What are the Major Differences between Dragon Well No.43 and Dragon Well Old Tree(Qunti)?

Dragon well lovers always have to face the choice between Dragon Well No. 43 and Qunti. They both belong to Dragon Well tea but there are major differences.

Tea lovers who like West Lake Dragon Well Tea can never get around the topic of “Choosing between Dragon Well No. 43 or Qunti”. They both belong to authentic Dragon Well tea according to  China’s national standard GBT 18650-2008 (Product of geographical indication. Longjing tea), but their appearance and tastes are quite different.

What is Dragon Well No. 43

Dragon Well No. 43, is a good variety bred from cuttings of Dragon Well Old Tree(Qunti) by the Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the 1970s. The newly bred Dragon Well No. 43 belongs to asexual reproduction, the root system is mainly fibrous roots, with no main roots, and its cold and drought resistance is relatively poor compared to Dragon Well Old Tree species. It is characterized by early germination, exceptionally strong breeding ability, neat and dense germination, short and strong buds, and leaves with less hair.

What is Dragon Well Old Tree(Qunti)

Dragon Well Old Tree, also called Dragon Well Qunti, that is, the old tea trees passed down through the generations, locally known as “old tea tent”, “old Dragon Well”, which includes such as Longjing species, Yuntai Mountain tea, Ziyang Mountain tea, big leaf species, JiuKeng species, and many other varieties. For example, Emperor Qianlong’s imperial seal “eighteen imperial tea trees” is one of the Qunti species. With a history of thousands of years, the Qunti species has a main root, and the root system penetrates deeper into the soil, which is very adaptable to the geographical environment and has a strong resistance to drought and cold.

Tea Bush Appearance Difference Between Longjing 43 and Qunti

Major Difference between Dragon well No.43 and Dragon well Old Tree

Harvest time

Dragon Well No. 43 is picked around mid-March, while the Old Tree is 5-10 days later than No.43 depending on the local temperature.

Appearance Difference

Tea made from dragon well No.43 has slender buds and leaves, with a light red spot at the end of the leaves, flat and smooth appearance, and light yellowish color. While tea made from Dragon well Old Tree is rough in buds and leaves, and the color is like brown rice (light yellow and soft green), the size and color of the tea leaves vary much, not as uniform and beautiful as Dragon well No.43.

Tea leaf appearance differences between Dragon Well #43 and Old Tree(Qunti)
Tea leaf appearance differences between Dragon Well #43 and Old Tree(Qunti)
Dragon well tea (No.43 and Old Tree comparision)
Made Tea Appearance differences between Dragon Well #43 and Old Tree(Qunti)

Taste

Due to the different characteristics of the two tea trees, the taste of the tea made from them is not quite the same. Dragon Well No.43 tastes more crystal and clean with a bit of sweetness, high grade of Dragon Well No.43 has a flavor of asparagus and buttery artichoke. While Dragon Well Old Tree(Qunti) has a strong tea flavor rather than a simple clear sweetness, the high grade of Dragon Well Old Tree has a strong aftertaste that is up-going and lingers for a long time.

Production Amount

More than 30 years ago, when Longjing 43 was not popularized, the majority of the West Lake Longjing tea on the market was Longjing Old Tree, but nowadays, because of the higher economic benefits, Longjing 43 is more and more planted in tea gardens. Especially after many tea growers replaced the original Longjing Old Tree with the Longjing 43, more than 60% of the Xihu Longjing tea on the market has become Longjing 43.

Advice on buying your own dragon Well tea

In general, both Dragon Well No.43 and Qunti are authentic West Lake Dragon Well species, they have their own characteristics and are both worth tasting. If you like the fragrance of Dragon Well No. 43 and are eager to taste the first sip of fresh Spring Dragon Well earlier, No.43 will be a good choice; and if you don’t mind waiting a bit longer and prefer multi-level taste, then Qunti is suggested. So, as a tea lover, which one will you choose?

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