One of China's top ten teas, Liu An Gua Pian is quite unique. What differs it from most other green teas is the sweet taste overlaid with an almost smoky, spicy tang. It has the green teas' signature vegetal taste, but the grassiness is not overbearing.
Liu An Gua Pian is not an early spring tea. Instead of plucking the earliest spring buds, Gua Pian makers wait until the buds mature and unfold. Only then will they get individually picked. For this tea only the pure leaf is used — no stems, no buds.
Once the tea leaves are withered a bit and become pliable, they are fired in woks to stop the oxidation. During the final step — the fire drying, the leaves get roasted directly over a wood fire. The use of an open fire is a uniquely vigorous step. It is physically demanding for the tea makers, who must move the tea leaves over the fire for only seconds at a time. Once the tea roasts for a few seconds, it is briefly lifted off to cool. Then the process is repeated. Altogether, this on-and-off drying requires about sixty repetitions.
All of these factors and techniques put together result in this seriously complex green tea. Some say that Liu An Gua Pian was originally designed for the political elite of China, though this tea is rather a rebel among green teas.
Place of Origin: Qiyun Mountain, Liu An, Anhui Province, China
Tea Garden: Qiyun Tea Garden
Harvest Date: April 30, 2017
Dry Leaf: Plump leaves without any buds or stems
Aroma: Refreshing and brisk
Liquor: Bright yellowish-green
Taste: Distinctive sweet taste overlaid with an almost smoky, spicy tang. Mellow and long-lasting sweet aftertaste.
Tea Bush: Liu An small-leaf tea bush species
Caffeine level: Low
Shelf Life: 18 Months
175℉ / 80℃
3gr rinse. Then 5 infusions:
10sec + 5sec each additional time