Lu'an Melon Seed (Chinese: 六安瓜片; pinyin: Lù'ānguāpiàn), also known as Liuan Leaf, is a green tea from Liu'an County in Anhui Province, China. This is a famous Green Tea and is listed on virtually all China Famous Tealists. The literal translation for Liu An Gua Pian Tea is Liu An Melon Seed Tea. Its name is derived from the shape of the processed tea leaves, which are flat and oval and resemble a melon seed. Unlike most green teas which utilize the new buds in making tea, Liu An Gua Pian uses the second leaf on the branch. Each leaf's central vein is removed and the leaves are pan fried and shaped to stop oxidizing enzymes and dry the tea.
According to the recorded history books, Liu An Gua Pian tea was first recorded in the book called The Classics of Tea. It was the first book about general tea knowledge, and contained a brief introduction about tea categories and how to prepare tea. It was written by Lu Yu (733-804 A.D.) during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). In contrast to the processing methods for other kinds of green tea such as Long Jing, Liu An Gua Pian is a baked green tea which causes the taste of Liu An Gua Pian to be different from other types of green tea in China. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), Liu An Gua Pian was widely used to prevent sunstroke by the Chinese. The earliest Chinese Christian Xu Guangqi (1562-1633 A.D.), who was also a well-known scientist writing in his Agricultural Encyclopedia that “laminar tea from Liu’an prefecture is a top-grade tea”. It was a tribute tea to the highest power class, The Forbidden City in Qing Dynasty (1636-1911A.D.). Liu An Gua Pian was enjoyed by Emperor Guangxu (1871-1908 A.D.) and the famous Dowager Cixi (1835-1908 A.D.). Liu An Gua Pian was also recommended by the literature giant Cao Xueqin (1715-1763 A.D.) in his representative Dream of the Red Chamber 80 times.