Having a Blast with 3 Gunpowder Teas!

A sample of a new gunpowder tea arrived for us to evaluate, and it only seemed fitting to have that tea go side by side with a couple of others we had on hand. Sometimes that’s the best way to tell the true quality (or lack thereof) of a tea.

During the past almost six years now I’ve learned a lot about tea (but in no way would call myself an expert). And one lesson is that you can tell the quality from a photo… or can you? There was quite a difference in the dry tea between the three tested. The sample I was sent (on the left in the photo below) had “pellets” (tightly rolled leaves) that were larger and lighter colored than the other two. At first I thought this was a bad sign but hubby and I soldiered on (we gave Little Yellow Teapot the night off for that weekly card game with the rest of the Tea Gang). The key is to use water heated to about 160-170°F and steep about 2-3 minutes (a slightly longer time is good for those pellets to open).


The big surprise was that the sample pellets opened more fully than the others. Whether this would mean a bitter flavor or something overly strong we were eager to find out. But first a look at the liquid in the cups (in the same order as the dry teas above).


Not sure if you can tell, but each one had little bits of tea leaf matter in them. The sample (#1) was a little lighter in color. #3 had the smallest leaf bits. Time to taste. Sip……slurp…… hmmm…… #1 was smooth, not bitter, very pleasant for a gunpowder style green tea (which are usually meant to be a daily drinking tea and therefore not considered top quality). #2 was thin, watery, a bit edgy, definitely bitter, and a bit dirty tasting. #3 (the most expensive of the three) was only marginally better than #2 and not nearly as good as that sample (#1). I’m sure their price will be the best of the lot, also.

It pays to compare!

Disclaimer: some items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.

© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text


3 thoughts on “Having a Blast with 3 Gunpowder Teas!”

  1. Yesterday I made a “refexion” about infusion times with two Gunpowders ( https://www.facebook.com/435170866640259/photos/a.436622236495122.1073741828.435170866640259/478860362271309/?type=1&theater ) . With this tea the better the tea – and this normally goes togheter with the tighness of the balls, the shorter the time you need to get a good non bitter result… and you need to first “rinse it” if you want to have a non watery tea. Maybe, only maybe, you need to give them a second chance


    1. The point of my article here is that the typical customer buying these 3 teas will prepare them pretty much as I did and get those results. For 5.5 yrs I have been careful to prepare teas that way when reviewing them (that is, the way a typical customer would). Most of my compatriots will not take time to rinse (and my views on rinsing were expressed in an article from Aug 2013 as a waste of good water). The sample from JAS-eTea.com is superior in that way. His customers here in the US will not have to fuss with that extra step, and my experience is that most will not even bother with rinsing. In fact, most folks here don’t bother to get the water the right temperature. They use boiling water all the time and let it go at that. The Kusmi tea is awful and overpriced, always has been. They go for flashy packaging instead of a quality product. The Temple of Heaven is fine if you are just wanting green tea and your tastebuds aren’t too picky. But the JAS-eTea.com sample was fabulous and will certainly be the one I go for. As for giving those teas a second chance, both the Kusmi and the Temple of Heaven have had multiple chances and so far with the same results. I always tinker and try teas infused different ways, hoping to improve the results. Sometimes the tea is just plain bad (and that Kusmi tea certainly fits in that category). Thanks for reading and best wishes!


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