Jan 19, 2010

Da Fo (Great Buddha) Long Jing (Dragonwell), 大佛龍井

Da Fo Long Jing, or Great Buddh Dragonwell, is one of the earliest harvested green teas in China (see Tea Calendar here). It is produced in Xinchang county of Zhejiang province, about 100km southeast to Hangzhou, hometown of the most famous Dragonwell green tea.

Great Buddha Dragonwell as a tea product was developed in 1980s. However it has been a long tradition that regions other than Hangzhou produce dragonwell style green teas, some of which are harvested earlier than Hangzhou Dragonwell. Great Buddha Dragonwell is made from the same tea varietals used for Hangzhou Dragonwell. It is less famous than Hangzhou Dragonwell, and hence much less expensive. As the earliest green tea of Zhejiang province (and primarily earliest in entire China), Great Buddha Dragonwell is favored by tea drinkers especially in early spring. It quenches the thirst of tea drinkers, after they've been longing for months for new green tea.

Although not as famous as Hangzhou Dragonwell, Great Buddha Dragonwell is of very high quality and has a few important advantages. First of all, most Great Buddha Dragonwell tea plantations in Xinchang are distributed at 300-600m (1200-1800ft) above sea level. This is considered great elevation for green tea cultivation and most part of Xinchang producing region is of even higher elevation than producing region of Hangzhou Dragonwell. Besides, Xinchang is located far away from any industrial pollution regions and enjoys pristine natural environment. In addition, as a relatively new tea producing region, Xinchang tea plantations focus more on organic cultivation and producing early spring fine tea products.

As a tea drinker, I see Great Buddha Dragonwell as a more "accessible" great tea than many other more famous teas. Price of top notch Great Buddha Dragonwell is quite modest, compared with mediocre-level products of more famous teas like Hangzhou Dragonwell and Bi Luo Chun.

Although the earliest green tea of Xinchang hit the market in as early as late February, the high mountain organic Great Buddha Dragonwell will appear in the market much later, in early April. Thanks to modern communication and transportation, we can expect to get it by mid-late April in North America!

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