Notes of toasted rice crackers, nori, and guava.
Green tea from Anhui, China・April 2021・六安瓜片・Unsprayed
Lu’an Gua Pian, or Melon Seed, is a traditional Chinese green tea from Anhui Province, harvested during the third week of April, using only the secondary leaf rather than bud.
We love this tea for its dual nature: a deep, rich texture juxtaposes sweet brightness. The combination is a departure from the clean and light character of the other greens in this year’s collection.
This tea’s depth is a result of its unusually late harvest, and unique craftsmanship method. Melon Seed is typically picked during the second and third weeks of April, after the early spring leaf sprouts have matured to at least 6cm in length. Then, only the secondary tea leaves are picked - sans stem or tip.
These leaves are brought indoors, withered, and roasted in small batches in wood-fired pans. Two pans and a small hand brush are used in this preparation - the first pan “kills the green” and deactivates the enzyme that breaks down the leaf. The second pan presses the tea, giving it its characteristic sunflower seed shape. Once set, the leaves are placed into woven baskets over an open charcoal fire.
This craftsmanship produces a tea that has the richness and complexity of a light oolong, along with distinct toastiness and fruit-like sweetness that calls to mind toasted rice crackers, nori, and guava.
Our Melon Seed came from a farm near Qi Shan Village, Lu’an, Anhui. The organic garden that produced this tea sits at 700m, in an area flanked by bamboo and pine. The growing region is at the epicenter of a new movement towards organic tea production in China - one with an altogether different standard in quality than typical organic, yet low-grade teas, earmarked for export. Tea leaves in this Qi Shan are hand-picked, and no pesticides and herbicides are used.
Brew: 4 grams・150 ml・180° F・1 min
This is a hearty green tea that allows for some brewing range. To brew clean and sweet, use 175F with shorter steep times of 30 seconds to a minute. Our preference is 180F for a minute to bring out Melon Seed’s depth and complexity.
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|Metric quantities||Ounce equivalent||Servings|
|30 grams (new size!)||1.05 oz.||5-8|
|60 grams||2.10 oz.||10-15|
|120 grams||4.20 oz.||20-30|
|240 grams||8.46 oz.||40-60|