Posted in Kafevend Blog

Thankfully only bearing a visual resemblance to the explosive grains, gunpowder tea is a type of green tea grown in the Zhejiang province located on the eastern coast of China. The tea derives its name in part from the way the leaves are each rolled to produce a small pellet. The act of rolling the leaves helps to keep the tea fresh, retaining its flavour and aroma, and also helps to physically protect the leaves from damage.

There are a few different reasons for the origin of this tea's peculiar name- feel free to pick your favourite from the following. Perhaps the most believable explanation is the way the tea itself looks- the rolled up leaves form shiny, grey pellets that might be and perhaps were mistaken for actual gunpowder by the merchants trading in this particular tea- it is amusing to think that in a hurry to ward off pirates, tea might have been loaded in to a cannon*. Another explanation is that as the tea is brewing, each leaf unfurls, or 'explodes' open. Finally, there is space for more merry amusement, as it is possible that the term 'gang pao de', translated as 'freshly brewed', was mistaken for meaning gunpowder.

Depthless hilarity aside, Gunpowder tea ( being a green tea) is said to possess a number of health benefits. Early studies have shown some evidence that the tea may help to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer, heart problems and alzheimer's disease, though further studies are really needed to provide conclusive proof.

* Yes, alright, that would never happen, cargo and gunpowder were stored separately- it was still a funny thought. If you are into Mr Bean circa 18th century.

by Kafevend

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