Hey Teacups! I’m back today with a Stateside Steeps post and this time around around I’m going to be reviewing Master Tea’s – Lu An Gua Pain (Green Tea). I’ve had nothing but fantastic experiences with Masters Teas so far and I always get so excited when the time comes for me to do another tasting session with a tea from their now rather vast range. I also have recently received a few more teas from them including quite a few Oolongs that I can’t wait to do tasting session with and feature here on the blog. Back when it first got into tea I wouldn’t drink green tea too regularly so a lot of the teas I’ve tried from Adagio over the years have been new experiences for me because it’s an area of tea I never really took a deep dive into. This particular tea is another new one for me which definitely made the tasting session and overall experience so much more exciting, there’s nothing like trying out a completely new to you tea for the first time.
Here’s what Masters Teas themselves have to say about this tea over on their website: ”Lu An Gua Pian was a type of “gong cha” or tribute tea to the imperial family during the Qing dynasty. It is also listed on almost all of the lists of famous Chinese teas. Its name, Lu An Melon Seed, is a topic of some debate. Derived from either the shape the leaves take once after processing, flat and oval, similar to the seed you would find inside of a melon, or from its distinct scent or roasted seeds. Unlike other green teas Lu An Gua Pian is rather unconventional in that it is a baked green tea. It is also unique because while most green teas use tender buds, this one is comprised of the more mature second leaf on the branch, which is then de-veined before pan-frying and shaping.”
“Our Lu An Gua Pian offering, otherwise known as Lu An Melon Seed, consists of very young, tender leaves. The twisted leaf style yields a pale yellow, complex and layered cup. You can pick up the super quiet nut notes, which are there if you listen closely. About the leaves: Grown at 800 meters above sea level the 5cm long leaves are hand-plucked in early May from 5 year old trees. The single leaf is then hand-fired by charcoal fire without any buds or stalks.”
Tea Tasting Notes
For this tasting session I steep this tea gong fu style, using freshly filtered water brewed to 85°C. I used around 4.5g of tea and in total I was able to do a total of 4 steeps during this session. However I did also cold brew the leaves afterwards.
Steep 1: Steep 1 – nutty, slightly sweet, somewhat creamy, notes of freshly toasted Pumpkin seeds and steamed greens reminiscent of Bok Choi, somewhat vegetal but very light over all. As it cools some astringency does come forward and a tiny bit of dryness. That creaminess like vanilla cheesecake, it’s not a heavy creaminess and it’s quite light but it not something I expected from this tea and it actually turned out to be one of my favourite characteristics of this tea overall, it also has a lingering sweet finish which rounds everything off really well. This is a green tea I could see myself drinking everyday and normally Chinese green teas don’t make that cut as I tend to prefer Japanese green teas but this one really is a stand out to me.
Steep 2: Steep two was very similar to steep one with same nutty, slightly sweet, somewhat creamy, notes of freshly toasted pumpkin seeds and steamed greens, though the sweetness was a little bit more prevalent in this steep and it was also a touch more vegetal. The tea leaf has a slight peppery essence after it is steeped, which adds subtle complexity underneath the otherwise pure flavour. I also did notice in this steep a subtle hint of white sesame, but while it was subtle it did a great job of rounded off each mouthful really well. In terms of mouthfeel, it has a somewhat thick and oily texture with sweet a juicy finish. This tea is the perfect middle ground between a green tea and an Oolong and I love it for that reason because there’s element from both in there and they are balanced perfectly.
Steep 3 & 4 : This steep is where things started to change up a little bit and the sweetness that was present in the other steeps was reduced quite a bit, and because of that the cup overall took on a much more savoury characteristic. Paired with the buttery/creamy notes already present in this tea’s previous steeps, the savoury notes reminded me a lot of buttered bake potatoes with a sprinkling of black pepper, theres a slight hint of that sweet vanilla cheesecake left in the aftertaste but it’s not as present as it was. The freshly roasted pumpkin seed note carried all the way through and the vegetal notes did too which stayed similar to bok choi but also had a slight hint of watercress in there too. The second steep was my favourite overall out of the three steeps in this session but I thoroughly enjoyed this one too because of how the flavour was able transform and it added a whole new level to this tea experience.
The cold brew steep didn’t work as well as I thought it would and this was much better steeped hot. I would definitely purchase more of this tea though like I said it’s something I could see myself drinking regularly along side my other firm favourite green teas, in fact I would probably even say that this makes it’s way into my top ten when it comes to green teas. I highly recommend this to both green tea lovers and people who are new to green teas, honestly everyone is going to love this and if you are new to green teas, to have this be one of your first green tea experiences would be a great way to start.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Masters Teas and purchase some of this tea to try yourself (they are currently having a sale so now is the best time to order) you can do both here. As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in my comments or send them to me on Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll answer as many as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*the tea featured in this post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinion however are my own and have not been paid for*