Organic Gunpowder Green Tea

Nutty vegetal flavor with hints of smoke with a medium body infusion

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Gunpowder Green Tea
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Organic Gunpowder Green Tea


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 and Fair Trade Certified Chinese green tea

Origin: Dazhangshan Tea Gardens, Jiangxi Province, China

Organic Tea from Jiangxi Province, China

Jiangxi Province, located in eastern China, is surrounded by mountains on three sides and sits comfortably in a subtropical climate, making it an excellent place for growing tea. Situated in Wuyuan county, the Da Zhang Shan Tea Garden maintains the region’s 1200-year reputation as the “golden triangle” of exceptional tea production. Certified organic in 1997, Da Zhang Shan was the first producer organization in China to gain Fair Trade certification in 2001. With over 5,400 member households, the Da Zhang Shan Tea Association has used their premiums to renovate 3 factories, establish a microcredit program, and build a school, among many other initiatives.

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend green and white teas to be steeped for 2 to 3 minutes in water heated to not-quite-boiling, just as bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pan (approximately 170 to 180 degrees F). For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Lea

    "This tea will wake you up with a bang!"

  • Sarah

    "This a strong lightly smoky tea with a lot of oomph!"

  • Aubrey

    "This is our original Gunpowder Green Tea and is a best seller!"

Health Benefits


Like all true tea, green tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels.

Green tea specifically is known for its array of health benefits, which have been supported by a growing number of studies. Green tea research has demonstrated that it may be an effective anticancer agent for breast cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and prostate cancer, among others. Studies have shown a link between green tea and weight loss, and the ability to modulate energy metabolism, aid in body fat regulation, and possibly promote preferential loss in abdominal fat. Research has also shown that green tea may increase performance for short term memory tasks, as well as being increasing potency of antibiotics. Other peer-reviewed studies link green tea to healthy skin, help with lowering cholesterol, and regulating diabetes. It’s important to keep in mind that many of these studies monitor subjects who drink several cups of green tea per day.

For more information about the health benefits of green tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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” and in 1795, the British ambassador to China comments on “The shrub which bears what is called the Imperial and Gunpowder teas.” Gunpowder tea leaves are rolled into little balls to help protect them from physical damage during transport and storage, and help preserve the flavor of the tea. Traditionally, the individual leaves were rolled by hand, and in the highest quality varieties this is still the case. However, the majority of gunpowder teas are rolled by machines these days. In many cases, the friction of the machine-rolling process will heat up the leaves, altering the flavor and imparting a roasted quality.

For even more information about this and other traditions, visit our Tea Traditions Page!

Customer Reviews

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  • 5
    Wonderful Flavor

    Posted by Valerie on 10th Oct 2022

    I bought this green tea for its reported health benefits. I like it with lemon juice and a few drops of stevia added - it's delicious!

  • 4
    Different from other gunpowders I've tried

    Posted by Michael Vanier on 28th Nov 2021

    I'm quite pleasantly surprised by this tea. Most gunpowder teas I've tasted in the past were extremely smoky tasting, and I'm not fond of that (no lapsang souchong for me). This one only has the barest edge of a smoky hint to it. Depending on how much you like the smoky taste, that may be good or bad, but for me it's a win. I brewed for 90 seconds at around 165 degrees. It has a nice flavor, perhaps a bit more astringent than I like, but not offensively so. The tea brews quite strong, but I like that too :)

  • 4
    Very Nice Green Tea

    Posted by Carlton Purvis on 28th Feb 2018

    Beautiful golden color, distinct and pleasant nutty (hickory?) and hay flavors, very light smokiness. Although it doesn't have a particular 'wow' factor, this is a very nice green tea indeed. Not overpowering at all, just pleasant from start to finish.

  • 4

    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.

  • 5
    Packs a wallop, partner

    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.

  • 5
    Sure to Be a Favorite

    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.

  • 5
    The Beginning of a Rich Day

    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.

  • 5
    Great for strong tea lovers!

    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!

  • 4
    my coffee replacement

    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.

  • 4
    My favorite green so far!

    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!

  • 5
    Wow! Great flavor, but be meticulous about steeping or go Gongfu-style

    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!

  • 4
    Smoky AM wake up tea

    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.

  • 3
    Good but not Great

    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.

  • 5
    Favorite 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.

  • 5
    Nice smoky taste that's not too overpowering

    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.

  • 4
    Nutty and intense yet soothing flavors...

    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).

  • 5
    Great body

    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.

  • 4
    Gunpowder #1

    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.

  • 5
    #1 is number 1!

    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.

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