Liu An Gua Pian, also called “Melon Seed”, is one of the best green teas to come from China’s Anhui province. This is no small feat considering Anhui is renowned for producing a variety of high quality green teas since the Tang Dynasty. It is also one of China's Top Ten Famous Teas and was the winner of the China Tea Award in 1982 and the China Food and Drink Award in 1988 for its superior refreshing taste and quality.
Our Superfine Liu An Gua Pian Tea is the finest grade available. It was made entirely by hand in the traditional manner with leaves harvested in mid-April from the core Liu An Gua Pian growing area. The leaves are a deep, rich green with a full, floral aroma and the characteristic flat oval shape resembling a melon seed. The liquor is bright and clear with a light yellowish green color. The floral sweet taste and aftertaste of our Liu An Gua Pian is reminiscent of a Tie Guan Yin oolong. The pleasant floral sweetness that gradually fills your mouth is very refreshing and smooth.
Liu An Gua Pian Tea is made from the Dushan small-leaf tea cultivar, an endemic species of tea from the Qiyun Mountains in the Liu'an District of Anhui Province. Unlike most green teas that are plucked in the early spring, Liu An Gua Pian is harvested around the 20th of April. It is unique because it is processed using only the second and third leaf (without the bud and stem). This is the only kind of flat green tea without stems. Each leaf's central vein is cut out and the leaves are pan fried over low heat in two stages using two large woks and a large bamboo brush. The first frying is to prevent any enzymatic oxidation. During the second frying, the leaves are shaped into the characteristic melon seed shape. A series of coal fire bakes finishes the tea.
The history of Liu An Gua Pian dates back to the Tang Dynasty where it was described as a "Superior Tea” in Lu Yu's Cha Jing, The Classic of Tea (the first book ever written on tea.) It was also a tribute tea in both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. As with all tribute teas only the finest tea was delivered to The Forbidden City. Liu An Gua Pian was so prized that it is said that the Qing Empress Dowager Ci Xi demanded 14 taels (about 37 grams per tael) of the tea monthly for her own personal consumption. In more recent years it has continued to be prized by Chinese and foreign dignitaries alike. It is said that Premiere Zhou Enlai loved Liu An Gua Pian Tea and on his death bed asked for a cup of the tea. It was also presented as a gift tea to Mr. Putin during one of his visits as well as to Henry Kissinger during his historic visit to China in July of 1971.
As with all green teas, Liu An Gua Pian contains many antioxidants including EGCG that are known to be beneficial to one’s health. It is said that this particular tea can help to improve vision and can aid in the relief of sleep disorders. In addition it is considered to be an effective digestive aid. For these reasons it has been regarded as a treasure tea for centuries in China.