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China Gunpowder 'Temple of Heaven'

Tiny pellets open up in hot water to give a strong, greeny-copper liquer with a sweet and slightly smokey character.

More Info



Legend has it that the name Gunpowder was given by an young English clerk who thought the tiny rolled green balls looked like gunpowder. The tea leaves are specially selected for quality, size and style. They are then rolled into very small tight nuggets. Gunpowder tea keeps a lot longer than other green teas and is favored because of this characteristic. Chinese exporters recommend gunpowder for iced tea flavored with lemon and sugar. Gunpowder tea is also very popular in Morocco where the leaves are boiled and mint and sugar are added..

The leaves for Gunpowder are only plucked during April and May when the quality of the green leaf is at its highest. The leaves are steamed and tightly rolled in a time honored process. When preparing this tea, part of the ritual is to take two pinches of Gunpowder and drop them into a porcelain cup so you 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 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 if you are making a teapot full you only require one or two teaspoons for a teapot.

Chinese researchers have found that gunpowder tea is high in fluoride and known to reduce cavities. They say that a human body requires 1-2 milligrams of fluoride a day. Ten grams of gunpowder tea (enough to make 3 cups of strong tea) can supply this amount.

Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180F or 80C. Place about 1/2 a teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.

Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart) : Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]



Nicholas Coffee Company
23 Market Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
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