Ever Tried a Tea from Grand Tea? We did! 2016 Shi Feng Supreme Dragonwell from Grand Tea

Shi Feng Supreme Dragonwell from Grand tea is a hand-processed green tea from China. Each of the light green leaves are roasted and hand-flattened into perfect little ovals. The first scent that comes forward in the dry leaf is an almost-floral, dark chocolate flavor. Beneath that first chocolate note, there are starchy tones of toasted rice.

I was careful with the temperature of my water to keep from burning the tea leaves, which makes all the difference with green teas. This tea brews up pale yellow and tastes much brighter than the dry leaf smelled. There are citrus and mineral notes, like lemon and coppery pennies. The back of each sip is softer, with more roasted, warming sensations.

I brewed these leaves twice, and found the second steep to be stronger with this toasted flavor, less sweet and more savory. Where the first steep was bright and mineral, the second steep was earthy and toasty. In both brewings the mouthfeel was exceedingly smooth and brought on pleasant feelings of warmth and comfort. Quite a bit of work went into preparing these leaves and the taste and experience of brewing them is well worth the effort.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Grand Tea
Description:

Shi Feng Long Jing is among the ten most popular teas in China. The light green tea leaves are roasted and flattened (by hand) before they are ready for use. The tea soothes your senses with its floral, marine aromas while the velvety, thick texture re-energizes you.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Dragon Well Green Tea from Canton Tea Co.

organic_dragon_wellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This delicious organic Dragon Well is grown in the hills of Zhejiang Province near Long Jing, the village where this famous tea originated. The green tea leaves are picked young and taken back to the village where the skilled tea masters use their bare hands to press them flat in a hot, dry wok in the traditional way. This arrests the oxidation process and ensures the liquor carries the notes of freshly cut grass, rounded off by a soft, nutty flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Dragon Well has become, to my surprise, one of my favourite green tea varieties. I used to think I didn’t like green tea, but I’ve been persuaded over time by some those I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried. The leaves of this particular Dragon Well have been folded and pressed flat. They’re around 1cm in length on average, although some are longer and some are a little shorter. The overall tone is variegated, running from the dark green of pine needles to the lighter green of spring grass, some with a yellow mottling. The scent is quite heavily vegetal. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. Once unfurled, it’s clear that the leaves are mostly partial, although there are some almost whole leaves complete with stems. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow green, the scent remaining vegetal.

To taste, this tea strikes a pleasant balance between grass, green beans, and chestnuts. The initial sip is almost sweet, in the way of freshly shelled peas, but this quickly deepens to a more vegetal intensity. I’m reminded very much of freshly cooked green beans – still retaining some sweetness, but with an overriding savoury flavour. There’s a grassiness in the mid sip that continues the sweet theme, and which helps to brightens up the heavier notes of green bean. The end of the sip is mildly nutty, with a slight roastiness, putting me firmly in mind of chestnuts at Christmas. I’m usually the kind of person that drinks green tea more in spring/summer, but this one seems particularly well suited to autumn. It’s a relatively complex green tea with multiple layers of flavour, but they’re all complementary and work well together to create a beautifully flavourful cup that still possesses some subtlety. Nothing here is overpowering. I also feel I should commend this tea for its smoothness and lack of astringency. It’s almost buttery in terms of mouthfeel – silky and decadent.

I really enjoyed this cup, and I’d definitely look at Canton Tea Co. for green tea again in the future. This is a beautiful example of a Dragon Well, and I’d like to think it could please connoisseurs, while also converting those less certain about green tea in general. This tea is a green tea everyone should try.

A-Tisket A-Tasket Green Tea by Adagio

tiskettasketTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Adagio

Tea Description:

A sunny, citrusy green tea, with a hint of delicious vanilla. Contains green tea, lemongrass, sunflower petals, citrus peels, and lemon and vanilla flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Over time, this has become one of my favourite Adagio teas, and it takes a lot for me to say that. This is a green tea blend, part of the Sunlit Blooms collection, containing lemongrass, citrus peel, and lemon and vanilla flavourings. The dry leaf is primarily green tea, and the leaves are medium to dark green, fairly long and folded. No specific variety is given, but I’d say Dragonwell as an educated guess.

There’s also a generous scattering of sunflower petals, which I assume are there to carry the lemon and vanilla flavourings. Lemongrass and citrus peel are less in evidence, although it’s possible to find the occasional piece if you stir the leaf up and look hard. This hardly sounds encouraging, but as this one actually turns out to be a great tea I’m going to refrain from further comment.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright golden yellow, and smells mildly citrusy. To taste, it’s a different story entirely. Lemon cream, in the best bakery sense of the words! Although the green tea is a large proportion of the mixture, it’s completely unobtrusive in the finished cup, and super-smooth to boot. This means that the flavours really shine through, with lemon the first flavour to emerge, followed by a wash of vanilla and cream in the mid-sip. It’s truly wonderful, and sipping on this is putting me in mind of a huge lemon sponge coated in light, fluffy vanilla buttercream.

The lemon here is candy-like and a little tart, which works with the sweet, desserty vibe of the blend overall. Personally, I could probably take a tad more sharpness with all the creamy sweetness, but it’s so great I can’t say I’m all that concerned. This is lemon cream in tea form! A dessert replacement if ever there was one!

Adagio can be hit and miss in my experience, but this one is a definite hit. It’s just so perfectly put together, with really well balanced flavours. This is a must-try blend for anyone who appreciates a good dessert tea. I don’t think there are many that can match this one for pure lemon creaminess. Spectacular!

Mrs. Li’s 2014 Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea from Verdant Tea

mrs.-lis-2014-dragonwellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

Mrs. Li’s father was one of the most respected professional tea tasters in Zhejiang, and a farmer since age 16. Mrs. Li is proud to carry on her father’s tradition of hand picking and roasting pure, organically-produced Dragonwell.

