Ingredients From: Taiwan
Region(s): Taipei County
Grade Composition: SFG (Special Formosa Gunpowder)
Growing Altitude(s): 1500 – 2500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type(s): Non fermented, Traditional process, Small batch crafted
Infusion: Tending dark green
Luxury Ingredients: Green tea
Caffeine Content: Low
Legend has it that the name Gunpowder was given by a young English clerk who thought the tiny rolled green balls looked like gunpowder. The tealeaves 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: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz / 200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Iced tea brewing method (Pitcher): (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea or 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the tea or removing the tea bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
Iced tea brewing method (Individual Serving): Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea or 1 tea bag into a teapot for each serving required. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 6-7oz/170-200ml per serving over the tea. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the tea or removing the bags. Not all of the tea will fit, allowing for approximately an additional ½ serving. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)
ANTIOXIDANT BENEFIT: More antioxidants are extracted from tea (L. Camellia Sinesis), or rooibos (Asphalatus Linearis), the longer it is brewed….and the more tea or rooibos that is used, the greater the antioxidant benefit.
Ideal Brewing Temperature: 85ºC/185ºF. For Food Safety reasons bring water to 100ºC/212ºF and let it cool down to 85ºC/185ºF.