HEALTH PROPERTIES: Very high in anti-oxidants
CAFFEINE LEVELS: Low
TEA SOURCING: Taiwan, Taipei County.
INGREDIENTS: Green Tea
ETHICS: Ethical Tea Partnership and GMO free
THE STORY OF GUNPOWDER FORMOSA
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. Gunpowder tea was dumped into the harbor at the Boston Tea Party.
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.
BREWING INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOT TEA: Infuse one slightly heaping teaspoon for each 8 ounce cup with water brought to a rolling boil (80-85 Celcius)for 3-7 minutes.
Infuse 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of tea with 1 1/4 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water, and add the infused tea, straining the leaves, to the pitcher. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Add lemon and sweeten to taste. 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.
Infuse 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea with 6 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the tea to a 12 ounce glass, filled with ice, straining the leaves. Add hot tea to a 12oz/375ml acrylic glass filled with ice, straining the tea or removing the bags. Add lemon and sweeten to taste.
NUMBER OF CUPS: 15-20 cups from each 50 grams of tea, with a single use of the leaves. Loose leaf tea is traditionally infused 3 times, with a different flavor profile following each infusion. Accordingly, each 50 gram bag can make up to 60 cups of tea.