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