Temple of Heaven Gunpowder

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
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185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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30 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Tasting note no. 666. Cue Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEllLECo4OM (The spooky Omen music starts at about 1:48 but you can knock yourself out and listen to the whole...” Read full tasting note
  • “I’ve had the rest of this sample just sitting around and dangit! I need to get rid of some of my drips and drabs again (still). So off we go! Second verse, pretty much same as the first. I kind...” Read full tasting note
  • “So this is my first gunpowder tea experience, I have to say, I’m not all that impressed. Right from the get-go, the smell of the leaves, I smelled a strong almost burnt green smell, it reminded me...” Read full tasting note
  • “This one really looks and smells great. Kinda sad to see the ratings it got before me. But I yet have to try it. Maybe I’ll like it more… I’ve used just a half of the sampler to make it. Color is...” Read full tasting note

From Golden Moon Tea

Our Temple of Heaven Gunpowder is slightly smoky on the palate with a lingering sweetness. We start with young and delicate leaves, which are then crafted into tiny pearls. As they steep, they gently open, producing a lovely golden-green cup.

The impeccable craftsmanship of these evenly rolled leaves is well beyond any gunpowder we have seen. Delicious and beneficial to health, this is a must for any green loose leaf tea lover.

About Golden Moon Tea View company

Golden Moon is dedicated to offering outstanding, whole-leaf teas of the greatest quality and finesse. All Golden Moon Teas are hand-plucked and meticulously crafted to enhance leaf character, aroma, color, clarity, body, complexity, and above all, flavor.

30 Tasting Notes

187 tasting notes

Well, this one is actually really interesting, and I’m sitting here puzzled, scratching my head.

When I opened up the Golden Moon packet, it instantly smelled of gunpowder. That earthy, smokey, Rome-burning smell that I absolutely adore. I believe that Temple of Heaven is a higher grade of gunpowder, and let me tell you, the dry leaf was absolutely beautiful. Tiny little blue-green pearls. Way tinier than Adagio’s, and smooth and silky to the touch. So pretty!

So I dumped a level teaspoon into my IngenuiTEA and watched as the fireworks happen. This one’s pretty bombastic in the pot. It start with little bubbles, and then, within a matter of seconds after the hot water hitting the leaves, they start unfurling and writhing and wriggling like they’re dirty dancing.

In the cup, this one’s a honey hue, with a smell that can only be described as smokey gunpowder. So I lift my mouth to the cup and.. hrm. The smoke on this one is definitely lighter than Adagio’s blend. It actually is more seamlessly “one” with the tea flavors than a simple overlay of flavor. And while I enjoy that aspect of it, I wanted the smoke to come out a bit more assertive.

Then the oddity began. I’m picking up that mineral-like flavor and mouthfeel that I got from Rishi’s Jade Fire! The astringency is leaving my mouth dry, and there’s almost a briny component that I didn’t expect. As the cup cooled down, this element faded into the background (although there was still a high component of astringency), and the delicate smoke flavors became the prime focus. There’s a sweet green aftertaste that is really pleasant, but it’s almost a bit too mild.

In fact, I think overall the cup is too delicate for my tastes, and it falls into this bizarre crack. Gunpowder really isn’t a delicate flavor, so it’s strange to have it come across as a wisp of smoke instead of a cloud. Add to that the mineral/brine/weird taste that came with Rishi’s Jade Fire (which is another rolled tea, by the way, but it doesn’t have the smoke of a gunpowder) and you have me perplexed. It’s like if Adagio’s Gunpowder and Rishi’s Jade Fire decided to have a baby and the genetics got mixed up along the way.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

So, apparently I wrote something but didn’t submit it. Oops. And now I can’t remember what I said… Something along the lines of yay mixed tea babies! If only they would all be as decent as my Assam/Yunnan + Darjeeling love child from this morning. And maybe all ‘higher’ quality Gunpowders just have that mineral/salty taste because I think that’s what Jade Fire is supposed to be, or something like it.

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409 tasting notes

Golden Moon sample #3/31
Smells smoky and green, looks yellowish-green (olive), tastes smoky and green. Richer and less vegetal than most greens I’ve had, but also somewhat dry and dusty tasting, even on a second steep. This is alright, and I’ll steep as long as the leaves last, but I probably wouldn’t buy more

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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564 tasting notes

Another sipdown. I have 11 of these Golden Moon samples left. I actually tried to brew this one up last night, but the Lapsang Souchong was so strong that it tainted the strainer and messed up the first cup. I had to (literally) scrub the strainer in water as hot as I could stand with mild soap. I also had to get a new mug.

This one is certainly no “golden-green cup”—it’s goldish brown like a black tea would be. In the bag it almost smelled like the Lapsang, but luckily brewed up it smells like the gunpowder tea I’ve had before. Sadly the taste is too smoky for me. I don’t notice anything aside from the green, smoky flavor. It doesn’t change at all—there’s no layers, no aftertaste, nothing. Another disappointing cup.

