As pointed out in a previous article (The Basics of Liu An Gua Pian Tea) Liu An Gua Pian is a tea that requires very specific processing. Time to shine the spotlight on this fine Chinese tea.
Take a Close Look:
The first thing to notice are the full leaves, not broken bits, fannings, or dust. That means this tea has undergone a very careful harvesting (one bud with two leaves are picked but the bud is then separated and only the leaves are used), processing and sorting. The next this is the color of the leaves — a dark bluish green with some lighter green. An then is the shape, which is tight and stick shaped. This version [http://www.jas-etea.com/2011-spring-handmade-premium-liu-an-gua-pian-25g/] was a 2011 harvest but is as fresh as the day it was packaged.
Note how full the leaves “plump out” after several steepings. Using a glass teapot or gaiwan helps you enjoy the sight.
The tea is named after the city of Liu An where it is produced and Gua Pian, which means “melon piece.”
Appreciating the Tea
Just as care was taken in preparing the dry tea leaves, so should you take care in steeping and appreciating the tea. Try this method when using a glass gaiwan or cup for steeping:
- Use about 2 to 4 grams of dry leaves per session per your personal taste.
- Use water heated to 85-90°C (185-194°F).
- Warm the glass cup with hot water and then pour it out.
- Put the dry tea leaves in the warm cup, then rotate it gently and smell the aroma.
- Pour 1/3 of the heated water into the cup and rotate the leaves in the water gently for 10 seconds, smelling the aroma.
- Finally, pour the remaining needed water into the cup for the first infusion (about 3 minutes).
- Additional infusions: add a little time per infusion to a maximum of 4 minutes.
You should get at least 3 very satisfying infusions. Proper steeping will help you achieve these taste results.
A little time. A little knowledge. A big payoff. Get the most from your fine teas!