Gunpowder tea, traditionally made using green tea, is named for the fact that its
visual appearance resembles that of gunpowder. The tea leaves are specially selected for quality, size, and style so
that they can be rolled into very small, tight pellets. Temple of Heaven Gunpowder
called Pinhead) comes from the Zhejiang province of China and is the highest grade gunpowder available. The leaves
for this tea are only plucked during April and May when the quality of the green
leaf is at its highest. The leaves are then steamed and tightly rolled in a time-honored
process. Gunpowder tea keeps for much longer than other green teas
and is favored because of this characteristic.
When preparing this tea, part of the ritual is to take a pinch of the gunpowder
and drop it into a porcelain cup to hear the jingle and tinkle of the leaves hitting
the sides. Boiling water causes them to open up like flowers and sink slowly to the
bottom in graceful patterns, which adds dimension of visual pleasure to drinking
this tea. The gunpowder produces a smooth and light cup with a distinct smokiness.
Because gunpowder is more dense than other tea, less of it is required when brewing.
Use half of a teaspoon per cup and steep 1-2 minute in steaming water.
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