Friday, April 29, 2011

Gunpowder Tea...

...we did make a quick trip to Grand Forks last week...Scout's braces were tightened for the first time and he got this chain of rubber bands put on as well...he was pretty sore for a few days but he's all better now...we ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant...they have vegan beans and lots of other vegan options...Scout was bummed because he couldn't eat the chips...I would be too - I think it's my favorite part of the meal...Nah!

...anywhooo...of course we went to the natural food store while we were there...and Scout was intrigued by a bulk jar of 'Gunpowder Tea' we bought the tiniest little was outrageously expensive... apparently gets its name simply because they thought it looked like black powder grains - it has nothing to do with the flavor of the tea...

Gunpowder tea (珠茶; pinyin: zhū chá) is a form of green Chinese tea produced in Zhejiang Province of China in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea (the most commonly encountered variety outside China) or Oolong tea.

Gunpowder tea production dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907) but it was first introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century. Gunpowder tea leaves are withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried. Although the individual leaves were formerly rolled by hand, today most gunpowder tea is rolled by machines (though the highest grades are still rolled by hand). Rolling renders the leaves less susceptible to physical damage and breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma. In addition, it allows certain types of oolong teas to be aged for decades if they are cared for by being occasionally roasted.

When buying gunpowder tea it is important to look for shiny pellets, which indicate that the tea is relatively fresh. Pellet size is also associated with quality, larger pellets being considered a mark of lower quality tea. High quality gunpowder tea will have small, tightly rolled pellets. we brewed some up...

...and watched the little leaf pellets uncurl...

...don'cha jus' luv my sweet little tea cup that my sweet sister brought back from China for me...sisters ROCK!...

...I love it's little lid/topper that keeps the tea nice and warm while you sip...the tea, by the way, is delicious... other news...we got some organic fresh veg while we were there chard...collards...and green beans...and some staples too...except for the drive - I'm kinda liking this bi-monthly trip for stocking up on goodies...


  1. You are right: sister's rock! My sister sent my a tea cup when she was living in Belgium; it's my favorite cup. The tea looks interesting. There is a lovely tea shop in Charleston, SC that I need to visit and see if they carry Gunpowder tea.

  2. I love gunpowder tea, the way the pellets uncurl into leaves!

    It's all very exciting here as it's the royal wedding. I do enjoy the pomp and ceremony. Even the kiss on the balcony of the palace was first done in the 1600's (no palace then though!)

  3. I love those types of tea cups and the gunpowder tea is quite fascinating!

  4. I've never had gunpowder tea, looks like a great treat!

  5. Always fun to bring back goodies from the natural food store. Gorgeous cup!