Liu An Gua Pian (六安瓜片 also known as Lu'an Gua Pian or Melon Seed) is one of the "Big 10 Famous Chinese Teas" (十大中国名茶), and is grown in Da Bie Mountain Liu An area of Anhui province. (大别山六安市安徽省). Liu An Gua Pian first became popular during the Qing Dynasty
Liu An Guan Pian is a unique tea because it's picked at a more mature stage when the leaves are larger, the leaves are rolled with a a kind of broom (not hand rolled) and the tea flash baked dozens of time.
Among all the teas in the world, Melon Seed is the only non-bud sessile tea, and is made from a single leaf (with no bud), but somehow have no grassy taste at all. The stalk has been lignified in the production process, and once processing is completed the tea taste is thick and not bitter, and the fragrance is high and clear. The leaves are picked within ten days before and after the rain, and the second and third leaves are taken when picking (not the tender leaf/bud sets that are the crown). The pickers are reminded to "pick the tough (leaves), not the tender (buds)".
Harvest Time: Late-April until Mid-May.
Area: Hualing area (Inner Mountain)
History of Liu An Gua Pian Tea
"Liu An Guan Pian" tea was born in "Liu An Town" and became among the most popular teas of the Qing Dynasty. According to the historical records the poet Yuan Ming in the Qing Dynasty, wrote that Liu An Gua Pian evolved from the misty mountains of the Qi Shan range in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. The locals circulated the saying "Qishan Yunwu, the east from the python cave, the west to the bat cave, the south to the golden basin, the moon, and the north to the crystal plaque".
In 1856 the Empress Dowager Cixi enjoyed 14 to 26 cups of the tea per month. The older generation of revolutionaries also had a strong affection for Liu An Gua Pian, in particular the great Zhou Enlai!
In July 1971, Dr. Henry Kissinger, who served as US Secretary of State, visited China for the first time. He was presented a gift of Liu An Gua Pian, which promoted the development of Sino-US relations and showed that the tea is worthy of the precious historical and cultural heritage with which it has been bestowed.
Liu An Gua Pian is produced in the Yu'an District of Liu An City and the adjacent mountainous areas and low hills of Jin Zhai and Huo Shan counties. It is divided into two production areas: "Inner Mountain" and "Outer Mountain".
Inner Mountain area includes: Qishan Village (Huangshichong) in Jinzhai County, Hongdian, Hualing, Gongdian; Yu'an District, Dushan; Shuangfeng, Longmenchong, Sancha Village, Shijiadian Town, Shajiawan Village and the area of Huo Shan county near the Buddhist Temple.
Outer Mountain area include : the radius of the Shibanchong and Shipodian streets in the Yu'an District of Liu An City, 5 km, the Lion Rock and the Luojiatun area.