Friday, May 24, 2013
TeaVivre, Liu An Gua Pian 2013
A great find for those looking for a more green tea with more character! Like several of our other teas, Liu'an Guapian is deservedly in the list of China's top ten teas. Made only from larger, mature leaves that are rolled up during processing, the dry leaves have a distinctively plump shape to them – giving rise to its Chinese name of “melon seeds”. Very uncharacteristic for a green tea, it has a quite sweet taste and strong aroma, that is also overlaid with an almost smoky, spicy tang.
Sample provided by TeaVivre
My review today is for the April 2, 2013 harvest. I have already reviewed a previous version of this tea. Instead of showing the leaf as usual, I decided to use a cupped picture. I just thought it was a beautiful image of the liquor.
The scent of the dry leaf is like a cut dried field and slightly sweet. This tea is made from mature leaves without buds, new leaves, or stems. It is rolled so that it resembles little spears or trumpets. In China it is known as melon seed. It is the color of dried grass. I used the entire sample (7g) in my Finum basket and steaming water for a 1 1/2 minute steep.
As you can see from the picture, the liquor is very lightly yellow colored. It is clear and bright. The nose is vegetal and not as strong as the description suggested. The leaf turns brightly green after steeping.
Prepare today with more leaf than last years sample I am getting a different flavor profile from the first cup. This is green and vegetal laid over a mineral water bed, if that makes any sense. The creaminess I caught using less leaf last year now comes in late in the sip. I am also picking up the taste of corn. I don't recall ever using that term in a review before. Using more leaf also brings with it a green bite late in the sip.
My first thought after finishing the cup was that I preferred brewing this in my usual western mug style more than the quasi-gong fu style I used today. My second thought was I need another cup of tea. The leaf has really expanded after the second steep. I only went one minute on this cup. The brew is darker and more honey colored.
Upon sipping I am delighted with this cup. It is creamy and mineral at the same time. It is very green tasting and much sweeter than the first cup. The bite is barely present. The aftertaste really lingers. The third cup will have to wait until I return from the movies. I look forward to both.
Visit the TeaVivre web site.