From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve never tried white tea dragon balls before, so this was a must-experience! The compressed leaves are mostly dark brown/black, although there are a couple of silver buds evident on the surface. There are also some leaves, so I’m guessing this is a pai mu tan style white. The scent is sweet and a little malty, with a light mushroom note that reminds me of Teavivre’s Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh. I’m brewing western style at work, so I used 1 ball (they are seriously large!), and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The ball is still tightly rolled, and nowhere close to unravelling.

To taste, it’s pleasantly sweet with a touch of hay and a light floral note. Pretty standard white tea, in other words. I think more steeps are required!

Second steep, and the ball is just starting to unravel a little. It’s still fairly tightly rolled, however. The liquor this time is a little darker, with an almost greenish tinge. It smells more strongly floral (peony), but tastes very similar to the first steep. Sweet, with notes of hay and a light floral.

Third steep, and it’s unravelled a little further. It’s still a ball, though, except now bits are sticking out! The liquor has retained its greenish cast, and is otherwise unchanged in flavour, although it has taken on a slight creaminess.

I’m sure this one would be good for many, many more steeps, but I’m running out of time at work. I guess I’ll have to call it a day here for now, but this is definitely one I’d be happy to try again in the future, should the opportunity arise.

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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