The aroma of the dry pearls is intoxicating, and the aroma of the brewed liquor is no less so. In the first infusion, there’s a pronounced winelike flavor and aroma, with deep chocolate undertones, smoothed by a faintly sweet, almost-vanilla flavor. As the liquor cools, the tangy-sweet taste of baked berry pie emerges, and when it cools to lukewarm there’s the creamy flavor of a chocolate malted milk shake, but with just the right amount of natural sweetness. If you enjoy self-drinker teas that need no added milk or sugar, you’ll love this one.
In the middle infusions, the chocolate and fruit gradually give way to the flavor of malt. In the later infusions, there are some light toasted tobacco notes in the aroma, but the flavor is pure malt. Surprisingly (for a red tea), the flavor becomes progressively sweeter (although lighter) in the 4th and 5th infusions, much like a fine ripe pu-erh. But there’s no pu-erh earthiness here.
I infuse for 2:30 for the first infusion to get the pearls to open, then drop to 1:30 for #2, and lengthen the steeping time for later infusions.
Red Dragon Pearl is truly an extraordinary and unique tea—very complex and more interesting tea than most other black teas I’ve tasted. I’m hooked for life; I will never be without this tea.