ETA: It cooled down by about 10 degrees and now it is so incredibly bitter I can’t drink it! Ugh. I didn’t oversteep, either.

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215 tasting notes

Having had a better experience than many of my cohorts with this tea, I’ll offer some ideas which might have made the difference. 195F or 200F is too hot for this tea. And it’s so easy to use too much of this tea … consider how dense the dry tea is … probably twice as dense as a non-rolled green leaf. I didn’t weigh it, but I’d guess that a half or 3/4 of a teaspoon of tea would be plenty (2 grams) per each 6oz water. I made a 12oz mug using less than a teaspoon of tea.

Another tip is to pour the water down the side of the steeping vessel, rather directly on the tea … or at least try to pour gently. Pinhead gunpowder is usually made from smaller and more tender leaves than regular gunpowder, and thus is somewhat delicate, like a Japanese green. Also, do not put a lid on while steeping, especially not the first steep … try that with your fussy green teas. It may help.

Green is my least favorite tea type, so I won’t be buying. But when writing these notes, I try to stay objective and be a judge of the tea’s quality, compared to others of it’s type. I’ve had one pinhead gunpowder before this one, and a couple of the regular. The pinheads have been more subtle in both cases than the regular (4-5 mm size).

So, on to this evaluation. Tiny (about 2-3mm) nuggets of shiny, dark green tea — truly a pinhead gunpowder tea. The liquor from them was a clear, radiant gold, and the oft-noted wisp of smokiness was there, too, in the scent and flavor. Thus, gunpowder tends earthier, to me, than a more floral green, like a mao feng. It presented practically nothing in the way of astringency or bitterness to distract me from it’s herbaceous greenness. A bit of artichoke, I think, not particularly sweet or grassy, but nicely juicy. Steeping in a glass mug with glass infuser may have helped preserve it’s pure nature. The second steep at 3 min had more body and wetness than the first, with equal strength. As I finished it, up popped the sun, and voila, it was Thursday!

EDIT: Okay, I went and weighed the tea. A rounded teaspoon is 3.5gm, which is about 50% more tea than needed for 6oz. So it’s not twice as dense … only one and a half times. If a person were to use 2 tsp for a 12oz mug, they would have used enough tea for a 21oz pot.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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197 tasting notes

Not my favorite gunpowder, my “Scoop up what looks good in the Asian Market” Camel brand is still my favorite, but I like it. I like the tiny whiff of smoke and the slight bitterness and it doesn’t taste fishy or seaweedy. There’s also the barest hint of asparagus in the taste.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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247 tasting notes

yesterday’s grab bag special…and my first official “gunpowder” tea. I had no idea what to expect, but from the looks, I guessed green tea. I ended up a little over steeped, so tea had that sharp, astringent bite that they all get when overdone. Immediately thinned with some hot water and it was a pleasant tea to drink. I think I got what I suspected; the tea had massive green leafy vegetables taste, like spinach or kale. Not a problem, as I like greens, but not expected to be that “in your face” bold.
The tea was a greenish amber in the carafe (I have a clear pyrex carafe for tea) with little fines floating around. I did not get a smokey flavor as suggested by GM writeup. Finished a full 12 oz mug, but declined to resteep. I’d drink this again, but not one that I’ll likely go out of my way to get more of.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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59 tasting notes

I’ve never had gunpowder tea before but the description on the packet sounded great. I really like smokey black teas so I thought this had potential…

The dry tea smelt like burnt green tea leafs to me. After steeping, the tea smelt more like cigarette smoke then the smoke of a fire. (By the way, cigarette smoke is one of the worst smells in the world to me). So, now I’m hoping that the taste is spectacular or I’m not going to have time to brew more tea to take to work with me today.

Oh! As I’ve typed this the tea has cooled a bit and the smell now has more of a green tea scent. There is hope! Ok, not great but the tea tastes of a green tea with bitter aftertaste. It’s not the bitter I’m use to though, a different one.

So this isn’t great and I wouldn’t buy it but I don’t have to dump it at least.

2 min, 30 sec

The one tea I have is gunpowder tea. I’m so amused by it.

Cigarette smoke? ew.

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1627 tasting notes


Meh… I brought this to work with me as well. I used my Libre mug. I wasn’t very impressed with this gunpowder. It was very bitter and had a strange aftertaste to it that I can’t seem to describe. It is smoky in taste and green. I’ve had better gunpowder teas.

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301 tasting notes

This is my first experience with gunpowder. It’s such small little pellets of tea. It has a smokiness I’m not much a fan of. I brewed it for an iced tea. It was too smoky for me, even though it’s very little. This would probably more for hot tea, not so good iced. I don’t like smoky teas to drink iced. It isn’t refreshing to me. I don’t think I would like this warm either.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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69 tasting notes

The golden yellow liquor smells roasty and faintly of licorice. The taste is mildly smokey, sweet with an ashy finish. There is a green vegetable/melon aftertaste. Moderate astringency and a bit of bitterness.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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