Lu’an Gua Pian (Sunflower Seed)

Green Tea 2020

Unique fully opened single leaf pluckings that produce a full bodied yet clean flavor. Brews unusually strong, thick, and smooth with plenty of depth and a spring forest aroma. A bold and unusual high end green tea to delight the connoisseur and intrigue the casual drinker.

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Tea Origin
Xi Tou Mountain, Jin Zai Town, Lu An City, Anhui Province, China

Tea Bush
Anhui #3 Xiaoyezhong (Anhui #3 Small Leaf Tea Bush)

Tea Master
Zhang Yonghong

Harvest Time
Late April

Picking Standard
One leaf

Originally this green tea was called Gua Zi Pian or “sunflower seed” because its hollow rolled shape resembles the empty shells of the popular tea house snack. Over the years, the name has been shortened to Gua Pian, causing some to mistakenly call this tea “melon seed.” This distinctive shape is formed during wok frying. While many traditional teas are hand-fried in an iron wok, the technique used to fry Lu’an Gua Pian involves vertically tossing the leaves with a broom made from local grass fibers in a wok set at a 45° angle. The upward brushing motion creates the signature rolled leaf shape.

Lu’an Gua Pian’s long leaves are thin and soft, creating a rich flavor without bitterness. It has a bright green infusion that brews very clean, since there are no buds to leave any fuzz when you brew it. Its complex and full yet smooth flavor comes through bright and clear with velvety green depth and a long finish.

Before harvest, the tea leaves are left on the bush for longer than most high-end green teas, to saturate the leaves with more nutrition and create a more complex flavor. Tea pickers will then pluck only ONE leaf, no bud, directly from the stem. This plucking standard is unlike that of any other high end green tea.

Traditonally, it takes two people and an immense amount of labor to roast this tea in a large bamboo drum over an open flame, as with our Traditional Lu’an Gua Pian. Since 2010, machine frying that shakes the leaves into their shape has begun to replace Lu’an Gua Pian’s complicated hand-frying and roasting. The result is a greener and more uniform finished leaf and a more affordable high-end tea.

More pictures and speculations on the rationale behind this tea’s unusual processing techniques can be found in our tea blog post Lu’an Gua Pian: Punk Rock Green Tea.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.


Lu’an Gua Pian (Sunflower Seed) 2020 brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass or porcelain pot
Amount: 1 Tbs of tea leaves
Water: 180°F filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 1 ½ minutes. The leaves are good for 4 infusions.