Lu An Gua Pian (Melon Seed) is a rare and delicious green tea from Anhui province that we haven't offered at Caj Chai in over a decade! Lu'an is the city where it's from and Guapian means “Melon Seed”. The Chinese believe that anything related to the squash family is fortuitous and promotes fertility. This tea was originally referenced in Lu Yu's famous book The Classic of Tea. During the Ming Dynasty this tea was used to prevent Sun stroke, making it a perfect tea for the summer. It was also a Gong Cha or “Tribute Tea” and was said to be a favorite of the Empress Dowager Cixi.
The Chinese love making lists and this green tea always make their list of top 10 famous chinese teas. It's different from most of the famous chinese green teas in that instead of using the bud it is only made with the second leaf. This tea was plucked in the early spring at Shexiang, Anhui province, after the Day of the Dead (Qingming Festival, around April 5th) but before the Day of the Grain Rain (April 20). Its processing is quite elaborate and difficult to get right as it involves a shaqing “kill-green” that toasts the leaves at 100 degrees celsius before being lowered to 80 degrees and flattened by bamboo brushes, then the leaves are slowly baked until they are dried and take on an almost bluish tint.
This tea requires great coordination between the pickers and tea master on the day of harvest and is treasured for its concentration of flavor and lack of extraneous moisture, which I encourage you to experience for yourselves by eating a dry, crunchy leaf!
Origin: Shexiang, Qimen, Anhui, China
Harvest: Spring, 2022
Color of liquor: deep greenish-yellow
Aroma: charcoal, corn and grilled eggplant
Flavor: full-bodied, persistant, notes of asparagus, kale and roasted nuts
Temperature: 75-80º c
Steeping Time: 1min; 1min; 1,5min; 2min; 3min...