About Longjing and Dragon Well Tea
Longjing Tea, translated as Dragon Well Tea, is a variety of green tea grown in Longjing Village just outside of Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang Province. The tea dates back over 1,200 years and is considered the number 1 green tea in China (being bestowed the title “China Famous Tea” and “The Green Queen”.
Longjing tea is famed for its health-giving properties such helping with weight loss, anti-ageing and stimulation of the central nervous system. The tannin in the tea can act as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory (though needless to say you should consult a doctor for any serious health issues).
Longjing Village is located very close to the famous West Lake and the climate here is perfect for growing tea which has helped gain Longjing Tea its longevity and popularity.
The legends of Longjing Tea (Dragon Well Tea)
Emperor Kangxi (1654 – 1722) of the Qing Dynasty was holidaying at West Lake in Hangzhou and when at the Hu Gong Temple was given Longjing Tea for refreshment. In front of the temple were 18 tea bushes, and the emperor was so impressed by the tea that he granted the bushes imperial status. These bushes still exist today and tea that is produced from these is auctioned off and fetches higher prices per ounce than gold!
Another legend associated with Longjing Tea is that the visiting Emperor Qianlong (1711 to 1799), also of the Qing Dynasty, was watching women pick tea leaves. He was enamoured by their movements and decided to have a go himself. As he was picking the tea, he received an urgent message telling him to return to Beijing as his mother, Empress Dowager Chongqing was sick. The emperor stuffed the leaves in his sleeve and rushed back. Upon returning his mother smelled the tea, which the emperor had brewed for his mother.
Longjin Village and the Dragon Well Tea Plantation
Longjing Village lies a few kilometres southwest of West Lake in Hangzhou. The terraced tea fields stretch for miles around up into the hills and into the countryside. The village has a few guesthouses and café’s but not much else and is still very rural. You will usually find old women sell tea by the roadside (¥30 for a small tin).
It is possible to walk the paths that lead through the tea plantations for free. The views up on the hillsides across the terraces are wonderful! Outside of picking season (March and April) the area is relatively quiet.
Find out how to make the perfect cup of Longjing’ss Dragon Well Tea!
The Dragon Well
The tea gets its name from the Dragon Well in Longjing. Only authentic Dragon Well Tea uses water from this well in the village.
Hiking around Longjing
There is a pleasant 3km hike from Longjing Village which passes bubbling streams, small waterfalls and row upon row of tea bushes. The hike starts in Longjing Village and finishes on the main road with frequent buses back to the centre of Hangzhou.
What is the best time to visit Longjin?
Longjing is a great destination at any time of the year, however March and April is the time to come if you want to see the tea leaves being picked.
How to get to Longjing Village
Longjing Village is 10km southwest of central Hangzhou and only 3.5 km from West Lake and is easily reachable by public transport.
On foot: from West Lake it’s possible to walk the 3.5km to Longjing which takes around an hour.
By bus: bus 27. ¥2 Take bus 27 from central Hangzhou to the final stop at Longjing.
By taxi: A taxi will take around 30 minutes and costs around ¥50.
How to get to Hangzhou
Flights: flight time from Beijing is two hours and fares start from ¥1,000 ($155).
Train: Fast train from Beijing takes from 4.5 to 6 hours and costs ¥560 ($90)for a ssecond class seat. From Shanghai trains take one hour and cost from ¥73 ($11) for a second class seat.
Shanghai to Hangzhou Train
About this author: Steve Rohan has lived in China for six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, ancient capital of Luoyang and tropical paradise that is Sanya.
After teaching English for a number of years, he now blogs full time for this site and adventure travel blog thetripgoeson.com.