This village up in the hills outside Hangzhou (the famous Chinese tea capital and specifically the place for Dragon Well green tea) is such a special place. If you want to experience what the Chinese describe as good 'kong qi' or, to put it very simply, 'really fresh air', this is the place. There is no sound of cars as there are none for miles, and you are surrounded by the most amazing variety of trees, mountains and wild life. Green tea has been produced here for hundreds of years and life here is natural, simple and unspoiled.
One of the best things about the village are the houses. If you've been to China, I am sure you will agree that the scenery is great but often the buildings can be a little uninspiring. Here, it's different. The rust-coloured roofs and cream coloured walls look great.There are small fields of rape, great forests of bamboo with pointed bamboo shoots ready to be pulled up and eaten. I find that the natural ease of the place (it feels like millennia of natural ease) seeps into me and I feel calm and awake.
The whole area has been organically farmed for more than 10 years. I'm going to write more about how this has affected the tea in a good way and how it is superior to West Lake Dragon Well as a result. Being someone who rates taste above all else, I never buy organic tea simply because it's organic. But the tea here is better because it is organic with the fat, juicy tea buds that the land produces. This cannot be said for every organic tea by any means...more on that later.