Many legends surround the discovery of tea. The oldest known is this Chinese tale: One breezy day in the year 2737 BCE, in the shade of his garden, the Emperor Chen-Nung was enjoying a cup of boiled water, the hygienic custom of the day. Carried by the wind, leaves from a neighboring bush fell into his imperial cup. They were leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, and the emperor experienced such a feeling of refreshment and well-being that he vowed to take a cup each day. Thus was born the custom of drinking tea.
Dragonwell, or Lung Ching, is one of the most famous of the Chinese green teas, grown in picturesque Hangzhou, Zheijiang Province, China. Lung Ching leaves are heated early after picking to stop the natural fermentation process. Once the leaves are heated or fired, this stops the fermentation process, yielding a yellow green leaf with a rich, intense flavor.
Unlike steam-fired Japanese green teas that are vegetal, Lung Ching has an impeccable balance between green character and the nori-like composition found in Japanese Sencha teas. It is typically harvested several days before Qingming when the new twigs have just begun to grow (this is when you will see the coveted "one leaf and a bud" grade). The harvesting is very labour intensive; it takes up to 50,000 tender leaves to yield 1 kg of tea.