It seems like it has been forever since I have reviewed a Chinese gunpowder green tea. I used to love teas like this when I was a little younger and still have something of a soft spot for them. When I want a green tea to just throw back and not think all that much about, gunpowder green tea is normally one of the first teas I seek out. This one, however, did not do all that much for me. In looking over the other reviews for this tea, you’ll notice that my opinion of this tea most definitely marks me as an outlier. I just do not get the high ratings for this one.
Though I normally brew gunpowder green teas in the Western style, I opted to gongfu this one. After a brief rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea pellets emitted vague aromas of grass, hay, lemon, and roasted vegetables. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of cooked spinach and seaweed. The first infusion then brought out hints of smoke and straw on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up notes of smoke, hay, grass, cooked spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled lemon, and seaweed. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of charcoal, roasted carrot, wood, minerals, earth, broccoli, and cooked cabbage. The later infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, charcoal, earth, smoke, and hay with fleeting hints of seaweed and cooked cabbage occasionally noticeable in the background.
I know that Teavivre lists this as their basic, introductory gunpowder green tea, and it may seem that I am being more than a bit hard on it, but here’s the deal: despite offering a lot of flavor, I did not find this to be all that good of a gunpowder green tea. Once the leaf pellets unfurled, it was obvious that this tea was mostly grit and chop. Each infusion was murky and chalky, leaving a persistently dusty, musty feeling in my mouth. The tea was surprisingly astringent too, though it thankfully never turned bitter. While gunpowder green teas are almost certainly never going to be super high end, this one was decidedly lower in quality than I was expecting. Clearly other reviewers liked this tea, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt, but I do maintain that there are better gunpowder green teas out there.
Flavors: Broccoli, Char, Earth, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Roasted, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood