Pre-Ming and Pre-Rain Dragonwell, The First Picks of the Season
Dragonwell is legendary and unbelievably sought after, not only because of its scarcity, sophistication, and taste, but because of the difficulty in its hand processing – its status is unlike any other tea in the country. Grown in the literati area of Hangzhou, considered the most cultured and educated place in China, on rolling hills just overhanging a large, picturesque lake, the Dragonwell was conferred an official tribute tea to the emperor of the Manchurian Dynasty. To this day, only top government officials can access the highest quality Dragonwell crops.
That top quality Dragonwell, reserved solely for government officials in China, is called Pre-Ming, or Ming Qian Longjing. The first flush crop is harvested before the early days of April before the Qing Ming Festival, and each leaf and bud is carefully considered. Was it harvested from the most prestigious Lion’s Peak hill? From the original Dragonwell root stock that goes back one thousand years ago? Originally wild grown, from seed, and not from human cultivation? And finally, finished by a top green tea master, whose hands will fire the teas for hours each day on some 80-100 degree C wok. Indeed, our Pre-Ming Dragonwell fills all of the criteria for the top pedigree. As to how we are able to have access to such reserved crop- that is our trade secret!
Each period of time that passes during harvest demotes the Dragonwell’s grade just ever so slightly. The Pre-Rain Dragonwell is typically harvested after Qing MIng, but before the April rains arrive. Still tender and just as precious, these leaf buds would come from the surrounding hills of Westlake and fired by the hands of the same tea master. But its price point is almost half that of the top Pre-Ming Dragonwell. You have to taste it side by side to note the difference. And you must taste them against the myriad of forgeries out there, green teas from other provinces pretending to be Dragonwell. If one is a green tea fan, then the Pre-Ming, and the Pre-Rain, Dragonwells, are on the must try list. If only so that one can experience what life is like for the most elite, powerful, and educated Chinese. Pre-order now to claim your stake on these rare and storied treasures, the very first of the 2016 Spring Harvest!