Wednesday, March 4, 2009

David's Tea's Lu An Gua Pian Review

Type: Green
Origin: China
Price: Sample (regular price - $18.75 for 50g. Also available in 25g and 100g packages)
Vendor: David’s Tea
Brewing Method: Per Instructed - 1 teaspoon of leaves, 1 cup of filtered water, heated to 205°F-210°F, steeped for 5 - 7 minutes
Overall Score: Their instructions: 2.0 out of 5; My Instructions: 4.0 out of 5

According to David’s Tea’s website, Lu An Gua Pain is “classified as one of the Famous 10Teas in China, it crosses a bridge between top Chinese and Japanese green teas.” The first thing I noticed is that the leaves are fairly large. They are in the shape of long rolled strands. The aroma of the dry leaves is very subtle – I had to pretty much stick my nose in the package in which then I found the leave’s sweet, grassy smell.

The aroma of the tea is very vegetal, but simple – meaning that the vegetal, or grassy, aroma is really all I get. The liquor is a pretty yellowish-green color.





The taste… simply put… is bad. It was very bitter, very astringent, very strong, which means very bad. It also had this sour taste which made me glad I was doing this review alone because the face I made would have been rather comical. I actually said “wow” out load after taking the first sip because the strength and bitterness gave me such a punch.

Once I get over the bitter, sour taste there is a subtle lime-like aftertaste. It also has the signature green tea grassy aftertaste mixed somewhere in all of the bitterness.

I didn’t get a picture, but the wet, spent leaves were quite big for green tea… some as about as wide and long as thumb up to my first knuckle (keep in mind that I have a petite girly thumb).

I wasn’t ready to give up on this tea just yet. So I put a fresh batch of leaves in the gaiwan and steeped them my way – 160°F for one minute.

The color is noticeably lighter - as it is predicted to be - almost like a pastel yellow. The aroma of the tea is very subtle. I really had to put my nose to the cup to find it.

The taste is SO MUCH BETTER! If you ever wondered the significance of the brewing parameters… this is a prime example. The tea is not harsh like it was before. I can really taste the sweet grassy, vegetal flavor of the tea (and yes, I said sweet).

There is still some astringency in the aftertaste, but that is typical for green teas. The bitterness is no where to be found. I can’t believe this cup of tea came from the same leaves. The differences in the two cups are like night and day.

I am still going to play around with different times and temperatures to see if I can get an even better cup. If you are thinking about trying this tea… you might want to play around with the parameters as well to see what you like.

4 comments:

Cecil Hill said...

I went to the Chengdu Tea Culture Town to specifically obtain some Lu An Gua Pian after much research into what constitutes a "classical Chinese tea." I must have gotten lucky because I found the tea to be just as you described in your second attempt. Sweet and a little bitter but very refreshing.

Something is nagging in the back of my mind about taste verses quality. There were at least five different qualities of this tea being offered. I bought the one in the middle range. In your opinion, how much does quality affect the actual tasting of the tea? One of these days I will find out for sure. Once in a while, over budget can be good.

Love your tea site

Steph said...

I am totally loving that photo with the yellow teacups. It's amazing!

Steph said...

PS - this is a perfect example of why temp matters!

mandybee said...

I just tried a blend of Lu An Gua Pian from Mighty Leaf. I could definitely understand how bad this could taste if steeped for 5-7 minutes. Yikes!

For the Mighty Leaf Lu An Gua Pian, I found that a minute and a half made a perfect cup with water at 165-170F. I'm starting to notice that I like a lot of teas a lot more when I don't steep them as long as is recommended. Probably my own tastes, though. :)

Glad you were able to steep this correctly instead of thinking it was just the tea! It's really good! :9

PS - I love the shape of this tea! There's just something about it. :) The color of the leaf is very nice too.