Over the past weeks, we reviewed gunpowder tea from two brands, namely Shine Wing Tea and Kuan Yin Teas. And what better way to cap off our gunpowder tea series than with a tea comparison?!
Gunpowder tea is a green tea variant with tightly rolled leaves. To make them, the leaves are left to wither and then steamed.
The most notable characteristics of gunpowder tea is its leaves. Unlike regular tea leaves, these leaves are rolled into small pellets. One way to tell the quality of a gunpowder tea is by looking at its pellets. They should be small, tightly rolled, have some shine, and uniform in color and size.
The pellets from Kuan Yin Teas (KYT) seemed to be just twisted while Shine Wing Tea's (SWT) pellets were tightly rolled. Between the two, its SWT's pellets that have a bit of shine. The pellets from both brands are uniform in size and color. Pellets from SWT have a darker color than KYT.
Once steeped, the pellets of SWT unfurled into bigger and longer dark green leaves. KYT's pellets unfurled into medium-sized leaves.
(L) Kuan Yin Teas (R) Shine Wing Tea
SWT's pellets produced a goldenrod yellow color brew while KYT's brew has a light copper color.
Related: Gunpowder Tea from Shine Wing Tea
The pellets of both KYT and SWT have a sweet, smoky aroma. The aroma of SWT, however, is subtler - as in barely there- than KYT. The steeped leaves of KYT has a vegetal scent, like grass stems while SWT is smoky.
KYT's gunpowder has a sweet, roasty aroma while SWT has an earthy, somewhat smoky aroma. Both reminded me of autumn.
Brewing time! (L) Kuan Yin Teas (R) Shine Wing Tea
Both Kuan Yin Teas and Shine Wing Tea offer full-bodied gunpowder tea with little to no astringency. The brew from Kuan Yin Teas has a velvety feel while the brew from Shine Wing Tea has a smooth feel. Both have a nice smoky flavor. Shine Wing Tea, however, gives a bit of bitterness at the back of your mouth while Kuan Yin Teas has a subtle sweet aftertaste.
I'm not very fond of green tea because I don't like the vegetal taste (often grassy) I usually get from it. Surprisingly, gunpowder tea doesn't taste like that. And so, I enjoyed tasting tea from Shine Wing Tea and Kuan Yin Teas.
The gunpowder tea pellets from Shine Wing Tea definitely look better than Kuan Yin Teas. However, between the two, I found myself leaning towards Kuan Yin Tea more than Shine Wing Tea. There were too much sediments at the bottom of my SWT cup. While KYT has very little sediments. I prefer drinking gunpowder tea from Kuan Yin Tea while it's very hot as it could be a bit bitter once it has cooled a little.
Try not to overbrew the pellets. While you may get away with overbrewing other types of tea leaves, the gunpowder tea leaves are a bit sensitive to overbrewing.