts after you exhale. It has a soft smell that slowly fades. The color of the leaves are a mix of dark greens and browns. I’m not educated enough yet in Dragonwell to know what this might mean for taste later. The leaves mostly look full and have a quarter moon blade shape and are completely flat.

Infusion
I brewed the tea as instructed by Red Blossom on the tea’s page.

The amount of tea might have not been right as I was just guesstimating. I heated the water to 175f and let the leaves steep for a few seconds beyond 1 minute. After I drained the ingenuiTEA I could smell a nutty sweet aroma coming from it with a slight wet straw smell. It reminded me of days spent working 12-14 hours on a farm to earn 3$ an hour! The aroma is soft and disappears from your nose quickly. 99% of the leaves remained floating during the infusion.

Liquor
The color reminds me of a Granny Smith green apple (not the apple below) but a very light shade of it.

It’s a soft and gentle color. The aroma is soft and sweet with a nutty overtone. The fragrance disappears from your nose quickly leaving a small hint of hay mixed with a creamy butter smell behind. The aroma is soft like the color of the liquor. The taste of the arrival is sweet and nutty and feels buttery in your mouth. It then begins to transition into a slight and faint astringent straw finish. It is smooth and simple and doesn’t last long on my palate. I don’t get any throat or chest feel and over two steeping didn’t feel any qi or alertness. The taste stayed consistent throughout the full mug with a little bit of they straw taste slightly coming forward towards the end of the first steeping and was leaving a sweet and buttery aftertaste.

Addition Steeps
The 2nd steep lost a lot of flavor even after I wanted to push the tea a little.

I upped the temperature to 180 and brewed for 2 minutes. The sweet taste was almost gone and had transformed into a vegital flavor. I’m didn’t do a third steeping as a lot of the flavor had vanished.

Thoughts
I’m going to give this a shot using a gaiwan to see if I can push the flavor a little more and will post about any significant changes. I’d like to try and compare this to a Dragonwell I bought in Oakland Chinatown from Golden Tea Shop, which is also where I bought this gaiwan:

Be Well,
Joe

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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60

For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.

Unfortunately, Dragonwell is one of those teas that you need to spend a bit more on to get the right flavor. This one is lacking in complexity. While it has the nuttiness typical of Dragonwell, it is flat, and lacks the sweetness of higher quality versions. Pre-rain (雨前 – Yu Qian) teas by definition are lower in quality, as they are picked at the very end of the harvesting season after the best flushes have already been picked. As such, it is always best to go with a Ming Qian tea instead (one picked before the Qingming Festival). I would try their Ming Qian Pan’an, Shifeng, or Pan’an Supreme instead.

Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Tannic

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92
240 tasting notes

This tea just blows me away every time I drink it. The smooth, easy green tea base with hints of butter, wet grass and straw literally make a cup of pure happiness every time.

All that being said, I think I screwed up this batch. I let it steep for 1.5 minutes, which apparently is way too long. i should have followed the directions on Red Blossoms website which said 45 seconds, but I took some other advice and let it go longer due to my larger teapot.

Nope. It’s a bit on the bitter side. I know what the capabilities of this tea are, and the second steeping will go back to 45 seconds.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 9 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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