Trying these bad boys tonight. I bought a sample of them in October when I learned that the DT closest to me actually got a stock of them. I had resisted before based on not knowing how I feel about jasmine, but the smell is just hypnotic. I have had jasmine in other teas but always have this fear in the back of my mind that it will be too strong and perfumey – despite that never having happened!
The dry smell of these pearls (really, like the Teavivre pearls, they are about the size of marbles. SO beautiful!) is sweet jasmine with a hint of bitter black tea underneath. I’m thinking the sweetness of the jasmine is so striking that it makes the black tea seem bitter in contrast, hopefully I don’t get any of that once steeped.
The beau and I did 4 pearls to our medium pot, steeped at 95 degrees for about three minutes. The first cup was basic black tea, a bit mild with a hint of sweet. Thre was a hint of jasmine at the back of the sip, but it was so unassuming that I almost thought it was just part of the tea itself. The second cup has quite a bit of astringency, but no bitterness. I’m thinking some crumbs may have been in the pot and continued steeping. The jasmine is stronger here too, it rounds out the tea quite nicely, but the tea itself is a bit too one-dimensional. I would like to get some malt or chocolate here, something with a bit of depth to balance the jasmine.
All that said, this is a nice tea. This is a special tea. I get that. This is NOT an amazing tea. For the price ($14 for 50 grams) I was pretty disappointed. I would much rather have Teavivre’s black pearls or Davids Yunnan Black. While I will definitely re-steep this and enjoy the remains of my 20 gram sample (about 20 pearls) I won’t be buying more. Hopefully I remember to try to steep it a little differently next time and see if I can improve it. If it cost less, it would get higher rating but at that price point I expect my tea to be more interesting. I think a better base tea could have made a big difference here.