The Chinese have a funny habit of giving fantastical names to their most common products… like “Temple of Heaven” Gunpowder Green Tea, which may also be called “Pingshui” after the village that first exported a similar hand-rolled and pan-fried premium green tea, or sometimes “Pinhead” (like the one we had previously carried).
This classical green tea is very similar to the last, comparatively a little more mild, warm and sweet, but still that same time-honored Pingshui flavor profile. Abundant and robust, with sweet slightly smoky aroma and strong almond tones followed by bamboo and grapefruit, its slightly less powerful yet still very crisp astringency lingers with subtle melon and apple notes long after each sip.
An exemplary traditional tea, Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green comes from Zhejiang Province and it is savored all around the world. Artfully stir-fried Pingshui teas are considered the original “gunpowder” teas and are highly revered for their lengthy labor-intensive processing and traditionally rich savory taste. The Chinese term is actually “zhu cha,” meaning “pearl tea,” but of course the English are pretty good at coming up with weird names too… they labeled these types of tea “gunpowder” because it was thought that the tiny tightly rolled pellets resembled old-fashioned gunpowder granules.
Leaves are attractive, olive colored and slightly shiny, very small and dense pellets indicating exceptional quality. You will enjoy steeping this tea in glass – it is mesmerizing to watch the leaves uncurl and float, then gradually sink again, dancing as the liquor rapidly turns a warm bronze color.
We recommend that you steep gunpowder green teas for only 2 minutes, or the astringency begins to get a little overpowering. Or you may enjoy this zesty and distinctive, potent yet subtly nuanced tea even better in the traditional Chinese way – a series of small cups steeped first for 30 seconds, then an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent re-steeping. Enjoy 5 or more small cups, noting the change in aroma and flavor profile as the tiny leaves unfurl and infuse little by little.
Steeping Time – 2 Minutes
Water Temp – 180 F
Small pellets of green tea.