Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Da Fo Long Jing (Great Buddha Dragonwell)

How very long winter can be sometimes when you know spring is not far away...

Much thanks to Gingko at Life in a Teacup, I happily placed my pre-order for one of the first Long Jings of the year, this one from Xinchang county of Zhejiang province.  mmmm that first aroma!  This Long Jing is full of sweet beans and nuttiness and the heady aroma of fresh baked bread.  I think I died and went to heaven for a few seconds there, and all the while this classic song was playing in my head --


  1. George Harrison and tea, my favorite.

  2. Many thanks to you for participating and making the pre-order grow!
    I feel exactly the same about the tea, and you expressed it so much better than I can!

  3. The song took me back to my youth,thanks. Taste the tea,enjoy.

  4. Afaik Dafo longjing is not real longjing -- it's quite a ways away from Hangzhou.

  5. MarshalN -- I was aware that this wasn't from Hangzhou. Ginkgo has a great write-up of it here -- Does that make it "not real"? In any case, it tasted wonderful, and I'm reminded of discussions about "real" vs. "fake" pu-erh cakes. It seems the bottom line always comes down to taste, regardless of shady marketing tactics. But thank you for pointing this out :)

  6. Well, there are three broad categories of Longjing -- Xihu Longjing, Hangzhou Longjing, and Zhejiang Longjing. Dafo is basically a brand of the third kind. I think of these as mostly Longjing-style tea, not quite the real deal...

  7. MarshalN, your definitely of Long Jing is not consistent with the national standards or Zhejiang province standards for Long Jing (both of which, as you said, include Zhejiang Long Jing). It's ok to have your personal definition. But Da Fo Long Jing has never tried to pretend being something else. So I think it's rather audacious to call it "not real" or even a fake.

  8. a long jing by any other name may taste just as sweet - enjoy the tea, radish, spring will arrive when it does...

  9. Your conversation with MarshalN reminds me of something I had posted on your blog previously.

    Something to do with how lucky you were to be a newcomer to the world of tea. You don't have any preconceived ideas about what a tea should be and consequently have the pleasure of just enjoying your tea for what it is.

    To reject something simply because it's not from this one very specific area is to deprive yourself of some really good teas. Bottom line for me is, Do I like it? If yes then the teas place of origin, maker, etc. Is completely irrelevant. Ive had my share of some of those super expensive Long Jings and as delicious as they were I can't justify spending that much money on them, they are not that damned good.

  10. Bret -- thank you :) Funny thing, though -- now I keep wondering and worrying about when I'll pass over from "newbie" to hardcore tea-head. haha!

  11. At the risk of running this subject into the ground, I,ll add one more little tidbit.

    Years ago I had bought a cake from one of the more famous makers that Hou De regularly stocks. When I had received the cake I was very disappointed. The leaves were all fragmented bits and the flavors were not what I had anticipated. Really pissed off that I had spent so much money on it. But since I paid for it I was going to drink it. Anyways, one day while having a rather mindless session with it, not even really thinking about the tea because I was busy doing something else while drinking it, I found myself thinking damn this tea is so freaking good. When I realized what had just happened it made me pause and think about the reasons why initially I was so unhappy with it. Instead of just accepting the tea for what it was I had brought all my baggage to the table with me.

    That tea cake taught me a lot about myself, the games we play with ourselves is quite interesting. The big lesson learned here was to not let "tea-elitism" get in the way of me and my tea.

    As for you becoming a "hardcore tea-head" I think you seem to have a pretty good handle on all of this already.

  12. Excellent story, Bret! Gives me hope for a few of my own purchases! ;)

  13. Dear All,

    I think you have missed the point that MarshalN was trying to make.

    All teas, particularly the most famous teas, have historical antecedents that preclude taxonomic classification.

    That is to say, this tea was processed as a LongJing outside of the historical areas of production.

    It is tempting to claim that area of production does not influence a teas classification,
    but to do so would be to ignore the effects of terroir. There is an obvious difference between LinCang Sheng and MengHai Sheng, just as there is a difference in the flavor profile between the historical growing regions of LongJing.

    The point I believe MarshalN was trying to make,
    is that the flavor profile of the Da Fo Long Jing under discussion is not the traditional flavor profile of LongJing, and as such it must constitute its own classification within the LuCha Class.

    Generally, we term LongJing's from outside the traditional production areas as "LongJing Style". This is due to the historical perspective that remains prevalent in the classification of teas.

    All of this is not to say that the LongJing we are talking about is not good!

    au contraire, the above only relates to clarifying the discussion of tea; I firmly support Bret's position of choosing to drink tea that tastes good to you.

    One must hold deferent perspectives on the "knowledge" of tea and the "enjoyment" of tea.

    Without the background knowledge, it is near impossible to learn the subtleties of brewing, tasting, and understanding each tea as unique.

    It is imperative on the individual, as Bret pointed out, that learning the background knowledge of a type of tea or area does not impede on ones ability to enjoy any tea for its inherent qualities.

    Just wanted to clarify...

    All the Best,
    Jason M. Cohen
    - Director of The Tea Institute at Penn State

  14. Jason – What an honor to have you stop by. Thank you for this excellent clarification. Well said, indeed! I don’t think it was a matter of MarshalN’s point being missed (from my perspective), but that the wording of his first comment made for some confusion. But any further education on the matter is most welcome! An honor to have you share your depth of knowledge on the matter. Thank you so much :)

  15. Jason, still, your definition of Long Jing is not consistent with the national standards and Zhejiang province standards of Long Jing made by Chinese tea scientists. You can surely disagree with them. I agree with them on this, and we don't call Da Fo Long Jing a Longjing-style tea.

    A Longjing-style tea can be from Sichuan or Yunnan. But Xinchang (home of Da Fo Long Jing) has been officially awarded geographic patent (along with Hangzhou and Qiantang region) for Long Jing. It's not my personal opinion. It's official. Not only I advocate this categorization, but also, if there are debates and if I have to choose standards to follow, I would rather follow the official standards.

  16. Gingko -- Certainly hard to argue with official patents and such. :) This discussion is clearly WAY beyond my very novice understanding, but I truly appreciate listening in and have great respect for knowledgeable discourse. Thank you for your comments and sharing :)

  17. i like that music , is you walk the footsteps