Melon Seed Tea – Liu’an Guapian
This green tea is grown in the Liuan county of Anhui province. Praised for its unique appearance, legendary past, excellent taste, and health benefits, melon seed tea has been traditionally popular among Chinese royalty and aristocracy. Melon seed tea has an exceptionally balanced, bitterness-free floral taste with subtle mellow overtones.
Why we like it?
Unlike most top-quality green teas that use tips of the Camellia sinensis bush, melon seed tea is made of leaves plucked second from top. For tea connoisseurs, one of the most appealing aspects of liu’an is perhaps the way in which it is made. The central vein of each leaf is removed shortly after the harvesting process. The tea is then pan-fried and dried in such a way that it’s left with a remarkable dark emerald color.
Just handling Liu’an Guapian is a highly enjoyable experience. It has a texture and fragrance that can blow you away. No wonder that this tea has been so popular among Chinese political elite and aristocracy. For instance, empress dowager Cixi and, more recently, Zhou Enlai have been known to include melon seed tea into their daily diet.
Roman’s personal score: 95/100
Miha’s personal score: 90/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time.
The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea.
Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for liu’an guapian
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2oz – about 1 tsp)
- water: ~ 80 °C, 100-250 ml (~ 175°F, 3-9oz)
- time: 60-120 seconds
- number of infusions: 3-4
- discard the first brew
Melon seed tea can be brewed quite successfully in gaiwan, teapot, or even a filter cup. However, we recommend that you use a high glass or any type of glass teaware, so that you can fully enjoy the process of liu’an visual transformation.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.