Gunpowder Teas

I'm new to this forum, and have a few questions about teas as I just
discovered how much I like green tea (Black tea upsets my stomach, and was
all I had ever tried before recently). I don't know what the proper
etiquette for introducing myself is, but I'm greedy so I'll just start
with my question :)
I recently went to an asian market where I live and was trying to find
types of gunpowder tea as I purchased some "Pinhead Gunpowder" online and
wanted to get a sample of what I'd be receiving. Unfortunately I have
more questions now than before. The store had what appeared to be three
types of green tea from the same brand, and was priced at 7 dollars for
a half pound. They also had some stuff that was around 4.80 a pound
called "Extra Gunpowder Green Tea"
The three more expensive types were all beautifully decorated in a tall
squarish-octogon box. I believe they are all gunpowder tea, but it does
not say on the box. The person working at the store explained to me
that one was original and the others were tea for females and tea for
males. I'm not sure exactly what that means. What would the difference be
exactly? Just taste? She was unable to elaborate.
I purchased the tea for females thinking my wife might enjoy it. The
leaves unroll in the cup into whole evenly colored green leaves and has a
delicate flowery taste. They smell very earthy before brewing. Also,
I purchased the FooJoy Extra Gunpowder Green Tea. It smells very fruity
and It's leaves are not whole when they unwrap and they have uneven
color. They also don't completely unwrap, it kind of reminds me of Oolong
I've seen people at work drink. Also quite a bit of sediment is left in
the cup and it brews a darker cup of tea with a pretty strong taste.
Can somebody explain the differences between these teas, or possibly
give me a link to a green tea compendium. (and hopefully tell me what it
was I purchased)
Thanks in advance!
Reply to
S. Chancello
sounds like Chinese superstition to me.
Keep in mind that gunpowder teas can be the strongest of the greens and are very sensitive to steep time and amount of tea in the pot. Too much of either and you will have a very astringent, harsh tasting brew. For this reason many people do not like it. I like it but have had to pour out plenty of pots because I got the steep time/amount wrong. Gunpowder is the hardest tea to get "right" in steeping. Do not judge all greens by gunpowder because it's very different from most.
Reply to
Barky Bark
That is very interesting. Are there other teas in which one should throw out the 1st infusion?
Reply to
Hi. A sweetner doesn't remove astringency, but I find that it masks it somewhat. I take it that you don't add a bit of sweetener to your brews. Is that why astringency is unpalatable to you?
Reply to
Ahh. Well I think she was also implying that the three more expensive teas came from different regions of china, but were all just green tea. Then again, she also told me Oolong was good for old people though... Soo... But mainly my question was why is there so much difference between what I bought, and what exactly is "Extra Gunpowder" tea versus just Gunpowder? Also, If it's rolled into little beads does that mean it's gunpowder even if it doesn't say on it? I had a real hard time finding any information. Thanks
Reply to
S. Chancello
Gunpowder is always the first green tea most people jump into but probably not the best introduction. (which I find funny because I would think the name alone would cause people to stay away :) Gunpowder as has been said can be a bit complex and demanding to perfect, and the taste is not really indicitive of all greens. It is not one of my favorites even when expertly brewed.
I prefer Sencha, it has a grassy look and produces a light green cup with a slightly grassy or even sometimes "fishy" smell/taste. I know, that really sold you on it, right? But it is actually very good. A few years back I found a Strawberry Sencha which is all natural and has small chunks of dried strawberry which is amazing. I thought it would be interesting but not much more, and boy was I wrong, it is now a major favorite. My other daily favorite is Jasmine Green Tea Pearls, small "balls" that unfurl as whole leaves and to me are one of the greatest teas of all time. White Monkey is also very good (and actually a green tea).
Reply to
I just bought some bancha from an Asian market and I noticed the same "fishy" smell. What is that? It almost reminds me of sushi nori more than fish. The oolong I bought also has that vibe.
Reply to
I actually used to refer to some very high quality green tea that was given to me by a friend as the "fish tea." The strange thing is that that "fishy" taste actually is just experienced when you are new to it, it eventually turns into a true taste of the tea and not fishy at all. What I think the taste and smell actually is is the young and grassy nature of certain green teas and it is actually the fresh grass smell that you interperet as fishy.
Now, I crave that taste and smell as it is much different to me now than years back. Oolong teas also are younger in terms of fermentation times and can also carry this quality as well. Eventually you begin to enjoy this characteristic and it does not seem "fishy" any more.
Reply to
Dominic T.
My Se Chung Special Oolong from Wild Oats has a bit of this as well ... I think it must be the tlavor described by Tao of Tea as "oceanic". And it also reminds me more of nori than of fish.
stePH in cup: dragonwell and sencha from Limbo
Reply to
I thought pearl tea is gunpowder tea? Is it possible that this other box isn't gunpowder that I have? They're both rolled into balls but one is whole leaves and the other isn't.
Reply to
S. Chancello
That's the amino acids, glutamic ones, to be exact. Japanese tea has this in spades. It's source of that elusive "umami" flavor, you know. Although it is present in nori, these amino acids are in greater abundance in konbu seaweed, which is why it is used as a base ingredient in Japan's basic cooking stock, dashi.
Reply to
S. Chancellor writes:
"Pearl tea" is the literal translation for what gunpowder is called in Chinese.
Reply to
Lewis Perin
"That's the amino acids, glutamic ones, to be exact. Japanese tea has this in spades."
I find it is particularly present in Gyokuro. At first I didn't care for it, but now I crave it!
Reply to
Hi Steve. Been a while since I had a gunpowder green; finished a carton of Numi gunpowder over the period of about 2-3 weeks early last year. Never tried pinhead gunpowder, but since its leaves are small and young I would assume that it's flavor should be relatively low in astringency.
I can understand why someone would discard the first steep of tea if it contained too much of something that later steeps wouldn't contain. It sounds like you do the 2nd steeping of pinhead for improving flavor, instead of reducing caffeine. So can you describe what's in the first steep of pinhead that's unpalatable?
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