Black Dragon Pearls

Tea type
Black Tea
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Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Toast, Vanilla, Dark Bittersweet, Scotch, Cocoa, Baked Bread, Hay, Honey, Wheat
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jimbo
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 4 g 9 oz / 260 ml

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178 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Thanks to Lena for sharing this with me! First off, the dry leaves (balls) smell like someone sprinkled cocoa on them… not my cat but rather the baking powder. Really surprising. I had a little...” Read full tasting note
  • “Now something unsweet to get me back on track. I first encountered Black Dragon Pearls at Teavana years ago. I fell in love with them. So yummy, so malty, so chocolatey, so good. I was addicted....” Read full tasting note
  • “Backlogging from last night. I tried adding milk to this tea but it pretty much killed the rich, earthy, cocoa-y flavour of the tea, just leaving behind the tanin-y/smokey flavour (I think it’s...” Read full tasting note
  • “I still consider myself to be new to the tea game. Now that Steepster has me reading all of your wonderfulness, I find myself googling things [or binging things – I’m an equal-opportunity search...” Read full tasting note

From Adagio Teas

Hailing from the Yunnan province, this black tea version of the popular Dragon Pearl is naturally sweet and smooth with a touch of earthiness. Comprised of only the highest quality leaves and buds, expertly rolled into a large pearl-like shape. Subtle cocoa notes whisper gently as each pearl unfurls delivering a superior tea experience not to be missed.

About Adagio Teas View company

Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at and in many gourmet and health food stores.

178 Tasting Notes

224 tasting notes

So delayed tasting note since I actually had this over the course of the day yesterday. It was the last tea I had while out on vacation and I steeped it twice, then saved the leaves in my ingenuitea and had two more steeps when I got home that night. Lol.

I put about 4 per 8oz in my cup and have easily gotten 4 steeps out of them (I just add a minute each time). I haven’t tried a fifth steep yet, though I did put the leaves in some water and stuck them in the fridge before I went to bed last night to see what happens. Checked this morning and it’s not looking promising since the water is still very clear with only a hint of tea.

The taste is a very strong, black tea taste. Smooth and kinda rich with no astringency that I could tell, which I always love finding a tea with (without? Lol). I guess malty could be used to describe it if I’m using the word correctly, though I don’t really get the cocoa that other people seem to get. Unless that’s actually what I’m tasting, then it doesn’t really taste like what I think cocoa tastes. Lol.

It also makes a great iced tea by just brewing it normally and sticking it in the fridge to cool then adding ice later. I did this with the second and third steeps the first time I made this and it was just as good as the first two were hot.

I’m not really sure how these are supposed to compare with other companies’ black dragon pearls though. I have the black dragon pearls from Tazo, so it’ll be interesting to see how they compare. Maybe I’ll start collecting them from all the companies and have a big brew taste and compare day. Lol.

I think these are pretty good, though a bit expensive for me to potentially keep around to drink. Though I guess I have to take into account the multiple steeps I get from them. In any case, I’d definitely get these again one day.

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Oooh – I can’t wait to try this one. I’m looking for the perfect pearl. I like the phoenix pearl from Zen Tea Life, but more options is better! (I can send you some of that one too if you’d like to compare!)

Terri HarpLady

I also enjoy comparing the various black dragon pearls. So far I’ve had adagios, Mandala’s, Teavana (no longer available), & thepuritea (red dragon pearls).


Terri – Sil sent me one from TeaVivre that I enjoyed too, so be on the lookout for that. Maybe you could get a free sample? I have one on the way after following them back and replying to their essage. Did you want me to send you some if the Zen Tea pearls? I have 50g coming tomorrow.

Terri HarpLady

I’d love that, Cavo!
I think I tried the teaVivre ones once, but I should probably get more of them to try.

Terri HarpLady

Have you tried the red dragon pearl? I can send you some :)


Cool. I’ll try to send some out this week! :)
And no haven’t! I’d love to try it.


Goodness gracious. I didn’t even notice all these comments on here. Lol.
I’ll have to make a list of all the different companies to start collecting them from.
So what’s the difference between the red & black dragon pearls? Do they taste drastically different? Or is it relatively the same taste?

Terri HarpLady

Thepuritea calls theirs red dragon pearls, but they are basically the same thing. As for taste differences, I’m still trying to compare them all. :)

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714 tasting notes

Steep Information:
Amount: 6 balls
Water: ~16oz filtered, boiling
Tool: Adagio IngenuiTEA 16 oz
Steep Time: a little over 3 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: not really getting anything
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet black tea, coco, earthy, malty
Flavor: malty black tea
Body: Full
Aftertaste: a little astringent, sweet, malty
Liquor: translucent brown

Gift from SoccerMom.

I’ll admit I only wanted it because of the name, DRAGON, RAWR!

It’s a pretty, cute named, black tea.

