We often say that a certain tea is made from the materials that are buds, one bud with one leaf or one bud with two leaves, etc. But Lu An Gua Pian is made from the material that is all single leaf, which is the only one without buds and stalks among all the tea leaves in the world.
The shape of the single leaf is like a melon seed, so it is called Gua Pian (a piece of melon seed). 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).
1. History of Lu An Gua Pian
According to a historical legend, a tea merchant in Lu An City picked the tender leaves from the acquired raw leaves and removed the stalks to make a new tea product, which achieved great success. Subsequently, other tea merchants followed suit and made green tea by removing buds and stalks from fresh leaves picked.
In the Qing Dynasty, Lu An Gua Pian was used as a royal tribute and sold well in the middle and lower reaches of the Changjiang River (the third largest river in the world). It had been exported to Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan, and 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, then-Secretary of State of the United States, visited China for the first time. Lu An Gua Pian was presented as a national tea gift, which promoted the development of Sino-US relations 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.
In 2010, Lu An Gua Pian became one of the 10 famous teas in the World Expo in Shanghai, China.
2. Characteristics of Lu An Gua Pian
The picking period of Lu An Gua Pian is from the Grain Rain (around April 20) to Lesser Fullness (around May 21). The fresh leaves should not be tender, but strong, in which there are many nutrients, so the nutritional value of Lu An Gua Pian is also quite high. For example, the content of catechins and polyphenols of Lu An Gua Pian are more, which forms a mellow taste of Lu An Gua Pian.
The key process of producing Lu An Gua Pian is called “La Lao Huo”, a baking technique. At present, there is no machine to complete this traditional technique instead of manual work.
Two tea makers carry a basket of 12kg tea on fire, baking and turning over it for more than 100 rounds back and forth. They cannot stop in the process of baking and turning.
A round time must be strictly controlled, otherwise, the tea will be burnt. More than 100 rounds also test the physical strength of tea makers. If a little bit of control is not good, all the previous efforts will be in vain.
The frosted color of the finished Lu An Gua Pian is a unique technological phenomenon of Lu An Gua Pian, which is baked by high temperature, making the fresh leaves evaporate water and the organic matters come out from the leaves, thus forming white forest color on the surface of dried Lu An Gua Pian.
3. Variety of Lu An Gua Pian
According to the different season of picking, there are three varieties of Lu An Gua Pian:
- Ti Pian: the tea picked and made before Grain Rain is called Ti Pian, which is the best quality tea among all varieties of Lu An Gua Pian. Because the fresh tea leaves are strongest.
- Gua Pian: the tea picked and made after Grain Rain is called Gua Pian, which is the most widely sold tea product in the market.
- Mei Pian: the tea picked and made during the Plum Rain season (June-July) is called Mei Pian. In the Plum Rain season, the tea leaves become slightly older, and the quality of the tea is average.
4. Health benefits of Lu An Gua Pian
The chemical constitutes of Lu An Gua Pian have many healthy effects. Its chemical composition is composed of 3.5-7.0% inorganic substances and 93-96.5% organic substances.
There are about 27 inorganic mineral elements in tea, including phosphorus, potassium, aluminum, calcium, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and so on. The main organic compounds in tea are protein, lipid, carbohydrate, amino acid, alkaloid, tea polyphenol, vitamin and so on.
Green tea is conducive to the prevention and suppression of cancer; is conducive to the health treatment of cardiovascular diseases; is conducive to weight loss and clearance of intestinal fat; is conducive to clearing away heat and dryness, detoxification and beauty.
- Weight loss
- Improve indigestion
- Reducing blood fat
- Ultraviolet-proof, catechins in Lu An Gua Pian can resist skin cancer caused by UV-B.