What's The Difference Between Gunpowder Tea And Green Tea?

Green tea being poured
Green tea being poured - Kuppa_rock/Getty Images

Whether you're surviving the winter months with a steaming mug or throwing ice into your glass in the summer, tea (in all of its varieties) makes for the perfect year-round drink. Green tea has become one of the most common and popular types due to its lighter taste and lower caffeine content. And while green tea is indeed its own flavor, it comes in many varieties that can be complicated to keep straight at times. Gunpowder tea is one of those variants.

That's right, gunpowder tea is not a totally separate entity, but a type of green tea known for its particular shape — the leaves are rolled into tiny balls — which make it look similar to gunpowder pellets, hence the name. Fear not, it does not taste anything like gunpowder and is totally safe to drink, but its smoky and nutty flavor is very different from that of other green teas. But who said different was a bad thing? Gunpowder tea has many amazing properties that make it a stand out among other green teas, and it just might become your new obsession.

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What Is Gunpowder Green Tea?

Basket of dried gunpowder tea leaves
Basket of dried gunpowder tea leaves - Pavel105/Shutterstock

Gunpowder tea is a variety of green tea that has origins as far back as 7th century China and remains popular today. This style of green tea is rolled up tightly into balls after it's been steamed and dried, which gives it a dark and wilted appearance that resembles gunpowder pellets. The gunpowder reference also alludes to the flavor of the leaves, which is much more punchy and vegetal — a quality that is milder in other green teas. Gunpowder tea also has a higher caffeine content due to the way the leaves are wrapped, making it ideal for those looking for a stronger tea.

A cup of classic green tea typically has around 25 to 30 milligrams of caffeine; meanwhile, gunpowder tea can have between 35 and 40 milligrams of caffeine. So, when deciding between gunpowder tea and other green teas, you'll want to take into account both the flavor profiles and time of day given the difference in caffeine content. Overall, gunpowder tea is easy to distinguish from other types of green tea due to its unique appearance and smoky flavor. It also comes individually packaged and marked, so you'll have no trouble finding it in stores.

Prep Your Green Teas Like A Pro

Overview of Moroccan mint tea glasses with kettle and leaves
Overview of Moroccan mint tea glasses with kettle and leaves - Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock

With so many types of green tea, there are lots of ways to prepare and enjoy them. Since green teas can easily burn and have a grassy flavor if left in water for too long, it's best to monitor the time and temperature closely while you steep the tea leaves. Keeping an eye on your green tea will give you the perfect taste, and this is especially true with gunpowder tea, which is naturally more pungent and smoky and is not to be over-steeped.

Gunpowder tea has become very popular in Morocco, where it's often used as the base for a traditional mint tea. Moroccans add mint leaves and many spoonfuls of sugar to this tea and serve it in a glass cup, turning this smoky beverage into a fresh, sweet, and welcome drink. You can also convert it into a perfect summer staple by adding ice and making Moroccan mint iced tea. Gunpowder tea pairs well with other strong flavors such as lemon and basil, which you can add to your cup to balance its vegetal punch.

Other green teas can, of course, be prepared using a good old fashioned tea bag, in a hot or cold milky beverage like a matcha latte with almond milk, or even as part of a meal. With its lighter taste, green tea powder is also used as an ingredient in many pastries, such as in Japanese cake, but gunpowder tea is typically reserved for drinking.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.