Lu An Gua Pian

Lu An Gua Pian (六安瓜片, Lù Ān Guā Piàn) also called Lu An Melon Seed tea is a kind of Chinese green tea and is one of the top 10 famous Chinese tea. It is native to the Lu An City of Anhui Province.

We often say that a certain tea is made from buds, one bud with one leaf or one bud with two leaves, etc. Especially, Lu An Gua Pian is made from all single leaf, which is the only tea made without buds and stalks in the world.

The shape of the single leaf is like a melon seed, so the tea is called Gua Pian. Gua means “melon” and Pian means “piece”. Lu An Gua Pian has a long history and rich cultural connotation. It was regarded as a tribute tea in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).

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History of Lu An Gua Pian

According to a historical legend, a tea merchant in Lu An City picked the tender leaves and removed the buds and stalks to make a new tea, which achieved great success. Subsequently, other tea merchants followed suit and made green tea by removing buds and stalks from fresh leaves.

In the Qing Dynasty, Lu An Gua Pian was used as a royal tribute and sold well in many places. At that time, it had been exported to Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Since the founding of New China, Lu An Gua Pian was regarded as a special tribute tea by the Central Military Commission of China.

In July 1971, Dr. Kissinger, the Secretary of State, visited China for the first time. Lu An Gua Pian was presented to him as a national tea gift, which promoted the development of relations between the two countries and was widely regarded as a good story.

In 2008, Lu An Gua Pian was certified as a product of geographical indication protection and was listed as the national intangible cultural heritage of China.

Characteristics of Lu An Gua Pian

The picking period of Lu An Gua Pian is from the Grain Rain (around April 20) to Grain Full (around May 21).

The key process of producing Lu An Gua Pian is called “La Lao Huo”, a baking technique. At present, there is no machine to replace this traditional manual process.

The process is very hard. Two tea makers carry a basket of 12kg of tea leaves, bake them on the fire, and turn them back and forth more than 100 times. They can’t stop in the process of baking and turning.

The time of one turning must be strictly controlled, otherwise, the tea will be burnt. If there is a little carelessness, the previous efforts will be in vain.

After the production is finished, the shape of Lu An Gua Pian is like a melon seed, the edge of the leaves is slightly curled, the size is uniform, the color is bright green, the taste is fresh and mellow, and the tea liquid is clear and bright.

Types of Lu An Gua Pian

According to the different seasons of picking, there are three types of Lu An Gua Pian:

  • Ti Pian: the tea is picked and made before Grain Rain. It is the best-quality tea among all varieties. Because the fresh tea leaves are most tender.
  • Gua Pian: the tea is picked and made after Grain Rain. It is the best-selling tea in the market.
  • Mei Pian: the tea is picked and made during the Plum Rain season (June-July). In the Plum Rain season, the tea leaves become slightly older, and the quality of tea is average.

Benefits of Lu An Gua Pian

There are about 27 inorganic mineral elements in tea, including phosphorus, potassium, aluminum, calcium, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium. The main organic compounds in tea are protein, lipid, carbohydrate, amino acid, alkaloid, tea polyphenol, vitamin, and so on.

Benefits of Lu An Gua Pian:

  • Detox
  • Skincare
  • Weight loss
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antibacterial
  • Lower blood lipids
  • Improve indigestion
  • Improve blood circulation