This special grade gunpowder green tea comes from the Pingshui region of the northern Zhejiang province. After the tender young tea leaves has been withered and steamed, it is rolled into small pellets. Due to its compact rolling, this Pingshui Gunpowder stays fresh longer and less is required to make a great cup of tea.
This tea produces a light greenish-yellow liquid and has a slightly smoky flavour with a smooth stimulating taste. In Chinese, gunpowder tea is called zhū chá, literally "pearl tea".
The origin of the English term may come from its similarity in appearance to actual gunpowder: greyish, dark pellets of irregular shape used as explosive propellant for early guns. Or the name may also have arisen from the fact that the grey-green leaf is tightly rolled into a tiny pellet and "explodes" into a long leaf upon being steeped in hot water. Or, another explanation is that the tea can also have a smoky flavour. Or it is also possible that the English term may stem from the Mandarin Chinese phrase for "freshly brewed", gāng pào de, which sounds like the English word "gunpowder."