Traditional Lu An Gua Pian

Green Tea 2020

This fully handmade version of our classic Lü An Gua Pian green tea shows off the unique and robust flavors that result from its highly innovative traditional craftsmanship. Its bold open flame roasting intensifies its hearty and earthy character and imparts an aroma like toasted sesame seeds. The full-bodied and complex deep flavor it develops gives way to a lingering coffee bean aftertaste.

$22.00

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

Tea Bush
Anhui #3 Xiao Ye Zhong (Anhui #3 Small Leaf Tea Bush)

Tea Master
Zhang Yonghong

Harvest Time
Late April

Picking Standard
One leaf

A handcrafted batch of a highly unusual green tea.

This fully handmade version of our classic Lu An Gua Pian green tea shows off the unique and robust flavors that result from its highly innovative traditional craftsmanship. Its bold open-flame roasting intensifies its hearty and earthy character and imparts an aroma like toasted sesame seeds. The full-bodied and complex deep flavor it develops gives way to a lingering coffee bean aftertaste.

The unheard-of aggressive roasting of a green tea over an open charcoal flame instead of an ash-smothered fire or oven is perhaps the most noteworthy of Lu An Gua Pian’s atypical processing. Two people need to work in tandem to lift a large bamboo drum filled with tea over the charcoal and then immediately remove it after a few seconds to stir the leaves evenly. It takes 60-80 passes over the flames and an immense amount of patience and labor to fully roast the tea.

Modern oven-roasting techniques save a lot of work and produce a remarkable green tea in its own right. Oven-roasted Lu An Gua Pian’s intense, clean flavor comes through bright and clear with velvety green depth. But only the traditional flame roasting process creates the unique roasty yet succulent and savory flavor that originally made Lu An Gua Pian a famous green tea. Tea masters like craftsman Zhang Yonghong who have made the study of traditional tea-making their life’s work are keeping these vanishing crafts alive.

We originally imported this tea with the intention of hosting a dedicated event for it at our teahouse in Tucson, Arizona. Of course, we can’t organize a public gathering for this tea right now, so we decided to make the limited stock available online for anyone to purchase while it’s at its most crisp and fresh, so long as the supply lasts.

History of Lu An Gua Pian

Originally this organic 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.” By either name, this is a special tea for its harvesting and processing techniques. The long leaves are thin and soft, creating a rich flavor without bitterness. Lu An Gua Pian is a rare long leaf green tea. It has a bright green tea color and is considered a very clean tea, since there are no buds to leave any fuzz when you brew it. It is complex and full, with a wonderful soft flavor and long finish.

The processing techniques of this organic green tea is very unique. The tea leaves are left on the bush for longer than most high-end green teas, to saturate the leaves with more nutrition and complex taste. Tea pickers will only pick ONE leaf, no bud, with a small amount of sprig. One by one, they will remove the stem by hand. Two people are needed to make this tea. Instead of charcoal or a wok, they use a very hot open fire to make this tea. Tea masters have special small brooms made out of local weeds to brush the leaves in to the unique rolled shape. They use very large bamboo drums with a handle on either side. Two masters will stand on either side and place the tea over the fire for less than one second, then remove it. They will repeat this process over sixty times, making this a very unusual and time consuming tea to make. Note: more pictures and speculations on the rationale behind this processed can be found in the 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.

 

Traditional Lu An Gua Pian 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.