Jasmine Dragon Pearls from Enjoying Tea

In the early days of my loose leaf tea drinking, I first encountered jasmine green tea pearls.  I was working evening shifts at the college library and we had a small, varied supply of tea, mainly our favorite tea bags.  But one night, one of my coworkers had brought in loose leaf teas they were looking to share.  I was fascinated by these little green pellets in one of the tea canisters and dropped a few in mug even though we didn’t have tea bags or filters.  I watched the balls of tea unfurl and fill my mug with flavor.  Turns out they were jasmine green tea pearls, and I’ve had a nostalgic affinity for this kind of tea ever since.

The Jasmine Dragon Pearls from Enjoying Tea are beautiful little tea oddities.  Tightly rolled pellets of tea, twined with both grey fuzzy buds, and olive green leaves.  Brew them gently, despite their tight shape, these leaves are still green tea at heart, keep the temperature of your water a little cooler than normal.

The dry leaf was already heady and fragrant with jasmine blossoms.  Brewed, the flowery notes continued to be pronounced, full and luscious like a bouquet of flowers in your hand.  Beneath all that flower-power, the tea has a buttery base, with slightly earthy and savory undertones.  The less sweet notes paired well against the powerful jasmine.  The overtones of each sip carry the floral flavors, so sweet they are almost fruity.

Jasmine Dragon Pearls from Enjoying Tea lived up to my fond first memories of trying jasmine pearls from many years ago.  Give this tea a try and make your own jasmine-scented memories!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Enjoying Tea

This green tea has a unique shape of a pearl and comes from the Chinese province of Fujian. These hand rolled pearls consisted of both leaves and bud. This tea has a sweet flavor with a flowery jasmine aroma. Researchers in Japan found that people who drink green regularly have a lower chance of getting cancer or developing heart diseases. Dragon Pearl is a great tasting healthy tea to drink regularly. We highly recommend it.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

“Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea

Planet-JingmaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Crimson Lotus Tea

Tea Description:

“A world of flavor in the palm of your hand!”

Don’t let their small size fool you. These tiny spheres of puerh are made from 300yo Gushu/Ancient Tree material from Jingmai. They were picked and processed in Spring of 2014. They have been aged loose as maocha in Jingmai until now. They are fantastic. The aroma is thick with honey. The flavor is smooth and floral with just enough bitterness and astringency to keep your palate interested. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  OK, so I say that a lot when it comes to tea.  But I don’t often say it when it comes to Pu-erh!  At least, not so you – our readers – can “hear” it.  But this “Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea has earned the “mmm!”

This tastes more like honey than Pu-erh.  (When reading the word ‘honey’ in the previous sentence, you should hear it the way that Mr. Wonderful aka Kevin O’Leary says “money.”)  It is sweet and delicious and so honey-like, you’ll wonder why you’re not all sticky after drinking it.

Planet-Jingmai-PlateMy second cup is even more honey-esque.  I’m still searching for something that reminds me of a pu-erh.  It doesn’t taste earthy, it doesn’t have a mushroom-y taste.  Just beautifully sweet.  Perhaps a hint of vegetation and a light touch of floral notes.  But mostly, honey is what I taste this time too.

And this pearl of tea takes quite a while to unfurl too!  It wasn’t until after my third infusion that the orb looked more like a tea and not a ball of yarn.  After my fourth infusion, I noticed that the leaves were beginning to settle in a heap rather than staying wound in the ball.

The flavor of the honey notes begins to wane by the fourth infusion.  It was with this infusion that I started to pick up on more floral notes with hints of earthy vegetation than a strong honey-like flavor.  I’m still tasting honey notes even in my fifth infusion, but, they continue to soften with each new infusion.

By the end of the sixth infusion, the leaves had fallen away from the ball shape and had become a pile of wet leaves.  There is still plenty of flavor to them though, and I kept on going until I finished my ninth infusion.  I probably could have gotten even more from this tea!

This tea is a PLANET of flavor!  I highly recommend the journey.

Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine from Swan Sisters

Hawaiian_Ginger_JasmineTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Tea Information:

The word exotic comes to mind when we sip this tea. Naturally sweet, exquisite and mellow Jasmine pearls livened up with spicy ginger and zesty citrus. The ginger is grown on an organic farm in Maui. The Dragon Pearls are infused with jasmine flowers six times when the jasmine pearls are made. This tea is a permanent favourite.

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh wow!  This is really nice!

The ginger hits the palate first.  The first few sips are really all about ginger with a light note of green tea in the background.  But it isn’t an overly spicy or zesty ginger flavor.  It doesn’t bite you, it’s a gentle, peppery warmth from the ginger.

After the first couple of sips, I pick up on the jasmine.  Sweet and soft jasmine notes that offer a really lovely contrast to the heat of the ginger.

The green tea is a soft background note.  It’s light and sweet with hints of creaminess.  Not exactly ‘buttery’ but more of a soft, creamy texture that also translates to a slightly creamy taste.  It’s not an overly grassy or herbaceous green tea flavor.  It’s delicate and light, the same type of green tea taste you’d experience from a top quality jasmine pearl tea.

Which is what this appears to be – it’s a jasmine pearl tea that’s been blended with some of the most beautiful pieces of dried ginger I’ve seen.  A lot of times, ginger looks sort of ragged and root-y (especially that which you’d find in a typical chai or other tea blend) but this ginger looks like it was prepared with care and love.

