Chinese Teas


Interesting to know. Did you get yourself some Dragon Well as well?

Question: is there a good year for tea? (like wine) meaning what is the difference between for example 2016, 2017, 2018 before Ming Lion Peak? Since people probably ordered before the product arrive.


I wonder what is the margin of the seller in HK compared to the producer price.


Read this today, maybe others might find it useful on Dragon Well (Long Jing).


No. The wife just reminded me there is a stash of Before Ming at home that someone gave to her at work. Its from 2016, so its a little dated.

Those top picks are reserved by paying half the price ahead of time, then the rest during delivery (or maybe a month before delivery, I can’t remember.

(For the Horde!) #86

Just following up on the relative pricing for Dragon Well.
These are 250 gram packages.

  • The 2018 First Pick of Lion Peak is being sold US $666.
  • The 2018 Before Ming of Lion Peak is priced at US $168 – same year, same mountain, same brand, only differ by harvest period/quality.
  • The 2018 Before Ming of Plum Peak is priced at $138



Have you bought any of them? If yes, what do you think?

(For the Horde!) #88

I bought 2018 Before Ming Lion Peak – I still have small quantity of 2017 Before Ming. I mostly want to share these images that there is a noticeable price difference between First Pick and Before Ming – even when they are the same year, same region, same tea harvester, same brand…etc.

(For the Horde!) #89

If it help, my 2018 Dragon Well Before Ming is now more flavorful than my 2017 Dragon Well Before Ming. I think the tea simply degraded over one year. They are from the same farm, same period…etc


Thanks for reporting back. Looks like it is better to buy small batches and finish them quickly.

Did you ever try the Plum Peak?

(For the Horde!) #91

Actual no… I thought about trying the Plum actually, but didn’t. I will give it a try next time. Thanks.

I think it depends how much you like Dragon Well. I am told there is a customer who always come and buy ~3 packages of the First Pick Lion Peak each year. That is 750 gram of First Pick. They also said that he only buys Dragon Well, so presumably mostly only drinks Dragon Well


Problem is if I drink too much dragon well, I start to get dizzy, so I limit myself. I have less or no problem with other teas though.

(For the Horde!) #93

No kidding… To answer your questions yesterday I drank so much Dragon Well that I had a fuzzy vision last night. :sweat_smile: I was taste testing my 2016 vs 2017 Dragon Well Before Ming back to back (see photo).

Ok, I also drank a lot of Pu Erh too.

(For the Horde!) #94

By the way, I did a back of the envelope calculation last night. Getting back to the very origin of this conversation, even high end First Pick Dragon Well from Lion Peak (despite seemingly expensive) is probably not much more expensive than drinking bubble tea. Cup-for-cup - that is.

Bubble Tea: $4-6 a cup of ~500mL.
First Pick Lion Peak Dragon Well tea: $660 for 250 gram. 2 gram of tea can brew out about 400-500 mL tea. So effectively, 500 mL of tea from First Pick Dragon Well is about $6


Bubble tea is something I might get one when I see a decent place on the street selling it. It’s fun, but not essential for me. I saw some Pu Erh version in Hong Kong.

Once I bought some tapioca, thinking of making it, but the size I bought was too small and I never attempt to try to find them again in shop, I wonder which tapioca they use.

It is interesting the comparison of dragon well to B tea. But if you want a cup of pre ming lion peak dragon tea in a tea house, won’t be $6 a teapot.


Will you still keep drinking the 2017 version? Me too I still have them.

I wonder what grade they use, when they are doing a dish prepared with dragon well. Example the baby pigeon:

(For the Horde!) #97

Maybe just a little, but I don’t have much 2017 left anyway, maybe 15 gram.
For the general case, I would recommend people go straight to the 2018 Dragon Well tea if they have it, and don’t worry about finishing the 2017 tea.

As for the dish question, I cannot be sure, but it is unlikely that high grade tea was used. There is actually no strong reason to use a high grade tea because much of the flavor will be overwhelmed by other food flavors. If I have to guess, it won’t be any Dragonwell tea before the Ming season, and it probably won’t be from West Lake neither. Vast majority of Dragon Well tea leaves are not from West Lake. West Lake produces ~10% of all Dragon Well tea.


(For the Horde!) #98

Just saw your other post. I am not against Bubble tea actually, and I buy them from time to time. There is a nice little place at Irvine which uses honey instead of sugar, and I enjoy it.

Of course, drinking Bubble tea at a store is a different experience than preparing Dragon Well at home. One is like eating out at a restaurant and the other is like cooking at home. I don’t mean a First Pick Dragon Well tea from a tea house will be $6 a cup.

What I wanted to point out is that drinking high grade tea from home is not as elusive or unattainable as many would think. It is just that the payment often comes out as one large lump sum, in this case ~$600-800 for 250 gram of First Pick Dragon Well tea from the Lion Peak region. Yet, a person who orders 2 cups of bubble tea per week, he/she will spend ~$500 in a year. He/she may not notice it because the payment is spread out.

For that matter… a Before Ming (before rain period) Lion Peak Dragon Well tea is about the same price as paying $1.25 for a can of coke from a vending machine.


I recently had the opportunity to sample “real” Pu Erh for the first time. What I have at home is way too strong and I hardly ever drink it. This was smooth and beautiful. The picture shows the second brewing. I wish I had taken a picture of the gorgeous red color of the first brew. I got the feeling the grade might be fudged a little bit, though.

So the person who let me sample their Pu Erh, she was gifted this green tea from the person who actually grows, processes by hand, and sells this tea in a city called Wuxi (无锡).

(For the Horde!) #100

If you are still traveling there, see if you have a chance to try some aged raw Pu erh (生普洱).

Ripe (熟普洱) Pu Erh tea is more or less a recent invention. The traditional Pu Erh tea is the same as raw Pu Erh tea. When the raw Pu Erh tea is naturally aged (老生普洱), then it gradually changes its flavor. Here is a photo of the change of tea leaves through years:

The tea liquid from also changes its color depending on the aging process:


Ripe Pu Erh tea is a process which tried to speed up this aging progress in a short duration. However, an aged raw Pu Erh tea has a deeper complexity.


This reminds me that I have some Naka mountain Pu-er that I need to remember drinking from the last trip to the tea store.