The tender leaves of this Fair Trade Certified organic tea from China are steamed and then tightly rolled in a time honored process. When infused, the tightly-rolled pellets yield a medium-bodied, golden infusion with a nutty vegetal flavor. Heat generated during the rolling process lends this tea a hint of smoke.
Legend has it that the name of this organic green tea is owed to a young English clerk who likened the small green pellets to gunpowder. Hot water causes them to open up like flowers and sink slowly to the bottom in graceful patterns.
Note: Gunpowder is denser than other teas, so we recommend only one or two teaspoons for a full teapot, or a scant teaspoon for one cup of organic tea.
Ingredients: organic Chinese green tea
Serving Size: one scant teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water
Aubrey Says: This is our original Gunpowder Green Tea and is a best seller!
Jeremy Says: A great Gunpowder that can be re-steeped multiple times.
Posted by Kara on 12th Apr 2017
To me this tea isn't smoky at all. Instead, it's delicate and sweet. It actually kind of reminds me on an oolong tea. Not bad but not my cup of tea, either.
Posted by Johanna on 27th Jun 2016
I'm drinking a pot of this stuff right now! It's strong and the leaves make several satisfying brews, with the flavor developing each time. There's a hint of smoke and a bit of woodiness (which I love) that lingers in the aftertaste. It feels thick in my mouth and the color is a pretty, golden honey.
Posted by Dave W. on 3rd Dec 2015
A lot of flavor and aroma are packed into the small, and tightly rolled pellets of this high-quality gunpowder, so be careful to scoop a little bit less into your teapot than you normally would with other loose-leaf green teas. The flavor is boldly robust with a hint of smoke, and at the same time it is mildly sweet, with notes of honey, and has a slightly astringent finish on the tongue. To be sure to enjoy the sweetness, and not bring out too much of the astringency, I always steep this tea for no more than one minute. Brewing it gongfu-style in an Yixing teapot yields several satisfying steepings.
Posted by Nellie Hward on 3rd Jun 2015
I never drank tea until I discovered Gunpowder green. Now my best days include morning on the porch and a cup of Arbor Day's Gunpowder green. From my first view of the lustrous sage-green tightly-wound leaf balls to the earthy aroma and on to the full but not-too-earthy flavor my senses are fully awakened when I start my day with Gunpowder green.
Posted by Katie on 3rd Feb 2015
I love a nice bold tea and this fits the bill. It's got a really nice earthy-ness to it that's just perfect for an afternoon perk me up. The quality is well above store brands, too!
Posted by kevin on 13th Dec 2014
Just to clarify, I was a coffee drinker only up until a few weeks ago. I have chosen to cut coffee and drink tea only for the health benefits . Now to the gunpowder review. First time I brewed this tea, I thought it was weak in strength with a pleasant green tea flavor. Second time I brewed (I use a french press with a mesh strainer), I placed double the recommended dose of tea leaves (2 tsp per 8 oz vs 1 tsp), 180 degree water, steeped for 2 1/2 minutes. Halfway through the steep I pressed the french press plunger down and pulled it back up (to re afitate the leaves and have them swirl around) The flavor was off the charts and extremely strong! It almost felt like green tea fumes were coming out of my nose as I drank the tea.
Posted by Lala on 22nd Apr 2014
I have tried the jasmine and another Chinese green tea from Arbor, but I like this one best because it really packs a punch. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is a smoky and bold green tea. You don't need many leaves to make a strong cup, and it is beautiful as it unfurls. I like to drink mine Chinese-style just by putting the leaves in the cup and pouring water over. Nevermind letting it steep too long or using a strainer! I use appropriate water temperature, but this tea doesn't get bitter, and the flavor lasts all day. Best value by far!
Posted by Laschman on 1st Apr 2014
I am new to arbor teas and pretty new to tea in general, But holy freeholy is this green tea the best I've had yet. But I am brewing it Gongfu-style. At exactly 180 F , 2 teaspoons for 8 ounces. First infusion is 10 seconds, dump in sink, (for your enemy) to clean and wake up the tea. Second infusion is first real one, for 15 seconds. Wow is that good! The next infusion for 15 seconds as well. Best one yet!! Now that is a green tea, full of flavor. Keep repeating infusions for 15 seconds every time to enjoy the subtle differences in flavor. Because it was awake right away, I can see that if your going to seep western style, for water to be at 175-180 and to not seep for more than 2 minutes if not just a minute and a half at all. Enjoy!
Posted by Candice Fryda on 10th Nov 2013
I love gunpowder, I especially like to have it first thing in the morning. I used to be a huge coffee drinker, but gunpowder has replaced my morning coffee. It is a nice smoky flavor, but also slightly sweet. It has a lot of body and character, and goes well with savory meals such as your eggs and toast! I have tried many other gunpowders and this one is very good quality, it's got just the right amount of smoky flavor without being overpowering. It does have a slight astringent quality, and it is important not to over steep this tea (max 2min 30 sec in my opinion) or it becomes bitter.
Posted by Andy on 30th May 2013
My first impression of this tea was negative due to the fact that I was not using enough. Due to the compressed nature of the tea I thought I should use slightly less than normal for other teas. When I used more tea the result was a better, more robust flavor. The smoky undertone was definitely less than other gunpowder teas I have had, but apart from this I enjoy the tea.
Posted by Carla on 19th Apr 2013
My husband & I LOVE this gunpowder green tea, starting our day with & drinking it all day. It has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor. This tea has such a beautiful aroma and flavor that it can stand alone! It holds it's flavor well for multiple infusions. In the summer, it's very refreshing served over ice, sweetened with a little agave nectar and a splash of lime. The Arbor Teas products are top notch, high quality. Believe me, we can notice a difference when we run out of it & purchase elsewhere.
