I requested a sample of this with a recent order I placed with TeaVivre. I’ve been meaning to branch out and try some more greens (my stash primarily consists of black, oolong, and pu’er teas at the moment), and this seemed to be one of the basic green teas I haven’t tried until now.
One of the first things I’d heard about gunpowder was that it had a slightly smoky aroma, which gave rise to its name. I was a little sceptical of that (the etymology, not the taste), since lapsang souchong is probably known as the smoky tea, so it would make more sense to me if that was called gunpowder if the name was just based on flavour. So, I did a quick Wikipedia search, which yielded some unsatisfactory (read: uncited) results. Basically, other origins for the name could be from the appearance and how its unfurling sort of ‘explodes’ when brewed, or it could be from the Mandarin phrase for “freshly brewed”. The most reasonable etymology to me seems to be the one regarding its appearance, but I’ll have to continue looking into that.
Anyway, I wound up drinking the entire cup while looking up the etymology of gunpowder tea and so I don’t have any specific notes on it. Oops. I do remember thinking that it did have the slightest hint of smokiness in the background, along with a bit of astringency and a light vegetal sweetness.
I’m on my second steep now, and the smokiness is gone, as is the astringency. Very smooth cup. The sweetness seems to be more prominent. Might not be an everyday cup for me, but I’d definitely get some more sample sizes from different companies to see the variation in this type of tea, since it does seem like a nice tea. Thanks for the sample, TeaVivre!