Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: Special Pinhead style Gunpowder
Altitude: 5000 - 6400 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Special gunpowder green tea
Cup Characteristics: A green tea with surprising body and a captivating taste that has an intriguing hint of smokiness
Infusion: Greenish full bodied slightly high fired character
Gunpowder tea is produced like green tea but after the steaming process the tea is tightly rolled into what appears to be pellets. When boiling water is poured over the leaves they quickly expand and in some cases can almost fill the cup. Royal Gunpowder is an especially good green tea for the following reasons:
- The base tea comes from some of the best estates in Sri Lanka.
- The tightness of the rolled pellets give excellent flavour when made into tea.
- The region where the tea is grown - Dimbula - is a high grown area producing full bodied flavory tea. In Dimbula the peak quality time is during February when northwest monsoons create dry weather conditions in Dimbula.
Royal Gunpowder tea is manufactured in very limited quantities from specific requests due to the time and diligence required to manufacture this high quality tea. It is very difficult to achieve such a tight roll on the leaves tightly this particular tea I able to be stored for along time without any deterioration in quality.
Tea was planted in Sri Lanka by the British in the 1860's after a coffee rust wiped out the then primary agricultural coffee crop. At that time the British East Indies Company had a near monopoly on tea, with most of Britain's needs coming from China. Relations between China and Britain were quite rocky during this period (on account of the opium trade) and tea in Sri Lanka looked like a great way to diversify supply risk by 'the company'. This gunpowder is made in the Chinese tradition but also benefits be superior quality tea.
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 about 80'C. Take about 1 silver ball and let it 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 - they form a beautiful flower and foretell life.
Iced tea brewing method: (makes 1 litter/qt): Place 6 tsps 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 the 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.]