Review of Organic Gunpowder Green Tea (Zhu Cha)

AromaFlavorValueTotal
6 of 104 of 55 of 585 of 100
GoodGoodOutstanding

The first time I ever tried gunpowder tea, I hated it. So, I came to this tea very skeptical. I also don't like smoky flavors, so that was another potential issue. But, even with all of that working against it, I ended up loving this tea. It has a spicy note like black pepper, there's a moderately rich, buttery quality to it, and the smokiness is just enough to satisfy me, but not so much that it overwhelms me. It does have a bit more of a kick caffeine-wise than other green teas, so that's something to watch if you're sensitive to caffeine like I am.

I brewed it using 90ºC water in a 110ml gaiwan, with 5g of tea, as recommended by the TeaVivre website for the Eastern brewing method. I tried both their recommended times and elongating them for a stronger cup (about 1.5x their time). Using their method, I got more cups, but the tea wasn't as strong. It was, however, easier to taste the individual notes. So, if you're looking for more complexity or to really feel out this tea, that would be a good place to start. With the elongated times, I got about 3-4 good cups, with a much stronger flavor and more of a caffeine kick, but the notes were less differentiated. I was impressed with how well this tea took changes in brewing time — it didn't get bitter or unpalatable with my changes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tea. It has delicious notes, its flexibility is wonderful as one can change brewing times to suit one's tastes or caffeine preferences for the time. Finally, its heartiness does certainly 'hit the spot' the way only certain teas can. — And, as if that weren't good enough, it's organic, too! Ever since I first tried this one, I find myself coming back again and again. I'm not sure I could give a better compliment than that.

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Comments:

Alex Zorach wrote:
on February 12th, 2018

I also find the smoke in the standard or widely-available gunpowder teas to be overbearing.

I tried one from Upton Tea Imports, which is unfortunately discontinued, a gunpowder tea grown in Hubei province, that had only the faintest hint or suggestion of smoke, and I really liked it.

This one sounds like the sort of thing I would like. I consistently like TeaVivre's green teas.

Gray wrote:
on February 13th, 2018

I only tried one gunpowder tea before this, so I'm limited in my perspective. I think I'm just becoming more tolerant to smoky notes recently. Though, some have a grittiness that I don't think I'll ever enjoy.

The Chun Mei and the Liu An Gua Pian had similar notes to this tea — each with their own unique differences. So, if you appreciated the mix of buttery, spicy, and lightly smoky, you may appreciate those teas from TeaVivre as well.

I have also consistently enjoyed TeaVivre's green teas. But, this one is special. It is much more hearty than other green teas I've had. It really "hits the spot" the way other teas just don't. I'd definitely recommend it to try — not just to you, but to anyone. It really is a wonderful tea. :)

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