Each spring, I get caught up in the hype around the new green teas, even though I know I don’t particularly care for their vegetal, grassy profiles. This year, I managed to prevent myself from ordering large amounts of tea I’d feel guilty about not drinking, but still couldn’t resist the pull entirely. Hence this 25 g pack of Liu An Gua Pian, which is something that I liked before, even when I accidentally dumped boiling water over it.

That brings me to the other reason green tea and I don’t get along: I have a terrible time brewing it correctly. I don’t have a variable temperature kettle, so getting the water to 176F is a waiting game. I also don’t have consistent gongfu parameters. And I only have huge mugs or small 150 ml teacups, so I don’t even know where to start with bowl brewing. Also, I probably have the wrong water because everyone seems to have the wrong water.

I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using water cooled to 176F for 40, 20, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. The first three times came from the owner; the last few are just my guesses.

The dry aroma of these long, curly, rolled leaves is of toasted pumpkin seeds, seaweed, and veggies. The first steep has notes of pumpkin seeds, spinach, cabbage, green beans, and iodine. The iodine and cruciferous vegetables get a lot stronger in the second steep, which also reminds me of zucchini. This somewhat sweet, vegetal profile remains strong in the next couple steeps, and then takes over as the session goes on, with highlights of spinach, broccoli, and kale. Nonetheless, there is not much astringency.

Although it has not made me into a green tea convert, this Liu An Gua Pian has the profile I remember and is nuanced enough to be interesting. Still, however, it’s a lot of work for flavours I don’t particularly gravitate toward. Maybe I’ll finally stop buying these types of teas every spring, or maybe I’ll eventually learn to like these vegetal notes. Only time will tell.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Broccoli, Green Beans, Iodine, Kale, Seaweed, Spinach, Zucchini

175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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