Tightly rolled green tea with a bittersweet and slightly smoky character.
Gunpowder tea gets its name from the characteristics of the leaves, which are rolled into small, greyish-green pellets resembling old-fashioned gunpowder. The appearance is important, in that the small, tightly rolled leaves of the top grades have much more flavor than the more irregular, open roll of the lower grades. Gunpowder is a highly processed tea, with long periods of rolling followed by extensive grading for size, shape, and density. The best organic lots come from eastern China, and have a full body, pungent flavor, and slightly smoky aroma.