Tempest in a Teapot

Gunpowder in Venice is shaking up the world of craft tea

Move over, coffee. It's time for tea to get a little street cred.

Gunpowder, an ambitious 24-hour tea room in Venice, is aiming to infuse tea with the same hipster appeal showered upon third-wave coffee.

At the center of this new-age experiment is the Gunshot ($2), a blend of roasted chicory, cacao, dandelion and guayusa (an Amazonian "super-leaf" that packs twice the antioxidants of green tea) that's tamped into a portafilter and pulled like an espresso shot.

Gunpowder storefront (Photo: Nick Carter)

Earthy, nutty and a tad bitter, the Gunshot is something of an acquired taste–not unlike coffee for some. But after a few sips we became enamored with the drink's dark and potent complexity, as well as its stimulating buzz. It becomes even more enjoyable when frothed into a latté ($2.75) made with coconut or almond milk.

Jeremy Johnson, who serves as Gunpowder's "Taste Maker," has created a Mad Hatter-worthy wonderland for the tea obsessed: Vials of dried tea ($5) range from a sassafras-scented blend meant to mimic root beer to Rooibos spiked with Sichuan peppercorns.

Other vials are filled with the tea equivalent of energy shots ($5). One, made with guayusa and green tea, is dubbed "Wake Up." The other, made with passion flower, chamomile and Valerian root (the source ingredient for Valium) is dubbed "Lights Out."

We've only just entered the rabbit hole, but Gunpowder already has us intrigued.