Formosa Gunpowder is made from medium-sized leaves that are tightly rolled into what appears to be large pellets or 'fiddleheads'. A slightly grassy typical green tea character in the cup. One of our most popular Chinese green teas.
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Region: Northern Taiwan near Chi-lung
Shipping Port: Taipei
Altitude: 1000 feet
Manufacture Type: Steamed green tea
Cup Characteristics: A green tea with surprising body and captivating green tea taste
Infusion: Tending dark green
Legend has it that the name Gunpowder was given by an young English clerk who thought the tiny rolled green balls looked like gunpowder. The tea leaves are specially selected for quality, size and style. They are then rolled into tight nuggets. Gunpowder tea keeps a lot longer than other green teas and is favored because of this characteristic.
Gunpowder tea comes from the province of Zhejiang in China and from Taiwan. Generally the better gunpowders come from Taiwan. Interestingly Taiwan's gunpowder quality improved after 1949. Another interesting point; before the 1900's, gunpowder tea comprised about 60% of Americas total tea imports compared to today, when it is less than 1 percent.
Today in Taiwan the tea bushes flush about 5 times per year from April to December. The best leaf is picked from the end of May to mid-August. The first tea bushes were planted in Taiwan about 300 years ago with bushes from Fujian Province. The tea growing and production is concentrated around the northern part of Taiwan near Chi-lung.
When the tea is made the tiny pellets jingle and tinkle in the bowl or cup . Boiling water causes them to open up like flowers and sink slowly to the bottom in graceful patterns which add a dimension of visual pleasure to tea drinking. This gunpowder produces a reasonably strong dark-green brew with a memorable fragrance, a slightly bitter but not unpleasant flavor and a long lasting finish. Gunpowder is more dense than other teas so one or two teaspoons for a teapot is all that is required.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180�F or 90�C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]