Posted by Graham Friday on 8th May 2012
I've never tried gunpowder green tea before ordering this one, and I must say that I really enjoy it. You can smell the smoky notes while the tea is brewing and when you take a sip, those are definitely still there, but you can also tell that you're drinking a green tea (the smoky flavor doesn't completely overpower the taste). I enjoy that balance; it makes the tea very drinkable and I would definitely order this tea again.
Posted by Lukasz on 6th Dec 2011
I purposely waited 9+ months to review this tea in order to provide a true assessment of it. I ordered this tea in bulk and stored it inside the large air tight metal containers sold here.
If you like intense green tea flavors, this tea is a good choice for you. The aroma is nutty and rich and the flavor is complex. As with all gunpowder green tea, a little goes a long way. Multiple infusions allow the flavors to change and evolve. Be sure to steep the first infusion accordingly (175 F for approximately 30-45 seconds). Otherwise, you will be shocked by how bitter this tea can get. I have accidently forgot about my steeping gunpowder tea for several minutes on a couple of occasions and the resulting tea was nearly undrinkable (very intense bitterness).
Posted by Arthur Barton on 18th Apr 2010
My wife and I agree this is our favorite morning tea for those days when we want to keep the caffeine down (compared to Black tea). The Gunpower # 2 is close but this is better in our opinion.Smoky and also smooth. A little goes a long way it has a potent flavor so actually a real bargain.We are at roughly our 10th reorder point (in bulk the past year or so) so hope it is always in stock in the future.
Posted by Alan Babbitt on 26th Apr 2009
As usual I brewed this tea Gongfu-style using a small clay pot. I used 7 grams (about 1 tablespoon of this tea) in 200ml of water. As is typical for a green tea the water should be below boiling about 185 degrees. First steeping was about 30 seconds. The resulting brew was a very light straw color. The aroma is clean and fresh with almost a citrusy note. The tea is very light in flavor with a medium to full body. There is some vegetal character but it is not unpleasantly grassy like some green teas. This is smooth and delicate with little bitterness or astringency. The tea is made up of mostly very small whole leaves and tips with very little breakage. The second infusion was somewhat cloudy but with little change in flavor. Excellent tea.
Posted by Bill Edwards on 12th Nov 2007
This is the other end of the spectrum from Jing Mai. One of the gunpowders will have a permanent place in my cupboard--so far it is this one. Full flavor will easily tolerate several brewings (new word?). Some will not like this but everyone should try it.
We at Arbor Teas firmly believe that tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. With that being said, here are some recommendations to get you started, but please remember you can make adjustments based on your own personal taste.
There are three main considerations when brewing tea: quantity of tea, water temperature and steeping time.
Quantity of tea: one scant teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water
Water temperature: use water that has been heated until bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pot (180° F)
Steeping time: 2-3 minutes
Tip #1: Use fresh water whenever possible - water that has been sitting in your kettle overnight may impart a flat or stale taste to your tea. Be careful not to boil your water for too long. Over boiled water can sometimes impart an unwanted taste.
Tip #2: Keep in mind that brewing your tea for too long can extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves, so steeping time matters! For a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea.
Learn more from our How To Guides on how to brew loose leaf tea, how to make iced tea, and how to make tea lattes. And don’t forget to check out our Eco-Brewing Tips, too!
There are five significant components found in all tea from the plant camellia sinensis: essential oils, which are the source of tea’s delicious flavor and aroma; polyphenols, which are antioxidants that provide the tea’s brisk flavor and many of its health benefits; phytonutrients, which are small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids including L-theanine (a very rare molecule that has been found in only three sources including camellia sinensis!) ; enzymes; and methylxanthines, which are a family of alkaloids that include caffeine. Each of these components work differently in the human body and a full description is best left to a medical journal. However, recent research exploring the potential health attributes of tea is leading many scientists to agree that tea, may contribute positively to a healthy lifestyle.
Some research comparing different types of tea has shown that the manufacturing process does affect the level of antioxidants present in the final tea leaf. According to a 2006 review of the beneficial effects of green tea in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, when comparing dry leaves, unoxidized green tea retains more antioxidants than black, oolong, or pu-erh. The catechin (or antioxidant) that displays the greatest increase in green tea when compared to the black, oolong and pu-erh is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). (Reference: "Beneficial Effects of Green Tea - A Review" Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol 25, No 2 (2006))
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Health Benefits check here.
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Caffeine check here.
Gunpowder teas are green teas native to the Zhejiang Province of China, and have been around since the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE). Though Zhejiang has historically been the primary source of gunpowder teas, a number of other provinces now contribute to the production of this style, in addition to locales beyond China’s borders. Evidence of British interest in gunpowder teas can be found as early as 1771, in “Osbeck’s Voyage to China and the East Indies,” by Johann Forster. He describes a type of tea “rolled up like peas… A smaller kind is called Gunpowder Tea,” and in 1795, the British ambassador to China comments on “The shrub which bears what is called the Imperial and Gunpowder teas.”
Why Are Gunpowder Green Teas Rolled? Rolling the leaves into little balls helps protect them from physical damage during transport and storage, and helps preserve the flavor of the tea. Traditionally, the individual leaves were rolled up by hand, and in the highest quality varieties this is still the case. The majority of commercial gunpowder teas, however, are rolled by machines these days. In some cases, the friction of the machine-rolling process will heat up the leaves, altering the flavor slightly and imparting a roasted quality.
There are several possible sources for the “gunpowder” sobriquet:
1. The rolled-up tea leaves look like little gray pellets of the stuff;
2. The pellets “explode” as they steep in hot water;
3. Teas in this style tend to have a smoky flavor, and the British are fond of puns!
For information on other traditions or to submit your own tea tradition visit our Tea Traditions section.