It is unfortunate to say that this is the last tea, the Liu An Gua Pian, to be evaluated in the sample package from TeaVivre. So far, I have had nothing but good things to say about their products. Liu An Gua Pian is one of my preferred styles of Chinese green tea, so I wanted to save this sample for last. As always, I recommend that you visit the TeaVivre website here, as they provide a noteworthy amount of information on each of their products.
Liu An Gua Pian is unique from other Chinese green teas in multiple ways. Unlike other Chinese green teas, there are no buds used in the production of Liu An Gua Pian. The second leaf down from the bud is the only leaf used. The leaves are separated from the stems. The main leaf vein is also removed. Liu An Gua Pian leaves are plucked from a variety (cultivar) of the tea bush known as San Hao Xiao Ye Zhong, a local bush found in Anhui Province, China.
The sample packet has been opened, and the fresh forest green color of the leaves has caught my eye. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a fresh forest green to dark green color. The leaves are rolled, and vary in length. There are no stems whatsoever. There are few crumbs. Leaves appear to be large fragments, with perhaps a few unbroken. The leaves have a slightly shiny appearance, the result of repeated rounds of pan firing. The aroma has scents of fresh grass, sweet hay, sweet brown sugar and molasses.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (80°C). Leaves were infused for forty seconds on the first infusion, one minute on the second, and one minute and twenty seconds on the third.
The first infusion has a light, pale, jade green color, clear and transparent. The aroma is mostly fresh cut grass, with light scents of roasted nuts and brown sugar. The body is medium, with a fresh and brothy (umami) texture that coats the tongue and throat. The taste has notes of fresh cut grass, vegetables (corn and asparagus), with a sweet umami character. The aftertaste provides a lasting floral essence.
The second infusion has a slightly fuller shade of light jade green color. The aroma remains grassy, with a light floral scent blending with roasted nuts and brown sugar. Body remains medium with a brothy texture. Taste remains mostly grassy with vegetable, and a slightly sweet (melon) taste coming through. This second infusion maintains a pleasant umami character, and a lasting floral aftertaste.
The third infusion has a slightly lighter jade green color than the second infusion. The aroma has lightened, but is still full, and has a light spice coming through and blending with the grassy, sweet scent. The body has lightened some. The taste remains grassy with vegetable, and the umami character has lightened some, but still exists. The floral aftertaste is still quite strong and lasting.
The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. All large fragments, no fully intact unbroken leaves were found. Some leaves had the main center vein intact, which is inconsistent with the description of the processing technique. No stems were found. The leaves are quite soft and delicate, but based on the taste of the third infusion, I believe one additional infusion is possible. The leaves have a fresh, grassy, and cooked vegetable smell.
The Liu An Gua Pian from TeaVivre is a good quality green tea that is a nice change from other styles of Chinese green teas. The brothy (umami) texture gives this tea a characteristic similar to a Japanese green tea, but maintains most characteristics of the traditional Chinese green tea. This tea has a refreshing and revitalizing effect, and the texture gives it a healthy, hearty feel. This tea would be an excellent bridge for fans of both Chinese and Japanese green teas who are looking to cross borders to find and develop a taste for new styles of tea.
TeaVivre, it’s been a pleasure reviewing these five products, and I look forward to reviewing more of your products in the future. Thanks for the opportunity, and for the five great teas!