The tree covered mountainside tea fields of Mrs. Li are fed by sweet natural spring water from Dragonwell, and are protected from excessive heat or sunlight, creating a sweet and crisp brew with not a trace of bitterness. At the peak of freshness, her tea changes the way that you think about green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently on Steepster, there was a discussion on where people would be getting their Dragonwell teas this season.  To that discussion, I think I might suggest this Mrs. Li’s 2014 Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea from Verdant Tea!   Because … oh wow!  This is one seriously spectacular Dragonwell!

I tried last year’s harvest of this tea, and at the time I was reviewing it, the tea had sold out.  So, this is a tea you DO NOT want to hesitate on … because hesistation can mean the difference between getting some of this tea and having to wait until next year!   This is a very special, very FRESH, limited edition tea that is well worth dropping everything and ordering some right now.

Since this is a very special Dragonwell, I decided that I should take it through it’s paces, and infuse it as many times as I could get flavor from it.

My first pot of this tea is sweet and toasty.  The tasting notes on the website suggest “warm nutty cashew” and that’s what I’m tasting.  It’s sweet, roasty-toasty, nutty, and creamy.  It’s a nicely round flavor.  The texture is soft and brothy and creamy.  I emphasize ‘creamy’ here because it’s got that kind of taste and texture that makes me want to curl up in a bubble bath and just drink this.  A sip of this tea and I can feel the worries and stresses of life melt away and I feel like I’m in heaven.  It’s so luxurious and wonderful.

The second pot proved to be even sweeter and more intensely flavored than the first.  I am still getting that warm, creamy cashew flavor and I’m also noticing more of a “browned butter” note:  sweet, nutty, creamy and with a hint of savory.  The creaminess in the first cup was more like a sweet cream sort of flavor, whereas this is more similar to the creaminess you’d experience from a brown butter sauce.

The third infusion had more of a “green tea” sort of taste, with stronger vegetal tones and as the description on the website suggests, hints of “matcha” like notes.  Still buttery and nutty and sweet, I find this infusion to be a little less sweet than the previous two and a little more savory than they were.  However, this still tastes sweeter than it does savory.

I am finding myself in utter AMAZEMENT by my fourth and final infusion (hey, I might have scheduled this for early in the day, but it’s getting late as I write it!) because this is still sweet and creamy and delicious!  The flavors are getting lighter now than they were in the first three infusions.

And as promised, I am tasting notes of sweet, candied citrus, and yes, even some brown sugar notes.  The creaminess has waned somewhat compared to the first three infusions, but I notice lovely creamy notes (particularly connected with the nutty tones, think a creamy cashew butter) but these creamy notes are more of a flavor than a texture.

If you’re looking for an exceptional Dragonwell – this is it.  I highly recommend this.  I know I’ve tasted a lot of Dragonwell teas and I’ve enjoyed most of them – but this one – this one is truly unique from the “usual” Dragonwell and deserves a place in the very upper echelon of those that I’ve tried.  You would be hard pressed to find a better Dragonwell than this.

Pumpkin Toffee Dragonwell Green Tea Blend from 52Teas

Pumpkin-Toffee-DragonwellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

This week’s tea of the week tastes like rich pumpkin pie with a crust made entirely of sweet, delicious toffee. I don’t know if anyone could really make a pie like that, but I would love to try one. In the meantime, I’m going to continue enjoying rich sips of this yummy tea. The Dragonwell green tea adds just the right notes of sweet nuttiness to compliment the toffee and contrast with the pumpkin. All in all, this is a really special treat you’ll love serving to your guests, if you’re generous enough to share. 

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

YUM!  A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed 52Teas Ginger Pumpkin Cheesecake Honeybush, and I really enjoyed that.  So I was a little surprised when 52Teas announced another pumpkin tea so soon after the honeybush tisane, but, I’m certainly glad that Frank (the chief Zoomdweebie at 52Teas) decided to blend this Pumpkin Toffee Dragonwell Green Tea Blend.  It’s so yummy!

With this blend, I can taste more of the pumpkin-y flavors than I remember tasting with the aforementioned honeybush blend.  Perhaps it’s because there’s not so much emphasis on the spices in this blend, that it allows more of the squash flavor to come forth.  Or perhaps it’s the Dragonwell green tea base that melds in a very beautiful way with the pumpkin notes.  Then again, it could be a combination of these two things.

All I know is that with the very first sip of this tea, the pumpkin was a strong flavor.  I taste notes of spice as well, a softer cinnamon note and perhaps a hint of ginger too.  The spices here are gentle, just enough to accentuate the pumpkin without the tea becoming all about the spice.

And then there is the toffee.  Let me say that again, because I didn’t emphasize:  And then there is the TOFFEE.  I’ve got to tell you, that as soon as I read the name of this blend … my mouth began to water and my taste buds began to dance the happy dance.  I love toffee, and the idea of a toffee pumpkin pie makes me want to go out and FIND THAT PIE.  I mean, seriously?  How much yummier can you get than a toffee pumpkin pie?

And the toffee notes are nicely portrayed in this blend.  It offers a sweet, buttery, caramel-y sort of flavor to the pumpkin without overwhelming the other flavors here.  This cup offers just the right balance of pumpkin, spice, toffee AND green tea notes to satisfy the green tea lover’s sweet tooth.

I like this served hot, but, it is also quite good as it cools.  After I finished my first cup, I went to my teapot which had about a half a cup of tea left in it, so I poured that (because I didn’t want to waste a drop of this yummy stuff!) and it was cold.  Maybe not ice cold, but, it certainly was not hot or even warm.  And all the flavors were still present and accounted for.  So this one can be served hot or iced and still be tasty!