Welcome to Part 1 of the Black Pearl Sipoff! I’ve been planning to do this for awhile, so today is the day. I made a special page for it, because I’ve already reviewed each of these teas on their own plenty of times, & because I wanted to be able to post my results on them together, and so that anyone who wants to join the fun can post their results here too, whether the teas are black pearls, green pearls, or whatever. So have fun!
So, for today’s edition, I’m using 4 teas:
- Black Dragon Pearl – Teavana
- Fenqing Dragon Pearl Black – Teavivre
- Red Dragon Pearl – thepuritea (no longer available)
- Black Pearl – Mandala (not currently available)
I was also gonna include mandala’s flowering black tea cones, just for fun, but I forgot & mailed the last of them off to Sil.
Appearance: Although they all looked basically the same, there were a few minor differences in size. It took roughly 5 pearls of each type to equal 5 Grams, with the exception of Teavana’s, which took 7 pearls. The are all black/charcoal gray, with some gold tips, with Mandala’s being the shiniest & most golden, & Teavivre’s having the most ‘matte’ finish.
Teavana – hints of chocolate.
Teavivre – gently malty
I think thepuritea’s also had a chocolate & fruit aroma when I first bought it, but to be fair, there are only a few pearls left in the package, so I didn’t really smell much.
Mandala – Spicy is the only word I can think of
The Bloom test – The photo I used for this page is from the bloom test. I lined up 4 small glass cups, which I like to call ‘jello shot cups’, put one pearl in each cup, & added 1.5oz of hot water. The teas are, from bottom to top: Teavana, Teavivre, the puritea, & Mandala.
Each tea was steeped for 3 minutes, & they all created a dark amber brew, except Teavivre’s is slightly darker, & Mandala’s is more red & the darkest. You might also notice from the pic (which I also posted on my facebook page, if you want to see a bigger version of it, along with a few other pics) that all of the leaves had a darker color, except Mandala’s, which opened bigger on the first steep than the others, & had a lighter brown color.
Teavana – chocolate & malt
Teavivre – Malt & something deeper
thepuritea – malty, & a nutty buttery quality & fruit.
Mandala – Malty & bolder, with a more masculine quality, & a slightly bitter edge.
I gave them a 2nd steeping at 5 minutes.
Teavana had the lightest color, then thepuritea, then teavivre, then mandala.
Thepuritea had the richest taste, mandala the boldest.
To be continued…