Country of Origin: Taiwan
Region: Taipei County
Shipping Port: Taipei
Altitude: 500’-1000’ ft. above sea level.
Manufacture Type: Gunpowder traditional.
Cup Characteristics: A smooth and satisfying cup with dashes of
bakiness. Premium gunpowder that hails from Pin Lin, Taiwan’s tea
Infusion: Pale green.
Ingredients: Luxury 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 the rolling 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
The result is a truly special tea with a unique flavor. The cup displays
notes of smoke and sweet grass, with subtle undertones of burnt honey. 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 has almost reached the
boiling point. 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.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used
repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about
180’F or 80’C. Place about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons in your cup, let the tea
steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment -