Liu An Gua Pian is a rare green tea which is made off one mature leave without a bud. Apparently, it is difficult to hand-pluck this tea which does not involve any stem, bud or petiole. Due to its look, it is also known as ‘melon seed’. It has been listed amongst China’s top 10 teas list and was also a tribute tea to the Imperial Court. It has quite a bold taste for a green tea without tasting astringent. For me, it was slightly bitter especially the first infusion, but its taste developed to sweeter notes in the following infusions.
I found that the steeping time should be short for this tea around 15 sec. is more than enough to get the fruity flavours without the grassiness. It does linger in the mouth with sweetness.
The processing of Liu An Gua Pian is tricky as it requires pan frying at high temperatures through three different stages. Across all of these stages, the roasting room is sealed carefully that makes it very difficult for the tea maker to breath. This tea requires very committed and skilful tea masters indeed.
I have to say this was one of the bests green teas I have ever had. It is super pleasant to drink green tea without ‘suffering’ its strong grassy tones. I reckon Liu An Gua Pian will taste even crisper when it is fresher. I look forward to sourcing some from the 2020 harvest.
Enjoy your cuppa!
Origin: Liu An City,Anhui Province
Harvest time: Spring 2019
Leave colour: Dark green leaves with white fuzz
Liquor colour: Bright yellow/green
Tea aroma: Fruity
Tea taste: Mellow with sweet aftertaste
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 80-85°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 18 months (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)