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What is Gunpowder Green Tea?

Green tea is popular, and in the eyes of many tea lovers, perfect. Sometimes, though, giving a product a little bit of a revamp can be kind of fun. The word gunpowder can certainly make a product stand out to you at the grocery store, but what really is gunpowder green tea?

Gunpowder green tea is a type of tea that has leaves rolled tightly into little pellet-like shapes. It lasts longer than standard green tea leaves do, and it is said to have a slightly different and more potent flavor. However, there are a few more things about this special green tea that you might want to know before you pick it up. 

Read on to learn some more about gunpowder green tea, like how to serve it, where the name came from, and why you might want to choose it over its standard-leaved counterpart. 

What is Gunpowder Green Tea?

Gunpowder green tea contains no actual gunpowder, but some say it has somewhat of a subtle smoky flavor. However, gunpowder green tea is not actually smoked, so if you’re not one for super smoky flavors, don’t worry! If you’re looking for a tea that is actually smoked during processing, check out lapsang souchong tea instead.

Gunpowder green tea is green tea, prepared differently. Like standard green tea, gunpowder green tea can be traced back to the Tang dynasty in China. It is made by steaming the leaves and then rolling them up. During the Tang dynasty, the process was obviously all done by hand, but it is done by machines today. 

Gunpowder tea can be made with several types of tea leaves. Other than green tea, some of the most popular gunpowder tea leaves are:

gunpowder green tea smoky taste

Why is it Called Gunpowder Green Tea?

As mentioned above, there’s no real gunpowder in gunpowder green tea. The name is pretty straightforward: someone noticed that the little pellets looked like gunpowder, and probably said, “yes. That’s what it’s called!”

There is really no other reason. In China, where the practice of making gunpowder green tea originated, it’s called “pearl tea” because the leaves look like pearls. However, especially in western culture, that must not have had the same ring to it. 

Is Gunpowder Green Tea Good for You?

Like regular green tea, gunpowder green tea is loaded with health benefits, like antioxidants, catechins, and caffeine. Tea is good for your hair, skin, and nails, and can give you that nice mid-afternoon pick-me-up you might be craving. 

Gunpowder Green Tea Caffeine Content

The caffeine in this tea is a bit higher than regular green tea, so keep that in mind if you’re getting close to bedtime.  Gunpowder green tea contains about 35-40 mg per cup, as compared to regular green tea which has about 15-30 mg per cup.  

How to Prepare and Store Gunpowder Green Tea

Brewing this type of tea is similar to brewing green tea:  

  • Use water that is just under boiling
  • Use about 2 teaspoons of gunpowder tea pellets per 8 ounces of water
  • Allow to steep for about 1 minute

Gunpowder green tea is less bitter than normal green tea, so many prefer to prepare this kind over ice and have regular green tea warm, when they can add honey to cut through that bitterness. 

Gunpowder green tea can stay fresh for up to a year when stored properly. To store your tea, put the pellets in a dry, airtight container and store somewhere cool and dark, like a cabinet. Do not leave it on the counter, in the sun, or in the fridge. 

gunpowder green tea pellets

Gunpowder vs Green Tea

Gunpowder green tea and standard green tea are definitely sisters, not twins. Though they come from the same plant and the same region, there are many differences. These include:

  • Taste. Gunpowder green tea has a bit of a smoky flavor, and it is stronger overall. However, unlike regular green tea, gunpowder green tea is not usually described as bitter.
  • Benefits. Both types have the same benefits. However, gunpowder green tea and its tightly rolled pellets can contain slightly higher amounts of antioxidants and caffeine, since the tight roll keeps them in whereas standard leaves lose these quicker. 
  • Longevity. Green tea, when properly stored, can last for 6 months to a year. Gunpowder green tea can last anywhere from 1-3 years on average.

Gunpowder Green Tea is the Sister of Green Tea

At the end of the day, gunpowder green tea really is different from standard green tea. It has a unique flavor and an eye-catching name. If you’re looking for a tea that you can store for a while, choosing a gunpowder tea is definitely your best bet. 

Gunpowder green tea might be a little harder to find, but you’ll likely be able to find it at your local tea shop if your grocery store doesn’t have it. Whether you choose to cold brew it or drink it warm during the winter, gunpowder green tea is definitely worth a try!

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