China Black Gunpowder (Black Pearls)
Gunpowder tea, traditionally made using green tea, is named for the fact that its visual appearance resembles that of gunpowder. The tea leaves are specially selected for quality, size, and style so that they can be rolled into very small, tight pellets. China Black Gunpowder Tea is made with black tea instead of green tea, which just means that the leaves were allowed to oxidize and ferment before they were rolled and dried. This tea (also called “Black Pearls”) comes from the eastern parts of the Fujian Province of China. Gunpowder tea usually keeps for much longer than other tea and is favored because of this characteristic.
When preparing this tea, part of the ritual is to take a pinch of the gunpowder tea and drop it into a porcelain cup to 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 adds a dimension of visual pleasure to drinking this tea. The gunpowder tea produces a nice dark green infusion and a pleasantly aromatic, slightly smoky, full-bodied taste. Because gunpowder tea is more dense than other tea, less of it is required when brewing. Use half of a teaspoon per cup and steep 3-5 minutes in freshly boiled water.