Gunpowder Green Tea


What is gunpowder green tea?

Gunpowder is a Chinese green tea with leaves tightly rolled into little pellets. Chinese word for this tea is zhu cha – or pearl tea. In western countries it’s always called Gunpowder, also because of the leaf shape. It’s believed that Gunpowder first appeared during Tang Dynasty, more than 1000 years ago, making it one of the oldest green tea types in the world and one of the first green teas exported from China. However, it’s still irreplaceable in some cultures. For example, Moroccan Mint tea would never have such a refreshing and unique flavor without gunpowder tea. Light green teas would not be able to hold the flavor of the mint so well.

Caffeine content of gunpowder tea

Caffeine content of Gunpowder tea will depend on many factors. For example, if a tea is made from older, more mature leaves, it’s likely to have less caffeine than the one made from younger leaves. High quality tea is usually made from younger leaves, so it should naturally have a bit more caffeine. Regardless, Gunpowder will have more caffeine than “regular” green tea.

Gunpowder tea health benefits

Gunpowder is not only one of the most popular green teas in the western countries, it’s one of rare teas that was a subject of many scientific studies. Studies have shown that Gunpowder may have antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer properties.

One study showed that Gunpowder green tea may have a higher antioxidant capacity than Dragon Well or even Japanese sencha. The same study showed that teas from Chinese Zhejiang may have a higher anti oxidative ability than those from other regions. The total amount of catechins will depend on many factors – from the growing area to the type of leaves and brewing method. To extract the most catechins from green tea and still get a pleasant cup, brew tea for 3-5 minutes with a water temperature of around 176°F.

Moreover, green tea has been studied against many viruses, bacteria and fungi, including Influenza virus, Herpes simplex, Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori, where it showed inhibitory properties and reduction of side-effects.

Potential benefits of Gunpowder green tea include:

  1. Antiviral activity
  2. Antimutagenic activity
  3. Strong chelating activity
  4. Anti-inflammatory properties
  5. Antifungal activity
  6. Strengthening immune system
  7. Increasing bone density
  8. Increasing fat oxidation
  9. Anticancer activity
  10. Lowering cholesterol
  11. Antibacterial activity
  12. Lowering blood sugar
  13. Protecting against heart attacks and strokes


  1. Gunpowder is one of the most versatile green teas in the world–you can drink it with milk, it’s great for blending, you can add it to cocktails, or cold-brew it
  2. The original name of this tea is “pearl tea”
  3. The most similar tea to Gunpowder is Chun Mei or Zhen Mei tea.
  4. Some tea traditions around the world are based on Gunpowder tea
  5. Gunpowder is one of the older green tea types