Lu An Gua Pian 六安瓜片 green tea originates from Anhui Province of China. It is featured in almost all lists of ‘China’s Famous Teas’ and is mentioned extensively throughout Chinese tea history. Several times pan-fried leaf of this famous green tea has a distinct shape, producing a vegetal liquor with a sweet aftertaste. This tea is special in its appearance. It looks a bit like watermelon seed so it was named after it.
Autumn begins in China. It's time to harvest wild tea trees in Dabieshan 大別山 in western Anhui. Here is the original production site of the famous yellow tea Huo Shan Huang Ya 霍山黃芽.
When you ask about Lapsang Souchong at a Chinese tea market, the sellers will most likely show you a black tea that is not smoked, different from the orthodox Lapsang Souchong tea, which smells strongly of pinewood smoke. We are talking about Xiao Chi Gan 小赤甘 tea.
There is little dispute that tea originated in China, but the story surrounding its origins --- or at least the Story that the Chinese like to tell --- is a bit more fantastical. And why not? A beverage of such prominence deserves a larger-than-life tale after all. According to folklore, tea was discovered several thousand years ago by a know-it-all named Shennong (神農 Shen Nong), who not only invented crazy useful things for his people (like agricultural equipment and the Chinese calendar), but was also a father of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Shenning might or might not have been a real figure in history, but it does not hurt to believe in his existence --- if not his near-supernatural abilities...
In the early days, “tea” was made by mixing tea leaves with ingredients like onions, dates, and ginger. It was also consumed for its perceived health benefits rather than for enjoyment.
It wasn’t until the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) that tea consumption became more sophisticated activity and specialized teaware was developed to accompany the refined drink. In the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) tea drinking and tea making standards continued to evolve and improve, paving the way for modern tea culture.
It wasn't so long ago that tea was such an obsession for the world that it actually led to history-making wars. There was the Boston Tea Party - a massive protest by American colonists against the British government's 1773 Tea Act. The Act imposed a high tax on teas sent from Britain to what were then known as the American colonies, and people were outraged. Protesters boarded trade ships at the Boston Harbor and tossed hundreds of chests of tea into the ocean. That was a lot of money's worth of tea at the time, and the British Parliament reacted by passing even more punitive laws. The American colonists responded with even more protests, leading ultimately to the American Revolution in 1775. And we all know how that ended. It's therefore no exaggeration to say that tea was partly responsible for the birth of the United States of America!