Review of Gunpowder Green Tea - Temple of Heaven

7 of 104 of 53 of 566 of 100
Very GoodGoodReasonable

The "Temple of Heaven" needs a smoke alarm; it may be burning down.

This was my next new-tea attempt from a Numi variety pack, and mostly it's a good, clean, smooth, hearty cup. The tightly rolled nodules unfurl into the biggest leaves I've ever seen inside a tea bag, larger than those of many loose-leaf teas I've tried to date. When drinking loose tea, I tend to use a bigger dose than available in bags, just to make it stronger, but Numi's gunpowder green offers just about right amount -- a surprisingly potent green, after more than the recommended steeping minutes. That imbues some bitterness into the brew, but not enough to be a turn-off. I'll take that trade-off for a darker, stronger drink.

The only problem I have with this tea is a noticeable, unmistakable smoke flavor. It's not subtle at all, at least after brewing as long as I do. As far as I can recall, I've only tried one other green tea of the "gunpowder" style to date, and don't recall its tasting so smoky. I wonder where that comes from. Fortunately this doesn't carry into the aroma or aftertaste.

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Alex Zorach wrote:
on September 29th, 2017

I've tried quite a few gunpowder teas, and while they're not all smoky, the non-smoky ones are the exception. A few examples I tried have had only a hint of smoke, but there's usually some smoke there and sometimes it is quite strong.

If you like this style of tea but want something less smoky, I would point to Chun Mee, which is fairly widely available from companies that sell loose-leaf Chinese tea. It shares the brisk quality of gunpowder but never is as strongly smoky, usually only having a hint of smoke. I also find its aroma more complex and I find it generally more enjoyable, but it's similarly inexpensive.

Tchuggin' Okie wrote:
on September 30th, 2017

Thanks for the tip, Alex. Chun Mee...I'll have to note that for next time I'm at a Chinese market in Dallas to stock up on other supplies. For some weird reason I haven't gotten much tea there yet. That will change.

A faint smokiness doesn't bother me, but once it starts tasting like the inside of my backyard charcoal grill, that's a problem. This one was almost to the limit, but not quite. Still, I'd drink some more.

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