Nothing But Dragonwell Tea for Me, Please

Among the rituals I observe every morning when I arrive bleary-eyed to work, nothing perks up my senses more than the moment I open the little light-blue canister in my desk drawer and take that first whiff of West Lake Longjing, or Dragonwell, tea leaves. The aroma of those lightly roasted leaves recalls memories of fresh tea on the bushes while walking through high mountain fields. Even just wandering through those fields in my mind, prompted by the sight and scent of Dragonwell tea leaves, delights me on the most dreary of days.

No other tea will do. My allegiance to the stuff runs so deep that I always prepare a stash of it whenever I travel.

Colleagues at work have often urged me to taste their teas, such as the eight-treasures brews bobbing with jujube dates and goji berries. When it’s winter, and pretty much everyone in the office switches to black teas of some variety, they will chide me for clinging to my Dragonwell, claiming it’s “too cold” for my stomach from a Chinese traditional medicine perspective. But I always refuse.

Nothing but Dragonwell tea for me, please.

Blame it on my husband, who spoiled me by introducing his favorite morning ritual. He’s a native of the Hangzhou region, where consuming green tea has long endured as a tradition and culture. In Hangzhou, even on the chilliest of days in January and February, you’ll still find people bundled up in down jackets and hats while nursing a cup of Dragonwell.

I’ve tried explaining this to my colleagues who hail from more northern climates in China, but they insist that Dragonwell is a tea only reserved for warmer days.

That’s just fine by me. I say, let them drink black tea. Meanwhile, I’ll take my leisurely mental stroll through those tea fields with my steaming cup of Dragonwell, secure in the knowledge that I’ve found the ideal beverage to kick off my day. Cheers!

What’s your preferred morning beverage? Do you feel strongly about what you like to drink? Why or why not?

Jocelyn Eikenburg
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  1. When I was studying in Taiwan, I was introduced to drinking tea with the actual leaves in the water as opposed to a teabag. I like eating the leaves afterward, haha.

  2. Interesting!
    Regarding the “cold” nature of the green tea, it is not necessary to be applicable to Westerners. Unlike in the childbirth where it takes a Chinese woman a month or so to recover her health, her Western sisters are able to do everything like swimming (that is very ridiculous in the eyes of many Chinese people) immediately after delivery. So you can do whatever you like, haha.

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