Gunpowder Tea Benefits and Side Effects

What Is Gunpowder Green Tea and Is It Healthy?

Gunpowder tea

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Gunpowder tea is loose leaf tea that is tightly rolled into tiny pellets that resemble gunpowder. This type of tea is usually produced using green tea leaves, but not always. The benefits of gunpowder tea depend on the type of tea leaf that is used to produce it.

What Is Gunpowder Green Tea?

Many teas have names based on the plant that is grown to produce it. Others are named after the region where the tea originated. But gunpowder tea is named after the way it looks and tastes.

Gunpowder tea has a unique production method. To make the highest quality gunpowder tea, artisans wither, steam, roll, and dry individual tea leaves. Machine rolled gunpowder tea is also available (and quite common) although not as highly revered. This tea is sometimes called pearl tea or bead tea based on the shape of each tiny tea pellet. Some people also call it Chinese gunpowder tea.

When you steep a cup of gunpowder tea, each individual leaf unrolls or "explodes" as some would describe. The tea has a taste that many describe as lightly smoky—as the name indicates.

Some people blend gunpowder tea with other types of tea to create unique flavors. For example, gunpowder tea combined with spearmint tea creates a well-known blend called Moroccan mint tea.

How to Make Gunpowder Tea

You can buy gunpowder tea online or in your local tea shop. Look for small, tight, shiny pellets. Because of the unique manufacturing method, gunpowder tea usually stays fresh longer than other traditional types of tea.

Tea lovers used different methods to brew their gunpowder tea. Some brew it in a cup, others in a teapot and still others in a glass jar. But the simplest way is to brew it in your teacup with hot water from a temperature-controlled teapot (which allows for careful temperature maintenance).

How to Brew Gunpowder Tea

  • Place one teaspoon of tea leaves in the bottom of a preheated teacup.
  • Heat water to about 160 Fahrenheit.
  • Pour four to five ounces of water over the tea leaves.
  • Let tea leaves steep for 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain loose leaves from the cup before drinking.

Many tea experts say that you can use the tea leaves again for a second cup if desired.

Gunpowder Tea and Caffeine

Gunpowder tea is usually made with green tea leaves which originate from the Camellia sinensis plant. Usually, green tea contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine per one cup serving, but gunpowder tea often provides slightly more. The amount of caffeine in your cup will depend slightly on the brewing method used and on the quality of the leaves you buy.

If your gunpowder tea comes from oolong tea leaves, you'll get about 40 milligrams of caffeine (or more) per cup and if your gunpowder tea comes from black tea leaves you'll get about 50 milligrams of caffeine (or more) per cup.

As a basis for comparison, a cup of black coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Gunpowder Tea Health Benefits

If your gunpowder tea is made from green tea, you may enjoy certain health benefits when you drink it. But many of the benefits that you see advertised online and in the media haven't been consistently supported by clinical studies. However, research is ongoing and scientists are learning more about the benefits of green tea every day.

According to the National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, green tea may provide a boost of mental alertness, most likely due to the caffeine content of the beverage. According to a review published in 2015, there is also some evidence that it may optimize cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol.

An analysis of previous studies published in 2016 found that green tea consumption was associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Many people believe that green tea helps them to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. However, studies have not been able to prove that green tea is an effective weight loss aid.

Side Effects

Gunpowder tea made from green tea is likely to be safe when consumed in moderation as a beverage. However, people who are sensitive to caffeine may experience headaches, jitters, or sleeplessness when they drink it. According to the FDA, for healthy adults, the maximum caffeine that should be consumed in a day before any adverse effects is about 400 mg. That's about 3-5 cups of coffee or about 8-11 cups of tea.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.