Chinese green tea rolled into balls, releasing a bold but accessible flavour when brewed
Gunpowder tea is a classic Chinese green tea, first produced over a thousand years ago. Its leaves are rolled into characteristic tight balls which resemble gunpowder pellets. Confusingly, gunpowder tea was first created several centuries before guns or gunpowder pellets were invented; hence, the Chinese name is ‘pearl tea’, rather than the ‘gunpowder’ favoured by European latecomers who tasted it many centuries later.
Gunpowder green is one of the world’s most popular teas, thanks largely to the voracious appetites of Moroccans and other north Africans, who often drink it with fresh mint leaves and sugar. The rich and fragrant, slightly smoky flavour offers a wonderful quality despite being one of the cheaper green teas available. The rolled leaves unfurl and release their flavour as they are brewed. It is a great place to start for those who find other green teas too grassy or bitter.
To our knowledge, gunpowder tea has never been used in battle. And nearly all gunpowder tea is green tea – we just call it ‘Gunpowder Green’ to help it get through Customs.