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Recent Tasting Notes
As I went to research information on this tea for review purposes, I discovered to my dismay that thepuriTea actually closed, as of December 31, 2013. However, I already had in my possession a sample of these intriguing tea pearls, and it was decided that the review should continue – thank you, Terri HarpLady for the sample. (When have defunct tea companies ever stopped me, before?)
Instructions for steeping this pearl tea involve six pearls, eight ounces of just-boiled water, and three minutes of steeping time. Just before dropping them in my mug and dousing them with water, I inhale the aroma of the dried tea…not too strong with just a touch of maltiness, somewhat like an Assam. Into the cup goes the tea and water, and my timer is set for three minutes.
Contemplating the myriad varieties of tea, which are formed into pearls, I have often wondered how many of those are just gimmicks (due to their form). I have tried jasmine green tea in pearl-form and loose-form, yet one was only better than the other based on the quality of the tea and not the manner in which it was packed. I could make a comparison to loose versus compressed pu’erh, but the reasons for one over the other, there, are far different than for most green and black teas.
My three minutes are done and so is my tea. Decanting it from the brewing vessel into a pre-heated mug, the smell now is more reminiscent of molasses with the undertone of malt. Perhaps due to the three-minute steep time, the scent is quite light. Then I take a sip of the tea. Initially, the flavor seems small, but it explodes across the palate with a sweetness that is unexpected. The molasses and malt flavors are combined with cocoa undertones in a deliciously complex combination of tastes. I drink my way through the cup, slowly, enjoying the nuances and ways, in which this tea shows off the various facets of its flavor.
Adventurously (and for the sake of my curiosity), I decide to resteep the leaves, while I am sipping the first cup. This time, they are left in my two-cup brewing vessel with just-boiled water for an indeterminate, long time (twenty-plus minutes). The result is much darker, due to the extra time, but surprisingly low in astringency. Cocoa notes have become more dominant, but the flavor is still reminiscent of that first, tasty cup.
I am very glad that I got to try this tea, before it became unavailable. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate thepuriTea’s Red Dragon Pearl Tea an 86/100.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Molasses
I got this sample from thepuriTea before they went out of business. I’m bummed they went out of business because I liked a lot of their offerings…
The dry leaf doesn’t smell much like lychee in the sample tin I got, but after brewing it, you can definitely taste the lychee there. It’s subtle, but a bit juicy and fresh. I agree with moraiwe that there’s something floral about this. It’s really very elegant and doesn’t taste fake in any way like a lot of flavored green teas. I’ll have to look around for another lychee green tea because I really liked this. It might be good as a cold brew as well.
Oh man, I really liked this one! It has a DEEP, deep flavor that makes you worry at first it’s going to get bitter, but it doesn’t (might’ve helped that I listened to the Steepster advice about steeping only 4 minutes); instead you get strong cocoa, wood, a little tobacco, and lots of delicious raisin. I love that instead of sweet potato you do get pumpkin. Brandy too, to go with the raisins, yes! I even detect the brown sugar from the copy; for once I seem to get everything described and in spades. This isn’t a tea I could drink all willy-nilly as it’s so intense and there’s a lot going on, but wow what an experience. Something about it, maybe the smoothness and depth of the malt, reminds me a little of Dragon Pearls. Resteeps well too. Seems to be a thing with me, loving Bi Luo-style curls (Bi Luo Chun is possibly my favorite general green tea style). I’m guessing out of my ass here but it seems like somehow twisting and curling the leaves contributes sweet richness. I love the way it looks too. Very bummed I can never restock this one now as thepuriTea is gone. :(
Another sample tea from the now defunct puriTea (boo).
I’m not really super excited by most white teas and this is no exception. I’m sure it’s fine but I can’t seem to find the “sweet spot” that brings forth the promised flavors. I get a bit of nuttiness and something that reminds me of clover but it needs something, it’s far too mild & benign for my tastes. I think I will try cold brewing the rest of this.
I bought two of these sample with their going out of business sale. I knew I’d love it — it’s Yunnan. But I just needed samples because I have many other Yunnan samples. :D The leaves come in a tiny tin enough for a few servings! Kind of tough to scoop the leaves out though. The leaves are mostly gold – but enough darker color to promise some chocolate flavor!
Steep #1 // just boiled // 4 min
I went with 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons. Kind of tough to tell since I had to add a little at a time in order not to spill the leaves everywhere. The taste is lovely of course… I don’t think Yunnan can be terrible. The first thing I notice is actually the texture of the tea – it actually does seem like honey, which makes sense because it tastes like honey. With just enough chocolate flavor… I guess you could say to keep it interesting… but Verdant’s Golden Fleece has NO chocolate flavor, and that blend is something amazing. But I love all this honey and a bit of chocolate. I guess at this point I’m great at being able to tell how much honey/chocolate flavor there will be just by seeing the amount of gold/black in the leaves.
Steep #2 // a few minutes after boiling // 7 min
Another lovely cup! This cup might have more chocolate than honey for some reason. I love this tea. Honey & a hint of dark chocolate. A tea like this must be a cupboard staple at all times. Sadly, it won’t be thePuritea’s blend.
I haven’t been leaving a whole lot of notes recently… But it seems I rarely drink anything new nowadays – and definitely not for the lack of it! Perhaps I am attempting sipdowns with some of my favorites and not-so-favorites. Not that they have ever gone to a sipdown level yet.
I adore green oolongs. I am not so sure about the dark ones yet – I mean, I do like them, but when I need a super-comfort tea, I turn to green oolongs usually. This one is delicious and awesome.
I also noticed that I am not too fond of flavored oolongs. I love them plain – although the choice of the word ‘plain’ is pretty misplaced ;) But you guys know what I mean.
