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Gunpowder Tea

Added/Modified on July 25, 2016

Also Known As: pearl tea, bead tea, zhu cha

Gunpowder tea is harvested and produced in China’s Zhejiang Province. Each tea leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet.

The tea gets its English name because it resembles black powder grains. This method for shaping the tea by rolling is usually applied to dried green tea, but sometimes the tea is Oolong.

Production of this tea dates to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The highest grades are still rolled by hand, while the lower grades are rolled by machine.

The tea is rolled to make the leaves less likely to break or be damaged so they maintain more of their aroma and flavor.

In addition, some Oolongs can be aged for decades using this manner, if they are roasted occasionally.

Brewed gunpowder tea flavor is noted to be thick and strong. Much like soft honey, yet with a smoky flavor and a slightly coppery aftertaste.

The tea is often described as having a somewhat grassy, minty, or peppery flavor.

What is Gunpowder Tea? Gunpowder Tea is generally made from green tea leaves that have been grown, withered, steamed, rolled and dried to preserve the freshness of the leave.

High-grade tea will have very small and tightly-rolled pellets, the larger the pellets, the lower the tea grade. It is important to note that if the tea is fresh, the pellets will be shiny.

Gunpowder Tea Preparation:
◦Start with 1 tsp. of gunpowder tea to every 5 ounces of water, and increase or decrease to taste.
◦The cup or tea pot should be warmed before using. The best water temperature to use for brewing this tea is between 70-80° C, or 158- 176° F.
◦For the first and second brewing, the leaves should be steeped for one minute. With subsequent brewing the steeping time should be extended.
◦Milk should not be added to gunpowder tea.

Benefits of Gunpowder Tea:

Green leaf gunpowder tea is used to treat digestive ailments and indigestion. It has mild astringent qualities and shares all of the antioxidant properties that are specific to green tea.

Antioxidants are important in the treatment of many different types of ailments, such as cancer. Green tea is also used to treat high blood pressure, and may be effective in the improvement of mental clarity and functioning.

It is also believed to be effective in the treatment of tooth decay, in use as a diuretic, and to aid in weight loss.

Research has supported the use of green tea in lowering cholesterol. One study found, “240 adults were given either theaflavin-enriched green tea extract or a placebo in a clinical trial.

After 12 weeks, patients in the tea extract group have significantly lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) then the placebo group.

Theaflavin-enriched green tea extract can be used together with other dietary approaches to reduce LDL-C.”

Side Effects of Gunpowder Tea:

The side effects of Gunpowder Tea are the same as all green tea side effects. These can be nausea and stomach upset.

The caffeine in green tea can cause insomnia, nervousness, or irritability. Liver toxicity has been associated with green tea.

It is important to note that Green tea can reduce the absorption of iron. If you take iron supplements, green tea should be taken either two hours before or four hours after taking an iron supplement.

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