Gunpowder Green Tea ReviewEven seasoned tea drinkers might be wondering, “what is gunpowder green tea?” This is because it is not one of the more well-known varieties of tea, like traditional green tea and black tea. However, the process used to make gunpowder tea is so complex, the result is a leathery, nutty, earthy tea that finishes a little sweet and a little astringent, all at the same time. Its unusual flavor is just one of the reasons to drink gunpowder tea, though. It’s health benefits are numerous, compounding the excellent antioxidant powers of regular green tea.

History of Gunpowder Green Tea

The production of gunpowder tea takes place primarily in the Zhejiang Province of eastern China. Each dried green tea leaf is rolled into a small, round pellet that have been withered and steamed. Its grayish color and the pellet form resemble grains of black powder, which is how this particular tea got its name. Most gunpowder green tea leaves are rolled by machine these days, but the high-end teas are still rolled by hand.

The first known cup of gunpowder green tea was consumed in the Tang Dynasty, which ruled from 618 to 906 A.D. It was introduced to Taiwan in the 1800s and eventually made its way to the English-speaking countries later that same century. Gunpowder tea is a central component of the traditional North African mint tea, which is used as part of a Moroccan tea ritual that is included during any social gathering, from the most casual to the most formal of occasions. Visitors usually have to drink at least two cups of the mint tea to keep from offending their host.

Quality of Gunpowder Green Tea

When searching for a quality gunpowder green tea, it is best to look for shiny, small pellets. Large pellets that have a dull pallor are not as fresh and will not produce very good tea. The leaves should be very tightly rolled so that they unfurl slowly when steeped in hot water. This allows the flavor to escape in stages, emitting the pungent aroma that is characteristic of gunpowder tea.

There are several different varieties of gunpowder tea, including Pingshui, which is the most common variety that consists of larger pellets. Other varieties include Formosa, which has a distinct aroma when compared to other types of gunpowder tea and is grown only in Taiwan. Typically, these teas are made from oolong tea leaves rather than green tea leaves. A third variety is known as Ceylon and it is grown only in Sri Lanka in high-altitude gardens.

The tea itself is a golden liquid that boasts a rich color reminiscent of honey and amber. It is far more colorful than most other types of tea, making it pleasing to the eye as well as to the tongue. Gunpowder green tea, when prepared correctly, is full of soft honey flavor with a smoky twist with a slightly coppery finish. People who enjoy peppery and grassy teas will fall in love with gunpowder teas.

Health Benefits

Gunpowder green tea benefits are numerous, sharing many of the same healthy properties as traditional green tea. In particular, the antioxidant known as EGCG is present in gunpowder tea is critical in combating dangerous free radicals in the body. If these free radicals are allowed to roam free and unchecked, they can contribute to the cause of a variety of illnesses, including cancer. They have also been known to change and damage DNA.

Removing toxins from the body is another of the many gunpowder green tea benefits. It supports liver function by assisting in the conversion of toxins and waste into water-soluble compounds that can more easily leave the body. Polyphenols are also present in gunpowder tea, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Some people even use gunpowder tea as a weight loss aid, since it is well-known as a cleanser in China and other Asian nations. It has three powerful catechins, along with theanine and caffeine that are known to burn fat and help build muscle. In addition, green tea boosts metabolism, making it easier to burn fat during workouts. Gunpowder tea contains more caffeine than most other types of green tea, which only accelerates the rate at which fat is burned.

As with all other types of green tea, gunpowder green tea is also known to aid in proper digestion. Its plentiful antioxidants have reduced inflammation in people suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. People who do not have these types of diseases, though, have also benefited from the digestive properties of gunpowder tea because it lessens indigestion and other uncomfortable stomach ailments.

Finally, gunpowder green tea can be used to prevent type II diabetes. It helps improve the body’s tolerance to glucose and increases insulin sensibility. Lowering the cholesterol and triglyceride levels also help keep diabetes at bay in people who tend to develop the disease later in life or as a result of obesity.


Gunpowder green tea must be prepared properly to get the full flavor of the tea. A vessel large enough to accommodate the leaves as they unfurl in the water is required. These delicate leaves should not be crammed in a teabag or metal ball, as they will not completely open, leaving many of the health properties behind. Many people enjoy watching these leaves expand as they brew, so a clear teapot is a great option.

The makers of Numi Gunpowder Green Tea recommend using one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six-to-eight ounces of water. Don’t put too much tea in because they are powerful and will end up filling the entire teapot by the time the pellets completely unroll. The water should be brought to boiling, and then cooled off to between 175 and 185 degrees. Once the water reaches the appropriate temperature, add the leaves to the water and allow it to steep for two minutes. Of course, those who prefer a stronger flavor can steep the leaves for significantly longer.

Top 7 Gunpowder Green Teas

Many tea companies offer gunpowder green tea as one of their products. Here is a list of the top seven gunpowder teas that are all full of flavor and popular among consumers.

  1. Ten Ren Gunpowder Green Tea – This tea is tightly rolled, with shimmery pellets, making it one of the top gunpowder teas available on the market. When brewed, it offers a strong roasted flavor with a lingering nutty aftertaste.
  2. Numi Gunpowder Green – Numi only uses leaves that have been steamed and tightly rolled into small pellets. The resulting tea is full-bodied and well-rounded due to the slow release of flavor when the pellets unfurl during steeping.
  3. Twinings Gunpowder Green Tea – Packaged in an attractive green and gold tin, this loose leaf gunpowder tea boasts a rich blend reminiscent of the Orient. Its fragrance is boldly aromatic, making it an excellent choice for any time of the day.
  4. Davidson’s Gunpowder Green – This organic green tea is sold in one-pound bags of loose leaf, tightly rolled pellets. It features a deep flavor that is described as slightly earthy and deliciously refined.
  5. Temple of Heaven Special Gunpowder Green Tea – This brand only uses older tea leaves which result in a dark golden liquid with a pungent aroma and strong aftertaste. Rolled in tight pellets, this tea is described as a very delicious tea at a great price.
  6. Starwest Botanicals Gunpowder Green Organic Tea – This kosher-certified tea is rolled a little less tightly than other brands, meaning the flavor is not as strong since some of it has escaped before the pellets could be unfurled. This brand is recommended for drinkers who prefer their tea a little milder than most gunpowder teas tend to be.
  7. Harney & Sons Gunpowder Green – Perfect for tea drinkers who prefer a roasted flavor to their tea rather than a grassy flavor, this tea is described as having a charred, sharp taste. Of all the gunpowder green tea available on the market, this one is most similar to that served in Chinese restaurants.

Gunpowder green tea is not for everyone. People who do not like strong teas will probably not like gunpowder tea. However, to get the numerous health benefits offered by this tea, some people mix it into sweeter varieties of tea to lessen the sharpness of the flavor. People wondering, “What is gunpowder green tea” really have to drink it themselves to understand the flavor. It is popular in parts of the world where tea is a staple, including China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. While it is catching on with tea connoisseurs in the western world, it is still a variety that takes some getting used to.

Gunpowder tea serves as an excellent “wake up” tea in the mornings, since its bold flavor will not allow the drinker to feel tired. Many tea drinkers in the United States like to drink this tea during their commute so they are on the top of their game when they get to work. No matter when it is consumed, though, tea lovers will respect the quality of this very unique tea.