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I neglected to buy milk again this morning, and so I’m breaking out the Black Dragon Pearls I’ve had sitting in my desk drawer for some time now. On opening the packet, I’m pleased to discover that they smell of cocoa. I’m equally pleased to discover how pretty they are – light brown and almost-black marble-sized pearls – totally unique!

While brewing, this tea remains a delight. It’s kind of relaxing watching the pearls slowly unfurl. It brews slowly, too, perhaps because of how tightly the pearls are formed. I quite like that in a tea I’m going to drink without milk – I feel it gives me more control over how strong/astringent the tea becomes. I left this about three and a half minutes, until it’s a medium golden-brown. It smells, just like it does dry, quite strongly of cocoa. It’s a deep, dark, pleasant smell. Just what I want in my Monday morning tea.

The taste is more delicate than I was expecting, given that it has quite a strong, deep smell. For some reason, I felt a little trepidation about trying this tea, which is probably why it languished in my drawer for so long. It was completely unwarranted, though. I’m enjoying this tea a lot. It’s complex, unusual, and flavoursome. It’s sort of chocolatey and very smooth, with a slight toasted bitterness to the aftertaste. Despite my reservations, it really is very moreish.

I surprised myself by liking this. My last experience with a Yunnan wasn’t a great one, but I’m on my second cup of this now, and I think it’s sizing up to be one of those tea I want to keep on hand. I should forget to buy milk more often, I think – it really challenges my tea drinking habits, to interesting effect.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
KittyLovesTea

These are lovely, I remember serving them to my husband who said he wouldn’t like it and he ended up telling me to buy a large bag lol. Nice review. :)

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KittyLovesTea

These are lovely, I remember serving them to my husband who said he wouldn’t like it and he ended up telling me to buy a large bag lol. Nice review. :)

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is not to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norwich, UK

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