To brew this, I suppose I could have used my gaiwan with great results, but I decided to try brewing it in my Kati Tumbler and this worked just as well too.  I measured out a little less than a bamboo scoop of tea and put that in the basket of the Kati.  I heated the water to 180°F, poured the water over the leaves and let it steep for 2 minutes.

Overall, I’m thrilled with this tea.  I usually associate a jasmine tea with ‘springtime’ but the addition of the ginger make this a really nice cooler weather drink.  This would also be really good iced, I think!

Yunnan Dragon Pearl Black Tea from What-Cha Tea

YunnanDragonPearlsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A unique black tea rolled into huge marble sized balls. With a sweet aroma and taste, and an incredibly thick texture.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

These pearls are beautiful!  They’re larger than a jasmine green tea (or white tea) pearl, about double or maybe even triple the size of one of those smaller pearls.  So, you don’t need quite as many to produce a cup of tea (I used five for my 12 ounce cup of tea).  The aroma of the dry pearl is somewhat earthy with notes of leather and sweet notes of honey and cacao.

Rather than brewing these pearls in a teapot, I chose my glass teacup so that I could watch the unfurling process.  They unfurl rather quickly, and after the first minute of steeping they were open and revealed many different leaves.  For this first infusion, I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.  After those three minutes and observing how the leaves unfurl and seeing how much leaf is in the glass strainer, I think that for the next cup, I might only use four pearls!  Each pearl has a whole lot of tea in it!

YunnanDragonPearls1The color of the liquid is a dark copper and it smells very much the way the dry pearls smelled:  earthy, hints of leather and a strong overtone of cacao.  Nice.

So good!  I love a good Yunnan tea, and this Dragon Pearl is one of the nicest I’ve had.  It’s so rich and full-flavored.  After steeping the five pearls, I have a robust cup of tea – this is the strength I like first thing in the morning!  It’s got the gusto to shake the sleepy right out of me, you know what I mean?  On those days when you need an extra kick to wake you up and get you going, just drop another pearl into the cup.

Beautiful top notes of cacao – delicious!  There is an undertone of caramel that keeps everything sweet, and the cacao is more of a dark, bittersweet chocolate that balances out the sweeter notes.  The earthy tones and notes of leather offer a solid backdrop of flavor while the malty tones, cacao, honey and caramel play in the foreground.

It’s sweeter right up front, but then as the palate explores the sip, I find notes that offer some contrast to the sweetness.  I’m also noticing notes of stone fruit, reminiscent of plum and peach and faint hints of flower dance in and out of the sip.  This has a lot of complexity for such a robust cup!

This is a remarkably good black pearl.  I’ve tried several different black pearl teas now, and I’ve enjoyed the various ones that I’ve tried.  This one from What-Cha is really good, one of the best!  And I highly recommend re-infusing the leaves!  The second steep is almost as good as – and in some ways, even better than – the first steep!  The second steep is a little lighter … it’s not quite as hefty as the first cup, but this allows for more exploration of the complexity.  It is sweeter and I’m picking up on more of the notes of fruit and flower.  Amazing!

Earl Grey Tea from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants

Earl GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where To Buy:  The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants

Tea Description:

The fresh fruitiness of our medium-bodied Earl Grey is sweet, not soapy. Aromatic and balanced, Earl Grey is excellent both hot or served over ice. Traditionally, Earl Grey is made with black tea as a base – we use Chinese Keemun (Qimen), from the Anhui Province in east-central China, and Ceylon, from the major tea-producing island of Sri Lanka.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

While shopping at Chuck’s Produce, I noticed that they had some Earl Grey tea offered by The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants in the bulk section.  I love getting tea in this section because:

  1. The teas are sealed air-tight in tins (not glass or plastic jars).
  2. I can get a sampler size of the tea rather than buying a full 2 – 4 ounces of the tea.
  3. Chuck’s has never let me down when it comes to freshness or quality of products, so I feel confident that I can trust them with tea.

And this Earl Grey is excellent!  I’m glad that I got a little bit of this to try!

When I opened the tin to measure some tea into a small cellophane bag, I was overjoyed by the aroma – a STRONG bergamot fragrance!  It smells amazing.

And I couldn’t wait to try it.  I brewed up a pot later that same evening when I brought it home.  LOVELY!

This is a really wonderful Earl Grey.  I love that the base black tea is a blend of Ceylon and Keemun teas.  This offers a rich, flavorful background that isn’t overly aggressive, but is still bold and full-flavored.  It is a very smooth, well-rounded taste.  It’s not bitter and it’s only very mildly astringent toward the tail.  I like that what little astringency there is here seems to accentuate the tangy qualities of the bergamot flavor.

The bergamot used here is a high quality bergamot.  Full of citrus-y flavor that is highlighted with subtle floral notes, but not at all perfume-ish.  The burst of citrus flavor lasts well into the aftertaste.  The taste buds really perk up from the bright bergamot notes.

So I find that this Earl Grey leaves me in a bit of a quandary.   I have my hierarchy when it comes to Earl Grey.  I have my favorites, to be sure!  But this one is seriously good and it belongs right near the top – at the very least in the top five (if not closer to that number 1 spot!) Should I feel sad that one of my other favorites is becoming displaced by this newcomer, or should I feel overjoyed that I have found a new favorite?  I think the latter rather than the former.

An exceptional Earl Grey – a MUST TRY to those of you who love Earl Grey like I do.