Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another Cuppa

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Do you feel ready for another cup of tea?

I keep getting inspired by comments from my readers, so when Ginny and GB commented on My Cup of Tea, mentioning white tea and gunpowder tea, it led to another visit to my favourite tea shop. I know I have had gunpowder tea in the past but it was a very long time ago (probably back in the 1980’s); and white tea I was not sure whether I’ve ever had or not.

So I went into the tea shop and specifically asked if they had white tea. It turned out they did, but only two to choose from, one flavoured and one plain. Since I wanted to try out what it’s “really” like I chose the plain one without added flavours.

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White tea

The white tea is very little processed, more or less just dried; so it’s very “fluffy” compared to other teas. Luckily the girl in the shop advised me about this and said I could buy only 50g of it instead of the usual 100g. I’m glad she did, because I have to say my first impression is that it had no taste at all! But I’ll not be too hasty in my judgment. I’ll experiment a bit with how to brew it. Maybe it needs more leaves per cup.

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Gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea on the other hand is very compact. (The paper bag with 50g of white tea was bigger than the 100g bag of gunpowder.) It is green tea where each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. It is believed to take its English name from the fact that the tea resembles blackpowder grains. The name may also have arisen from the fact that the pellet sort of  "explodes" into a long leaf upon being steeped in hot water. Another explanation is that the tea also has a smoky flavour.

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The “exploded” (wet) gunpowder tea leaves.

I remembered this taste very well already at first sip. Actually I quite like it. I have no idea why it’s been so long since I last bought it. Perhaps just because so many other interesting flavours came along to try out.

5 comments:

  1. gun powder, just this week, I was teaching my students about using bags of gun powder to shoot cannon balls into space.

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  2. i would love to taste the gunpowder tea, have never even heard of it and i had no idea there were so many teas. i don't even know where we could buy tea here. i have never seen it for sale other than the boxed kind in the grocery story. most of them tea bags.

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  3. I LOVE this post!!! And two teas I happen to be very interested in, thank you. About the white tea, it is considered the ultimate gourmet tea in Asia, I think, where it is highly prized and considered the tea of Emperors. I read about this a few years ago and am kind of hazy on it now. I believe it is picked really early and it is extremely mild! I bought some a few years ago and you are right about the taste. Gunpowder tea, I haven't heard anyone mention that in so long. Lots of people don't even know what it is. It was my grandmother's favorite and she used to talk about it. The leaves are rolled tightly then come uncurled. I don't think I've ever tasted any though. I'm going to the new Whole Foods store today and am going to try and find some.

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  4. I'll have to try White Tea again. I don't think I have any gunpowder tea at home either. Better try that again too. So much to taste. So little time.

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  5. I tried the white tea again last night. It still has no taste at all. Perhaps I do not have the imperial gourmet tastebuds required to enjoy it ;)

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