Chinese Tea Mythology: Lung Ching - Dragonwell

Water Dragon by Anne Stokes

Water Dragon by Anne Stokes

Don’t anger the dragon…

Dragon Well gets its name from a Chinese village of the same name: “Lung Ching” or “Lungching.”  In the year 250 AD, there was a drought that took hold of this little village.  The Taoist priests told the villagers that if they prayed to the Dragon who lived in a nearby spring then perhaps he will bring the rain.  They believed that this spring led to an underground sea where the Dragon lived.  It seemed only plausible that this creature could bring them the water from the sea.   The villagers prayed and prayed until finally the rains came.  In honor of the Dragon, the villagers and priests named the village ‘Dragon Well.’

It’s such a magical story…But wait, there’s more…

There are also stories as to how the tea of this area received the status of Gong Cha (a tribute tea).   The Chinese Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty traveled the area of Dragon Well.  Once while he rested at the Hugong Temple, a monk handed him a cup of Dragon Well tea.  The emperor was refreshed and grateful and repaid the monks by honoring the eighteen tea trees of Dragon Well, giving them an imperial status.  Since then, the leaves were plucked each year to be specially delivered to the imperial palace.

Some legends say the emperor was so enamored by the tea after the first taste that he pocketed a few leaves to take back with him to the capital.  During the journey, the leaves in Qianlong’s pocket were flattened into the characteristic shape that we know today.  However, there are others that believe that the flattened leaf was influenced by the Dafang tea from the neighboring area.

Dragonwell Tea

Dragonwell Tea

What do you think dear readers?   I find this to be a lovely story, don’t you agree?

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