What is gunpowder green tea?
Green tea leaves each individually rolled into tiny pellet shapes resembling gunpowder gives it the name; gunpowder tea or gunpowder green tea. The gunpowder green tea comes mainly from Zhejiang Province in China. Oolong gunpowder tea is another type of popular gunpowder tea, mainly from Taiwan. The Chinese gunpowder tea is also called pearl tea as the tiny pellets resemble pearls.
Chinese gunpowder tea can be found as early as the Tang Dynasty period (618-907AD) in China and only introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century.
Higher grades of gunpowder tea are rolled meticulously by hand. Rolling the leaves result in less breakage and damage to the leaves besides retaining more flavor and aroma and keeps better. You need less tea leaves to brew your cup of tea compared to other green teas. The little pellets unfurl poetically into whole tea leaves when steeped in hot water and can be quite a relaxing and beautiful sight to watch, especially as they sank slowly and gracefully to the bottom of the teapot.
So how do you choose good quality gunpowder tea?
To check for freshness, look for vibrant, dark green shiny pellets as this indicates the freshness of the tea leaves. The smaller the size of the pellet, the better the quality. The best gunpowder tea uses older tea leaves, are rolled tightly into small pellets and can keep longer than other green teas. A cup of good gunpowder tea is a dark, golden color.
How to brew gunpowder green tea
The method most commonly used to brew a cup of gunpowder tea is to use a teaspoonful of the pellets for every 150ml of boiled water which is between 70 °C (158 °F) to 80 °C (176 °F). A minute or two of steeping for the initial as well as second round is enough to brew a cup of tasty gunpowder tea. Of course, first warming the teapot or cup by rinsing with some hot water is recommended. Third and fourth steeping will still produce a tasty cup of gunpowder green tea.
Steeping too long results in a bitter tea due to the presence of tannins.
Gunpowder tea – taste
The taste can be described as smooth with a hint of smokiness, full-bodied and strong, a bit grassy with a slight bitter flavor and a rich aroma as well as a strong aftertaste. Or maybe drink it like the Moroccans do; add in mint and honey to your pot of brewed gunpowder tea to make the famous Moroccan Mint Tea with its sweeter flavor and uplifting aroma. Drinking it as iced tea on a hot afternoon can be so appealing and delightful. Just remember to add double the amount of tea leaves compared to hot tea.
Gunpowder Green Tea Benefits
Gunpowder tea being a green tea, has all the health benefits of green tea. With a high level of catechins, gunpowder tea benefits our cardiovascular system, regulate blood sugar and may help in the prevention of cancer. Studies also indicate that it may boosts our immune, fight free radicals and help us fight diseases caused by bacteria or viruses. The tea has also been known to benefit the skin.
Types Of Gunpowder Green tea
Pingshui ( Pinhead) gunpowder tea is the original and most common variety of gunpowder tea, grown in the Pingshui region of northern Zheijiang province, China. The pellets or ‘pearls’ are larger with a nice color and has a more aromatic infusion, with a light greenish golden liquid. Temple of Heaven is famous for their Pinhead gunpowder tea. Take a look here at the famous Temple of Heaven 1kg. special gunpowder green tea which is guaranteed authenticity.
Formosa gunpowder tea is grown in Taiwan near Keelung, consisting mainly of fresh or roasted oolongs and thus has a unique flavor, a bit different from the ‘grassy’ green gunpowder tea.
Ceylon gunpowder tea, grown in Sri Lanka, usually at altitudes exceeding 1,800 metres (6,000 ft), has a rich flavor. However, Sri Lanka is a minor producer of the world’s green teas.
There are also several types of Chinese green teas which are commonly rolled into gunpowder pellets. These include Chunmee, Tieguanyin, Huang Guanyin, and Dong Ding, as well as premium jasmine pearl tea which is very popular.
Reading the Tea Shop Mystery would be the perfect way to relax over a cup of gunpowder green tea.