Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea - Certified Organic and Fair Trade


Pinhead Gunpowder Tea is a type of green tea that is indigenous to the Chinese province of Zhejiang. Each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet which helps retain the flavor and aroma of the leaves. This shaping method of rolling tea is most often applied either to dried green tea or Oolong tea. This type of rolled production dates back to the Tang Dynasty 618 – 907.

As with most Chinese teas there is a story. It is believed that Gunpowder tea got its English name in the 18th century when a British clerk, noticed its similarity with gunpowder pellets. Others tea historians say it was from British sailors who were shipping this tea from China to the west that gave it this name. Gunpowder tea was a popular, expensive import into our country in 1700s and was first prized first by wealthy colonists and then it spread to the middle classes as well.

In China gunpowder tea is not called gunpowder or gunpowder green, but instead is known as “zhu cha”, which translates to pearl tea. It is interesting that the eastern perception of this tea is of a delicate pearl while the western perception is of gunpowder.
While classic gunpowder green tea refers to the Zhejiang Province origin and the specific smoky flavor profile, there are numerous teas that are rolled into the pearl, or gunpowder form. Today Gunpowder tea is not only produced in the Zhejiang Province, but also in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong and Hunan.

Our Pinhead Gunpowder Pingshui tea comes from the province of Zhejiang across Hangzhou Bay from Shanghai (Pingshui is an urban town in this province). It was in Hangzhou that Mao Tse Tung (China’s leader at the time) met with Richard Nixon in 1973. At this meeting gunpowder tea was served and this was the start of the normalization process between China and the US.

Pingshui Gunpowder tea has strict picking standards, as a bud and two leaves, about 1.18” (or 3 cm) in length with a neat uniform presentation. The bud and leaves for our Pinhead Gunpowder Tea are only plucked during April and May when the quality of this green leaf tea is at its highest. The leaves are steamed and tightly rolled in a time-honored process. When plucking the leaf for Gunpowder tea, it is critical that the pickers be experienced, as torn leaves create problems during the rolling phase, and irregularly-sized leaves will need to be removed, as it’s very difficult to roll uniform pellets from imperfect leaves. Today lesser quality Gunpowder tea leaves are often rolled by machines.

Gunpowder tea is among the most forgiving and easiest of green teas to infuse. It’s easy to measure, tolerates a wide range of water temperatures and is fun to watch steep. Gunpowder tea can typically be steeped for a second infusion, depending on the duration of the first infusion.

Part of the tea ritual when preparing Gunpowder Tea is to take two pinches of pearls and drop them into a porcelain cup so that you hear the tinkle and jingle of the leaves as they strike the sides of the cup. Hot water causes these leaves to slowly open like flowers and then slowly sink to the bottom in graceful patterns, which add an enjoyable visual dimension to tea drinking.

Gunpowder Tea produces a reasonably strong full-bodied dark green cup with a hint of smokiness, slightly bitter with a memorable fragrance and a long lasting finish.

Because Gunpowder Tea is denser than other teas you only need one or two teaspoons for a whole pot of tea.

Steep at 180° for 2-5 minutes.

Caffeine level is low.

1 oz of tea produces approximately 12 cups.

All of our tea bags are made with unbleached tea filter paper. They are approximately 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" and have no strings or tags.


CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Certification is your guarantee that this product has been grown and processed according to strict guidelines established in the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Before a product can be labeled Certified Organic, farmers and processors must meet the following requirements:
No harmful chemicals have been applied to the land for at least three years.
Farmers and processors pass yearly inspections by an independent certifying agency.
Farmers and processors keep detailed records of operations.
Farmers maintain a written organic management plan.

Information contained in this shop is for educational purposes only.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
please be advised: you should always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet!!

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Shipping charges vary from country to country so I just picked one of the highest. I will refund any shipping charges above actual charges to your location.

Tea was reportedly discovered in China around 2737 B.C. by The Emperor Chen Nung when a tea leaf fell into his bowl of hot water. This tradition of tea drinking became an integral part of society and was the preferred beverage for all walks of life; from monks and mandarins to the nomadic tribesmen who traded horses for bricks of tea. The Japanese may have transformed tea drinking into a sacred ceremony; however, the Chinese are credited with initiating the time honored ritual of offering a guest a cup of tea as a sign of hospitality.

Scented teas have been around for a long time and are produced according to ancestral recipes. Before the advent of essential oil extracts one of the easiest scents to duplicate was ‘Rose’. The plantations would literally cut the rose blossoms from the plants bordering fields and pathways and sprinkle these into the tea. The result was a delicate but finely flavored tea. Today the practice remains virtually the same, but essential oils are used to speed up the scenting process and freshly cut flowers are added to the tea for visual effects. The result is a delightfully attractive leaf accented with rose petals combined with the refreshing cleansing flavor of roses. The next time a guest drops by, why not offer a truly special cup of hospitality accented with the scent and petals of roses.

Brewing Information:

Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). We recommend adding milk and sugar (if this is to your taste), but if you prefer your tea ‘straight-up’ it is equally acceptable and enjoyable.

Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]


Payment is appreciated at time of purchase. I accept Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.

Check or money order welcome - order will be shipped 10 days after receipt of check/money order to allow check or money order to clear bank.

Shipping from United States

Even though we say that we ship in 1-2 weeks, in most instances we try to ship within 5-7 business days. All orders will be shipped via USPS with Delivery Confirmation or FedEx.

Returns & Exchanges

I gladly accept returns and exchanges

Just contact me within: 14 days of delivery

Ship items back to me within: 30 days of delivery

I don't accept cancellations

But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

The following items can't be returned or exchanged

Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:

  • Custom or personalized orders
  • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
  • Digital downloads
  • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)

Returns and exchange details

If you are unhappy for any reason, please contact me (Marty) at 702-370-0035. Since most of our items are classified as food items, we can only do returns if we mistakenly sent the wrong item.

Buyer pays for shipping to return items to Ye Olde Spice Guy.

We will not issue refunds on any items once an order is placed.



Any customs fees will be paid by the customer.

Please allow up to 4-6 weeks for your order to arrive. Thank you for your patience. If it has been past this time frame, please contact me and I will be glad to work with your to resolve the issue.

IMPORTANT! By purchasing items from Ye Olde Spice Guy you accept all terms and policies.

Legal imprint