So what actually is gunpowder tea?

It's La Caravane gunpowder tea that got this whole thing going. Here we explain what it is.

We appreciate that we're backing gunpowder tea rather heavily without really explaining what it is. It's tea that looks like gunpowder (because we all know what that looks like). It's tea that's a bit smokey, like gunpowder is (I guess). Says Wikipediathe grey-green leaf is tightly rolled into a tiny pellet and "explodes" into a long leaf upon being steeped in hot water. Like gunpowder. Hmm.

It's probably better to start with the flavour. It's our go-to green tea, much lighter than most green teas and with a fresh, summery taste. Think wheatgrass, with a sort of honey thing going on at the back of your mouth. A hint of smoke, a memory of hillside earthiness. 

Its delicacy and complexity owe their survival to the fact that the wilted and steamed leaves have been rolled into tight balls before being dried. This preserves the flavours, and protects the leaves themselves from damage. Gunpowder tea can be stored for a very long time.

How to drink it? Without milk, we'll say that before we get any further, and we speak as people who have pushed milk in tea as a concept about as far as it can go. Milk is a definite no.

Even almond milk.

I'd say you've got two paths to go down. The first path is full Moroccan. Gunpowder tea is wildly popular in Morocco, so if you ever find yourself being offered tea in Marrakesh or Fez (spend more than ten minutes there and this is unavoidable) expect a small glass of extremely sweet tea that has been poured from an absurd height. The teapot will be metal and hot. It will contain two teaspoons of gunpowder tea, a handful of mint leaves and handful of sugar.

This is pleasant, but wouldn't do for every day. Our favoured path begins with putting two heaped teaspoonfuls of the leaves into a small teapot. We then fill the teapot with freshly boiled water, leave it to brew for about 30 seconds or until we get bored (generally the latter). Then we pour the contents into a mug and drink it. But here is the clever bit. For your next mug, use the same leaves - do not put fresh ones in. You can get about four pots out of the same spoonful of leaves. Each time you need to brew for a little longer, but the flavour improves each time. It looses a little bitterness, becomes even fresher.

Gunpowder tea is actually quite tricky to get hold of in the UK. You certainly have to go to a specialist shop - Fortnum & Mason did a particularly good blend of gunpowder tea and keemun to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (a pretty spurious connexion) but sadly this has been discontinued. It was partly to address this gap that we started selling La Caravane tea, a very popular Moroccan brand. Buy it here (go on). 

Finally, to address your curiosity, it looks like this:

   J  u st like gunpowder.

Just like gunpowder.