Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful 2011 so far. Thanks for reading and I promise we’ll do our best best to bring you more posts this year.
I feel that I must apologize to all you loyal readers of this Ku Cha blog; our last post was November 2nd and that just isn’t fair to you. Holy smokes, though, November 2nd! Feels like ages ago, doesn’t it? Anyhow, all of us here at Ku Cha apologize for our lack of posts on this here blog, and (as I’ve previously said) will try to keep this blog updated more frequently this year.
With that out of the way, I feel I must apologize for one more thing. I lied to all of you. You probably don’t remember, but back on October 26th I wrote that my tea tastes were changing as the seasons were changing. This was an outright lie; while re-reading it myself, I couldn’t believe that I could even write such things.
I have been drinking black and puerh teas (in fact I’m drinking a large pot of Keemun Ho Ya right now, but that’s besides the point). The truth is that I have been drinking Green teas like a man possessed. Green teas, especially Chinese Green teas, have been my go-to teas this winter. So, I’m sorry for lying to you and I hope you’ll all forgive me.
Now, I still think that Meng Ding Yu Lu is one of the best green teas ever. I wrote about this tea back on June 3rd, and I my opinions of Meng Ding are still true (at least that’s one thing I didn’t lie about). On a side note, I thought that post was more recent than June 3rd, but the fact that I still love that tea almost a year later has to say something, right? Almost a year ago!? That sort of blows my mind; time sure does fly by. Anyhow, for this blog I wanted to write about another of my favorite green teas: Liu An Gua Pian.
Instead of boring you all with facts and history about this tea (to be completely honest, the only things I really know about this tea are that is comes from Anhui Province, that the name translates to Lu An Melon Seed, and that it tastes delicious). Well, there you go, I told you some facts (and one opinion) about the tea anyway.
For this blog I made Liu An Gua Pian Gong Fu style (you can about Gong Fu here, expertly written by one of our own I might add). I used 3 grams of tea and brewed it using a lidded cup called a Gai Wan. “Water Down the Ganges” by Prem Joshua and Manish Vyas was playing in the store, creating the perfect tea-brewing atmosphere. On a side, I feel like I’ve heard that song thousands of times just working in the store, but it’s actually a decent song so I don’t mind too much. After you’ve heard any song that many times it starts to get old, but if you have around 10 minutes (yes, it is a 10 minute long song) to spare you should check it out on youtube. If you hadn’t already noticed I get distracted with all these side thoughts, but that’s not important right now. What is important is the Liu An Gua Pian.
I thought it’d be cool to take you through my impressions of Liu An Gua Pian through 3 infusions. Before starting I first warmed up my Gai Wan, my pitcher, and my cup. Now, I’m not exactly sure of the water temperature for each infusion, but I can tell you that my water was not boiling and that each infusion was timed for one minute. I can also tell you that I brewed this tea with the lid off of the Gai Wan, so that the water could cool faster.
Here is a picture of the set up I used
The first infusion brewed a color that made me think of a bright straw or hay grass. It had an aroma reminiscent of sweet asparagus and tasted really good. I find that the first infusion is lighter and sweeter than those that follow, and Liu An is no exception. The first infusion was light and sweet with a slightly nutty and pleasant aftertaste that sticks with you for a little while.
The second infusion had almost the same color as the first. My eyes might have been playing tricks on me, but I thought it looked slightly more vibrant than the first. The aroma had very subtle smokiness and slightly astringent undertones to it, but other than that was consistent with the first infusion. This time around the tea was not as sweet, instead it was more grassy with a sharper and brighter feel on the palate. It was not bitter, just more vibrant. It also made my mouth water when I was finished.
The third and final infusion was the lightest of the three, which is to be expected from a green tea. The color and aroma of the tea remained consistent with the other brews but much of the flavor was gone from the tea. It was very light, with an ever-so-subtle finish that was bright and leafy. Overall this is a very good tea that I’d be happy to drink on a daily basis. It is a silky and smooth tea that has a rich, sweet, and clean. Dare I say it could overtake Meng Ding Yu Lu as my favorite tea? Nah, probably not, but it does come very close.
The dry tea leaves
The leaves after 3 infusions
The Chinese New Year is rapidly approaching; the year of the Tiger comes to a close and the year of the Rabbit begins on February 3rd. Stay tuned for a post about that.
If any of you are like me, then you really like the title of this post. I wish I could take credit for coming up with it, but alas, I did not. If you need help coming up with clever titles for papers or blogs, look no further than Hannah.