Gunpowder green tea is a type of tea that has been rolled into pellets. When brewed and steeped, the tea pellets will "explode" or open into a longer leaf.
This appealing tea is also called pearl or bead tea because of its unusual appearance.
While the origin of the tea-related term "gunpowder" is uncertain, it is thought to have come from the shape of the pellets, which resemble the black powder pellets used in early guns.
Yet, when brewed, the tea has an appealing smoky flavor. So it is possible that the term originated from the taste as opposed to the shape of the tea pellets.
Gunpowder tea comes from specific provinces in China, mostly the Zhejiang Province, and dates back to the year 600. It did not become popular until the tea was introduced in Taiwan in the 1800s.