I think I might start treating the tasting notes partially as a tea log / tea musings space. I hope noone will mind.
Had this yesterday while wrapping up Season 4 of Buffy. Very tasty! I think I just like dragon pearls though—I haven’t had any yet I didn’t enjoy. This brewed up a nice malty, deep chocolate cup that was very satisfying, edged with smoky and cold weather harvest flavors (think apples, prunes, maple) making one think of fall, winter, seasons of dormancy when things below ground. I think I may steal Terri’s idea of using pearls as a purse-friendly portable option. Yum. Also, resteeps very well; I got 4 solid infusions and might’ve been able to keep going but figured that was enough caffeine for a while. Didn’t make me jittery either but gave me that “calm focused energy” thing tea is known for.
Such a bummer thepuritea is gone now; I’ve enjoyed the samples I grabbed in their going out of business sale. Knew that’d be a bittersweet experience—if I liked the teas it’d be with the knowledge they’re impossible to restock and if I didn’t, well, then I’ve had tea I didn’t like. I guess it’s better this way, the former, but ah well.
This sample is probably from Sil. Thanks, Sil! :)
I have two other teas waiting for second-and-third steeps, but I decided to have something different. I’m contrary like that. :)
The result is… no. It’s way too roasty-toasty for me.
Sorry, thepuriTea. It’s me, not you.
I have a funny story about these!
My husband told me the other day that he didn’t have any Red Dragon Pearls left in his work stash, and that he could use some. So, yesterday I put a little container of them in his lunch bag, marked “Red Dragon Pearl Tea” clearly on a label on the lid of the container.
He said that he opened the container in the middle of eating his lunch whilst working and not really paying attention, and thought they were chocolates (!) and popped five in his mouth!
Let’s just say he quickly realized they were not actually chocolate.
He spit them out — I asked if he then brewed them but he threw them away! What a waste of Red Dragon Pearls :(
This continues to be one of my faves — not a week goes by where I don’t have it at least once. Chocolate notes, yeah, but NOT CHOCOLATE!
Ooh, ooh! Pretty good! I think I am totally getting this tea this morning. The body is extremely rich, lovely bitterness hits me on the head, which obviously wakes me up. Aroma turns out to be persistently sweet, at least this time. Every sip is extremely enjoyable. I think there’s a great black tea lover hidden inside of me!
It’s like 2:40 PM but it’s morning for me. It really is. My assam tea understands it.
I am on the second steep of this right now. While I still enjoy this oolong a lot, I think I will take the rating down a bit as I see less and less difference between this one and the oolongs I recently had from Golden Moon Tea. As before, this one is smooth and sweet.
Oolongs are great reading companions (Probably because you don’t have to get your mind off a book in order to try to decide on another tea – you can simply just resteep what you had!).
I had to order a couple SAMPLES from thepuritea with their going out of business sale. So sad! This was a free sample with my order which I really wanted to try, but at that point they didn’t have the samples in the tins. It looks slightly like Zen’s Phoenix “Pearls” (snails). The leaves are slightly wound up with gold color.
Steep #1 // 3 min // around ten minutes after boiling
I only waited a few minutes after boiling because I was undecided about what to have. The cup was nice anyway. It’s kind of between chocolate and sweet potato… not really either… just a really nice black tea. Tough to describe! I wonder if black teas always tasted like chocolate and sweet potato to me, I just never noticed the flavors.
Steep #2 // 4 min // right after boiling
Slightly astringent this time around and much darker in color. A nice robust cup! Malty, lingering, much more chocolatey this time around. There is a leaf in the bottom of my mug somehow that actually DOES look like a snail. erm, ew. Other than the snail, this one is a winner! It will be missed but I will savor the remains of my sample.
This tasted more vegetal than roasty – more of a green oolong than a darker one. It was ok, but milder than I would like even after steeping for 4 minutes. I much prefer the dark premium red robe from Mandala tea. The second steep at 5 minutes was not very flavorful.
Nice morning tea… Well, it’s way past noon, but it is morning for me! I am already mentally planning my weekend off with tea, and this darjeeling sure helps me to focus. I am also trying to resist various free shipping offers on various tea selling websites. And yes, this tea helps me to withstand the temptation. Somehow.
I’ve got a couple of swap boxes to pack up today, & I want to thank the people I agreed to swap with for their patience. December was such a crazy busy month, in a good way, but still very exhausting, & then I kind of hid out at Tony’s for a week or so. So I feel like I’m just finally getting my feet back on the ground, & I’ll have to take off running soon because I have my big annual Birthday Gala performance in a couple of weeks, & all I’ve played for the last month or so has been HoliDaze music. Gotta pull out my lead sheets & brush up on my Jazz, start warming up my vocal chords too, update my website, & promote the event so people will come! If you build it, they will come! :)
This is the ‘Pearl’ tea that proved to me that all pearl teas are not the same. This one features a sweet fruity richness, along with a little malt & a dark chocolate finish. I’ve enjoyed this tea, & have enough for one more cup, which I might send to a friend, still not sure who, & then it will be a sipdown. I’m sorry to see this company go.
So this is what milk oolongs are all about! Super-smooth-tasting numerous steepings a color of winter sunrise. I certainly loved every sip of this and only wish I had a gaiwan to be able to prolong the experience and turn it into a little ritual. But getting a gaiwan is my New Year’s resolution… I sure do have easier and easier resolutions the older I get ;D
Just what I need on a cold, cold morning – honey, toasty warmth with a little peppery kick at the end of the swallow. Delicious. Regrettably I have only a small sample tin to enjoy and cannot reorder since thepuritea selections have disappeared with the close of the business. C’est la vie!