Hangzhou is famous for its seasonal scenes with spring being known for its colourful array of flowers and abundance of green Longjing leaves. Longjing tea, whose literal-translation is Dragon Well tea, is not only known for its green colour and aromatic flavour but is also recognized for its row upon row of rolling tea fields and the China National Tea Museum.
One of the‘Top Ten Views of West Lake’ and ranked as one of the ‘Top Three West Lake Springs’, Dragon Well is hidden amid dense forest of Phoenix Hill off the southern shores of the West Lake.
Legend has it that the area got its name from a well that supposedly contains relatively dense water which after the rain the runoff carves through the soil, twisting down the hills in a formation that resembles a dragon. Others believe that in ancient times during droughts local people would visit the well to pray for rain and when the rain came this made people believe that a dragon must live there (In Chinese culture, dragon is worshipped as the god of rain). Also when stirred with a stick, the well’s water forms ripples in the likeness of a dragon’s beard.
According to the locals there are three must-dos in Dragon Well: appreciate the ripples of the Dragon Well, drink its spring water and sip a cup of Longjing’s finest. The well’s nearby teahouse, converted from a 1050-year-old Buddhist temple and set in a beautiful grove of bamboo, pine and wisteria,is a popular place for enjoying Hangzhou’s finest green brew.
China National Tea Museum
For those with a thirst for history and culture, surrounded by verdant mountains, blankets of green tea leaves, trickling streams and tranquil ponds, is the China National Tea Museum.
Located in Shuangfeng Village (双峰村) southwest of the West Lake is this national museum which over 7,000 sq m showcases a bewildering display of tea ranging from black to green, white to dark and from Yunnan brick to Fujian oolong. Consisting of four separate buildings, the first is dedicated to the history of tea cultivation, customs and ceramic tea-sets. The second is for academic use, the third features six tea rooms of different styles and offers visitors the opportunity to sample a variety of teas and the fourth building is devoted to the art of tea ceremonies.
Early Spring at Meijiawu Village
Meijiawu Tea Village, with over 600 years of history, is located in a valley in the western part of the West Lake Scenic Area. It is the biggest natural village and is also where the world-famous West Lake Dragon Well Tea is produced. Besides its exceptional tea and tea culture, Meijiawu Village is also renowned for its idyllic scenery which can seldom be seen in today’s urbanised society. Witnessing women in bamboo hats, carrying bamboo baskets and chatting while picking springs finest tea is definitely one of China’s most thirst quenching scenes.
Spring is here and so is the 2017 “Intoxicating Springtime” – Hangzhou Outdoor Leisure Season which, in the following three months, will provide the city with over 50 springtime outdoor experiences and tour itineraries. With six themes to choose from such as child-parent, flower viewing, games and sports, spring couldn’t be livelier.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.