- Pin Lin Gunpowder Background
- Gunpowder Preparation
Taiwan is known for producing the world's finest gunpowder teas. Our Pin Lin Gunpowder tea is no exception.
Pin Lin Gunpowder is a truly special tea with a unique flavor. The cup displays notes of smoke and sweet grass, with subtle undertones of burnt honey for a smooth and satisfying cup. A common mistake is to brew gunpowder in water that is too hot and scalding to the mouth. If this is done, many of the subtle layers of character may be lost. Instead, use water that is between 158-175 degrees. This will allow your tongue to properly catalogue the nuances of the tea without searing your taste buds. Pin Lin Gunpowder – a stunning example of a Taiwanese gunpowder tea.
Ingredients: Artisan green tea
Taiwan is known for producing the world's finest gunpowder teas. They should be, they've had a lot of practice – tea plants were first brought to the island over 300 years ago from Fujian province in China. Tea growers recognized that Taiwan had the climactic conditions and topographical features required for producing excellent teas, these being lofty mountain meadows, fresh water and wet humid conditions. In fact, the conditions make it possible for tea bushes in Taiwan to flush 5 times a year from April to December with the best teas plucked from the end of May to mid August. (The flush is a period of exceptional leaf growth.) The exact origin of gunpowder production is unknown but at one time, but before 1900 gunpowders accounted for 60% of American tea imports, such was its popularity.
The process for making gunpowder was, and still is, rather complicated. First, freshly plucked green leaf is pan-fired at between 280 and 300º C to keep it from fermenting. In early times, this would have been done by hand in large wok shaped pans, today it is done by machine. Next, the leaves are rolled to facilitate molecular breakdown in the leaf, release flavor and make the leaves more pliable for shaping. After rolling the leaf is broken into smaller pieces and sent to the primary dryer. The tea is sent through this dryer 3 times for 30 minutes at around 125º. After drying the leaf is sent to therolling machine. Depending on the style being produced that day, different shaped machines are used. In the case of gunpowder the roller is a round drum that turns the tea over and over in on itself. The final stage, the one that gives gunpowder its signature glossy look and brittle texture is secondary drying at temperatures ranging from 70º to 100º depending on ambient humidity. At the end of the process the leaf should have a moisture content of no more than 5% and be tightly wound into a neat ball-like shape.
Water Temperature: 158-175 degrees
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 tsp. (2.5 grams)
Steep Time: 1-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: 3
Our Pin Lin Gunpowder tea may be prepared in a standard teapot, tetsubin, or in your favorite mug or lidded gaiwan. For best results, we recommend that you pre-warm your vessel, and place 2.5 grams of leaf per 6 oz of liquid, before infusing with 158-175 degree water for up to 1-3 minutes. As with all green teas, Pin Lin Gunpowder can be infused at least three times. Increase the time and temperature slightly with each subsequent infusion. Experimenting with your own temperatures and steeping times is encouraged. Cooler temperatures and shorter times yield more mellow, fruity elements, while hotter water and longer times produce more floral and full-bodied complexities. Always use the best-tasting water you can find, and adjust steeping times, quantity of leaves, and water temperature to your personal preferences.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.