Green Tea Review: English Tea Store Pinhead Gunpowder

ETS Pinhead Gunpowder

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Pinhead Gunpowder

Tea Category: Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: China

The Leaves: The leaves are rolled into small, shiny circular shapes

Additions: None 

Flavor: A highly-flavorful, slightly vegetal green tea that has a smooth and sweet smokiness

Overall: 4.4/5

I found the Pinhead Gunpowder to be a nice introduction to the world of green tea because it isn’t too “green tea” tasting. In fact, it has an enjoyable combination of flavors that come together to create a tasty cup.  


I had ordered the Chinese Teas sampler pack and Pinhead Gunpowder was one of the selections.

Each of the one-ounce samples I received in the sampler package came in a thick-plastic, black bag with the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the tea pouch, so I had to visit the English Tea Store’s website for more information. But, the bag is re-sealable which makes it quite convenient.

As a side note, when my samples arrived I discovered that three of the selections advertised on the webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three duplicate packages, two of the Lapsang Souchong and one of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

I really enjoyed watching the leaves unfurl as they steeped, especially since I am used to only drinking tea from tea bags and not seeing the tea leaves at all.

Once the leaves were fully infused they took on an ever so slight smoky aroma, the smokiness isn’t harsh, but almost sweet smelling. Perhaps a little like fine tobacco.

The first sip is somewhat vegetal tasting, but not so much as to be a turn-off. Even this lover-of–black-tea found the flavor stimulating and pleasing.

Then there is the sweet-smokiness, which doesn’t sound that appetizing, yet it works. It actually gives my brew some complexity and robustness that I wasn’t expecting.

Lastly, there is a touch of astringency that is refreshing and left me wanting another cup of Pinhead Gunpowder.

On the whole, I liked it especially becuase it reminded me of faraway places where I have never been. It’s like getting a taste of the orient without having to leave my comfy chair! 

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states that green teas should be brewed in steaming water (150-180F) for 1 to 4 minutes.

I fiddled around with different water temperatures and steeping times, but found little difference in taste. I even poured boiling water over the leaves accidently a couple times and still had a drinkable brew. The only difference was the level of astringency, which increased along with the water temperature and/or brewing time. This tea is quite forgiving.

Because there were no recommendations on how much tea and water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water. However, as the leaves unfurl they tend to take up a lot of space, so depending upon the filter method, the amount of leaves used may need to be adjusted.

I tried both a large paper filter as well as my new mini-glass teapot (with a spring like filter in the spout) to steep the leaves. Both methods worked great. But, I do prefer using the glass teapot; especially for this tea because it allowed me to watch the leaves unfold as they steeped.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.


Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

3 comments on “Green Tea Review: English Tea Store Pinhead Gunpowder

  1. Jen P October 9, 2010 11:49 AM

    I’m a new convert to green tea as well. I found that starting with the Chinese greens was the way to go. Kind of the “gateway” green. Enjoy!

    • a girl with tea October 20, 2010 10:57 AM

      Thanks for your suggestion to start with Chinese greens! I think I had lucked out by trying the Gunpowder green tea first. Because it was such a lovely experience, I am excited to try more green teas. Especially now that I know they don’t all taste like hay!

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