Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: thePuriTea
This unusual black tea is hand-rolled into spheres the size of chickpeas in southern Yunnan, China. Just two or three of them are enough for a fantastically bold brew with all the flavors of a crisp autumn day. It’s malty, nuanced and tannic like a fine Second Flush Assam black tea, but it also offers complex flavors of spiced, stewed apples, fallen leaves and cocoa that set it apart from other black teas. Floral aromas and a clean, bittersweet finish round out this singular infusion. Try it with breakfast, brunch, grilled duck or dark chocolate.
I am very fond of jasmine pearls. Not just because of their sublime flavor, but, because of their shape. I’m enchanted by the tightly wound spheres of tea… and not just because they’re “cool” or “different” but… there’s a practical side too. They’re incredibly easy to measure!
So when I find other “pearls” of tea, I’m intrigued. Like I was with these Red Dragon Pearls from thePuriTea. These are not jasmine scented… and they are not green tea. Rather, they are black tea leaves (Yunnan) that have been wound into spheres that are a bit larger than a typical jasmine pearl. They are still quite easy to measure, though, I just drop two of them into my gaiwan… or four into my smart tea maker.
These pearls brew a deep brown liquor that is quite delightful to the palate. The flavor is complex. There is a bittersweet taste to it that is almost like unsweetened cocoa… but not quite.
I can also taste the apple notes that the company description eludes to, it is a deep, fruity note that is somewhat reminiscent of the late fall when I’m making apple butter – but where I might experience cinnamon and nutmeg in my apple butter, here I can taste a hint of smokiness and even a note of pepper.
I’ve said on occasion that a bitter note helps cut through the sweetness of a tea… here it is almost the opposite, the sweetness that I taste seems to cut through what would be a tea that is almost too bitter and makes it quite palatable. I’m really enjoying it.
There is also a chewiness to this tea that is quite remarkable. It has a baked characteristic that reminds me a bit of the chewy taste I’d experience when I eat freshly baked French bread… but whereas the bread might be a little yeasty, this tea would be malty.
This tea also possesses a somewhat tannic quality with a cleansing astringency in the finish… also noteworthy in the finish is a sweet, almost floral note that seems to float over the palate.
The complexity of this tea is quite pleasant. It is quite nice served either hot or chilled. I prefer this tea with just a drizzle of agave nectar to bring out some of the sweetness to the cup, but it was also quite nice without it.
An enchanting, delightful tea!