- Gunpowder tea
Tea_name = Gunpowder
Tea_type = Green
Tea_color = Green
| Tea_origin = Zhejiang Province
Chinaand others | Tea_names = Lo Chu Ch’a, Zhu Cha, 珠茶
Tea_quick = Popular worldwide. Flavor varies according to the growing location of tea used for production
Gunpowder tea (;
pinyin: zhū chá) is a form of green Chinese teaproduced in Zhejiang Province of Chinain 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 gunpowderpellets used for cannons (see Etymology). 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 Taiwanin the 1800s. 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 tea leaves into gunpowder tea renders the leaves less susceptible to physical damage 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.
When sold as a variety of tea, Gunpowder tea has several varieties:
*Pingshui Gunpowder (平水珠茶) : The original and most common variety of Gunpowder tea with larger pearls, better color, and a more aromatic infusion, which is commonly sold as "Temple of Heaven Gunpowder" or "Pinhead Gunpowder", the former, a common brand of this tea varietycite web |author= |accessdate=2006-12-12 |date=| title="平水珠茶" | url=http://www.sx.gov.cn:82/gate/big5/www.sx.gov.cn/portal/articletemplate/ly_display.jsp?article_id=20050415000784 | work= ] .
*Formosa Gunpowder : A Gunpowder style tea grown in
Taiwannear Keelung, it is claimed to have its own characteristic aroma, different from that of Zhejiang Province Gunpowder grown in mainland China. Formosa gunpowder teas are typically "fresh" or "roasted" oolongs.
*Ceylon Gunpowder : A Gunpowder variant grown in
Sri Lanka, usually at altitudes exceeding 1,800 metres (6,000 ft), see Green Ceylon teas.
The origin of the English term may come from the Mandarin Chinese term "gāng paò de" (), simply meaning "freshly brewed," which sounds like the English word "gunpowder." More likely, however, the English name derives from the tea's similarity in appearance to actual gunpowder: greyish, dark pellets of irregular shape used as explosive propellant for early guns. The name may also have arisen from the fact that the grey-green leaf is tightly rolled into a tiny pellet and "explodes" into a long leaf upon being steeped in hot water. Another explanation is that the tea also can have a smoky flavor.
Gunpowder tea is exported to the
Maghrebwhere it is used in the preparation of traditional North African mint tea. The Moroccan tea ritual is at the heart of any social gathering, from an informal visit to a neighbour to lavish soirees with dignitaries. A minimum of two cups need to be drunk so as not to offend the host.
* [http://www.yilan.com.tw/html/modules/cjaycontent/index.php?id=526 清新沁凉摩洛哥綠茶]
* [http://www.ndcnc.gov.cn/datalib/2002/Food/DL/DL-167133 平水珠茶]
* [http://tea.ahnw.gov.cn/sdmc/index_new.asp?id=163&qy=qt 峨嵋─珠茶]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.