DetailsCountry of Origin: China
Manufacture Type: Pan fired and hand twisted.
Cup Characteristics: Surprising body and captivating green tea taste with a hint of oakiness.
Infusion: Tending dark green
Ingredients: Green tea
Gunpowder tea, the substance used to keep your eyes open and your taste-buds hopping is one of the great inventions of Zhejinag province in Eastern China.
Gunpowder teas are primarily produced in the town of Pingshui in the mountainous Guiji region of the province. The technique for their production has remained virtually unchanged since the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907) - and what a production it is. After plucking, each individual leaf is rubbed and twisted by hand then dried by stir-frying in a large pan. Depending on the quality of the leaf, ambient humidity and temperature, up to 4 rounds of stir-fry drying may be required. Although in recent years this process has been sped up somewhat through the limited use of mechanical equipment, the necessity of hand-rolling the tea into its signature shape is still incredibly labor intensive.
The end result of all this work is a fabulous cup that has long been prized by Chinese and Westerners alike. The tea is prized for its robust fresh character that is underscored by subtle touches of oak. (Incidentally, Gunpowder tea is the base of many Moroccan mint teas because of its rich character.) When selecting Gunpowders, traders look for tea that has been tightly rolled and has a slightly waxy appearance indicative of freshness.