Thursday, February 21, 2013

TeaVivre, Liu An Gua Pian Green Tea

TeaVivre Description:
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 for review.

My Review:
Joy, a new sample from TeaVivre to try! I opened the little packet and sniff. The aroma is fresh and reminds me of a field. I removed half the leaf to examine. It looks greener and darker than the picture. I think it would take brighter light and a white background to reproduce the colors. The appearance is long, straight, fat rolls of leaf. This tea is known as melon seeds in China for good reason.

I steeped the leaf in my press for about 1 1/2 minutes at approximately 175 degrees. The leaf remained on the surface the entire time. The leaf is only partially relaxed after the first infusion. The nose is lightly vegetal. The liquor is pale green with excellent clarity.

From the description I was expecting a strong grassy green. Instead the sip is like buttery beans. Maybe creamy is a better word. This is definitely classic Chinese green tea in flavor. As long as you do not get the water too hot, there is no bitterness, and no harsh edges. The longer you sip the sweeter it becomes. It has a healthy drying affect on the tongue. Strangely for a Chinese green tea, the aftertaste disappears rather quickly.

For cup two I steeped about two minutes. The color and aroma is about the same as the first cup. When I took my first sip I immediately caught a nice amount of a spicy almost floral taste. Though familiar, I couldn’t pull a name for these notes out of my brain today. Let’s just call it tasty. The second cup seems less creamy and more ocean or mineral. Still a good cup. As the cup cools it develops a peppery taste. The aftertaste lasts longer on the this cup.

I only like the grassy taste of Sencha and other Japanese teas but I love the flavor of Chinese greens. This is another fine example of the characteristics I enjoy.

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