Review: Vintage Tea Co. Liu An Gua Tea

Green Tea, Uncategorized, Vintage Tea Company Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This leaf makes for a unique, very enjoyable cup. Its minty finish and savoury umami notes are especially striking. A good bet for those times when only something off the beaten path will do. Highly recommended!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.1/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.4/10
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vintageliuanguaThis tea comes to us from Qiyun Mountain, located in the Chinese province of Anhui. It’s described as being bright, floral and filling, somewhat like a Tie Guan Yin. The leaves are interestingly folded, reminding me of accordion books. Because of their plump shape, another name for this tea is “melon seed”. Taking a sniff, my sample smells sweet and vaguely grassy.

I follow the instructions provided by Vintage Tea, infusing 3 grams of leaf in 150ml of water heated to 85 degrees for 1 minute. The pale green cup has a mild savoury scent to it. The sip begins with hearty, vegetal broth notes. Artichokes and asparagus are both featured. The flavours become sweeter, ending with a stunning floral yet minty finish. It’s very filling and refreshing.

The folks at Vintage Tea recommend re-steeping the leaves another 3 times. I infuse the leaves again for 1 and a half minutes. The results are rougher and more peppery in feel and flavour this time. The savoury notes have receded somewhat but the minty taste has become all the stronger for it.

After 2 mins, my third cup has developed a lovely shitake mushroom taste. Those who like umami flavours will be pleased. A little mint still lifts the finish but it’s more of an aftertaste at this point.

I steep my fourth and last brew for 3 minutes. While it’s totally drinkable and no unpleasant element appears, it’s quite mild, bordering on bland. All that remains is a hint of flowers and mint to the finish. I probably wouldn’t bother with a fourth infusion in the future.

This leaf makes for a unique, very enjoyable cup. Its minty finish and savoury umami notes are especially striking. Although I don’t have enough leaf to try it this way, I imagine that this tea would be a good candidate for an iced brew. While it’s a little pricier than some, this offering is a good bet for those times when only something off the beaten path will do. Highly recommended!

— To purchase Vintage Tea Co. Liu An Gua Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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