Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teasenz, Liu An Melon Seed

Teasenz Description:
A legendary favorite tea of emperors and dignitaries including the empress Dowager Cixi and Henry Kissinger. Liu An Melon Seed is known for its unique shape and taste. Single leaves, carefully cut to equal size, are pan-fired over low heat, shaping the leaves into a beautiful melon-seed shape and creating a tea with bright green leaves and a refreshing, crisp flavor.

Sample provided by Teasenz

My Review:
A brand new month. A new opportunity to drink and review tea! I am starting the month with a new to me company. From their About Us page, "Teasenz is a China-based, international retailer and wholesaler of fine Chinese tea and tea ware."

I received 5 samples and all will be reviewed in the coming weeks. I grabbed this one today simply for the name. Liu An Melon Seed is a green tea and not made or scented with melon seeds. The name comes from the shape of the leaf after processing.

The sample came in a resealable aluminum pouch. The label provides basic brewing parameters, though they disagree slightly on time with the website.

Opening the bag, I smell malt and fresh dried hay.

I have no idea what type melons the Chinese are growing that have seeds that look anything like the leaf, but I'll take their word for it.

The leaf is green and rolled into little cylinders that are straight and pretty evenly sized.

I used a steeping basket today to prepare this in a mug. It is new and I wanted to give it a test drive. Looking back, I probably should have used the clear glass teapot so I could watch the leaf expand.

Regrets aside, the basket with the leaf was lowered into the mug containing 175 F water. The steep time was about 3 minutes. About because, well new gadget and text message interruptions.

Once brewed, you get a better understanding of the processing. What leaf, that has relaxed, shows the cutting necessary to make each rolled melon seed the same length. The steeped leaf is really green and fresh. You just want to get a fork and eat it.

The liquor is brilliant yellow. With the lighting behind, it almost becomes fluorescent. It shines. You have to really look hard to find any floating particles.

In my panic to get back on track, I did sniff the wet leaf, but honestly don't remember much about it. Shame on me for my sloppiness. I recall it being vegetal and that's about it.

Getting my first taste - it was worth the wait. Chinese green teas just really appeal to me. This one is no exception. It is not bitter and has no sharp edges. It does have just enough bite to excite the palate. It is clean and crisp. The feel is a bit creamy. The taste is a mix of nutty with underlying floral.

The aftertaste is grassy with floral and melon notes. It is not a strong aftertaste but lingers a long time. I also catch a definite dryness and some cheek tingle. It certainly isn't out of place with this type tea.

I immediately prepared a second cup, something I don't do as often as I used to do. I steeped this cup for two minutes. The color is very close to the first. The cup aroma while steeping was spicy and reminded me of the sweet basil my wife cut in the herb garden this morning.

The taste of this cup is stronger. It has a more pronounced nuttiness along with a grassy and vegetal kick. At times I sense, more than taste, some spicy notes. I found the second cup to be just as delicious as the first.

You can find Teasenz Liu An Melon Seed here.

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