Gunpowder tea has an evocative name. What do you imagine when you hear it? We think of something powdery, smoky and carbon-like. We first tried black gunpowder tea in the Twinings shop near Fleet Street in London. It came in a little bag you could take home to try, and I remember the shop let you pick and mix different teas to buy.
We couldn’t resist the name, and when we took it home, its appearance satisfied our curiosity as we closely inspected the leaves inside the little bag. Only much later did we learn that gunpowder is traditionally green. Since then, we’ve enjoyed it regularly, but what is gunpowder tea good for?
What is Green Gunpowder Tea?
Gunpowder tea is green tea tightly rolled into small pellets that resemble the explosive it’s named after. It originated in China, and its Mandarin name translates as pearl or bead tea. The tightly rolled shots help the tea keep its flavour and freshness for longer, giving it longevity that made it suitable for export from China centuries earlier. The pellets unfurl as the tea steeps in the water, and it has a smoky, smouldering and woody taste. It’s more potent and has a higher caffeine content than other green teas.
What is Black Gunpowder Tea?
Black and green gunpowder teas both come from the same plant. The difference is what happens to the leaves after picking that affects the colour. Black gunpowder tea is exposed to oxygen, whilst green gunpowder tea leaves are not. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that turns the green leaves black, and it’s similar to what happens when you leave an avocado slice out on the counter. Within a short amount of time, the avocado will begin to discolour.
What is Gunpowder Tea Good For?
Unsurprisingly, green tea has quite the reputation in traditional Chinese medicine for supporting health. Medical News Today writes that the uses of green tea range from being able ‘to control bleeding and heal wounds, aid digestion, improve heart and mental health and regulate body temperature’.
Illness and Disease Prevention
Green gunpowder tea contains more antioxidants and polyphenols than black gunpowder tea. As the BBC Good Food website writes, polyphenols are known to protect the body from illness and disease. More specifically, they help reduce blood pressure, help with good circulation and help maintain blood vessels in the body.
Green tea also helps reduce insulin resistance, according to an Iranian study referenced on the Everyday Health website. The study found that participants ‘who consumed 150ml of green tea three times a day saw positive results’. Insider also related one 2006 study showing that those who drank six or more cups of green tea daily were 33% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Remember, the high polyphenols found in gunpowder tea may also be suitable for controlling blood sugar.
Green tea can also help elevate mood. It contains L-theanine, an amino acid that, when combined with caffeine, helps reduce anxiety and increase mental focus and memory.
Whilst gunpowder tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, it has more than other common teas. That makes it a good caffeine boost, especially for those who don’t enjoy other caffeinated drinks.
Is Gunpowder Green Tea Good for Weight Loss?
Green tea is well-marketed as aiding weight loss, and there may be some truth to it. Healthline lays out many of the claims, including how studies using animals have found that the tea’s main antioxidant can help boost fat breakdown in the body. Equally, caffeine, which is higher in gunpowder tea (and also used in many weight-loss supplements), could help burn fats by boosting metabolism. If you really want to max out the caffeine benefits, you should drink it before exercising. Healthline reported on one study that found men who took additional green tea before exercise burned 17% more fat than those who didn’t. Of course, green tea can’t help you if you’re vastly overeating or have a poor diet because it’s not a magic bullet, but if you’re watching what you eat or enjoying a balanced diet, green tea can help support weight loss.
Gunpowder tea has several reported benefits, including its polyphenols for cardiovascular health, its potential to control blood sugar, and its energy boost from caffeine. There is also evidence that it could help support weight loss.
Of course, gunpowder tea isn’t a magic bullet for health, but if you enjoy it and consume it regularly, there is some evidence that it can help support health. This is fab news when you already love gunpowder tea as we do!