Post-Steep Additives: lactose free milk, to calm the astringency

Resteep: 5 min, strong black tea, a little astringency


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I dislike the tool you used. Ok, I LOVE mine, but given the fact that you have the option of using your Breville, I hate it. Hehe;) This ain’t bad, even to me.


wow thats a lot of tea to steep. u always do a lot?

Meghann M

Those balls look awesome. I love watching pearls unfurl. Loved the photos on your blog!


@Cofftea but i couldn’t watch them if they were in the breville
@malomorgen really? i usually make 750ml at a time minimum unless i am going to go through a few teas right in a row
@Meghann M thanks :)


Oh yeah… I knew the kettle part was clear, but I forgot about the basket.


I agree w/ malomorgen, the only teas I make in that quantity are chai or iced.


i don’t drink soda i drink tea, and more tea, i drink, at minimum, 1 grande (16oz) no water soy chai latte from starbucks (usually more like 2), 3 8 ounce teaas made with the flavia machine during work (sometimes i use 2x 12oz for the kati in addition or instead of), then when i come home at least 2 750ml breville steeps…and that’s on a slow day


lol before starting to drink tea i used to go through a day with a glass or two of water at times. i know that wasnt healthy but i just wasnt thirsty enough to go and get some. now with tea that’s more like 5-10 cups. just cuz i really like drinking it.
respect to your bladder lol


LOL! I would totally drink more tea if my bladder could handle it malomorgen:) I drink as much as AmazonV does, I just make smaller quantities at a time.


lol at least my bladder can get some respect ;)

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330 tasting notes

I made this a little weak, and not as sweet as I would have preferred. Still pretty good, and I am liking Almond Coconut milk with it.

I’m eyeing the spaces developing in my tea cupboard warily. Tomorrow, I start my 3rd Annual Buy Nothing summer (see my blog, for details) which means I can’t buy anything except living basics from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A little over 3 months.

It’s good for me to start a steepdown and use up all those sample packs and tins I currently have. But there are a few things I’m low on that I love – this tea, Prince Vladimir. Yeeks.

But I know from the last 2 years that I can do this! clutches her cup nervously

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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2201 tasting notes

This tea sample comes courtesy of Sare during our recent swap. Thanks!

I asked for a sample of these pearls out of curiosity. I don’t know if I’ve ever had an Adagio tea, actually, but I do love the black dragon pearls I got from Teavivre so I wanted to compare those with another company’s (not that I’m looking for a replacement!)

The dry pearls smell really quite chocolatey, with maybe a touch of cinnamon, actually. Intriging! Sare sent me 4 pearls so I decided to use them all up in my 12oz mug, and hope that it will be strong enough. Steeped, it smells roasty and grain-y, not much if any chocolate. The flavor could be stronger, but that is likely an effect of using what is probably too few pearls (I think I would normally go with 5). Otherwise it is pleasantly sweetish and honeyed, with a somewhat molasses-y grain-y flavor. Quite a tasty tea, though not going to replace Teavivre’s version any time soon. It was good to get to try these from another vendor!

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2392 tasting notes

Additional notes: Sipdown! Trying all the pearls with the same parameters slowly but surely. (Five pearls, just boiled, rinse, 2 min, 4 min). These are not my favorite, as they seem to be more typical black tea flavored than the chocolate honey deliciousness I usually find in pearls, if that makes sense. Apparently I really liked them last time and I steeped four pearls for FIVE minutes. Whoa. These seem to have hints of cherry in the flavor too. I like these but there are better pearls and now they’re gone. I guess all of these pearls really AREN’T the same. Most of them seem to have slight differences.


Do you have any favourite pearls?


Here is the list so far, but there are a couple I haven’t retried yet. Keep in mind “least favorite” means ALL of these were still rated in the upper 90s! :D

Most favorite
Mandala – Black Pearl
TIED Teasenz- Red Dragon Pearls & Tealux – Black Dragon Pearls
Adagio – Black dragon pearls
Teavivre – Fengqing Dragon Pearl (I prefer a deeper flavor to my pearls!)
Least favorite


That is an awesome list, thank you! Of those, I’ve only tried Teavivre’s.


Thanks! I definitely haven’t tried all the black pearls (Teavana’s and ThePuritea’s weren’t compared yet) but I know there are even more!

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1355 tasting notes

I’m having a quick gaiwan steep of this before I go to bed. I understand that strong caffeine tea is not the best thing to have before bed time but I am up all night anyway as I am very restless and enjoy reading my book. Husband doesn’t mind as long as I use my book light.

Tea: 5p 5 steeps: rinse, 30s,50s,1m10s,1m30s,2m 100ºC/212ºF

First steep
Gold in colour with a malty yet fresh tea with slight sweetness.

Second steep
Deeper golden brown in colour with a strong malty flavour. No bitterness.

Third steep
(The pearls have started to break apart)
Deeply golden brown with an earthy, malty and cocoa taste and smell. The sweetness is also back. So far I’m reminded of a much less sweeter version of Maltesers.

Fourth steep
Now more brown and gold than gold and brown in colour. Malty, strong, slightly bitter now but still with a slightly sweet cocoa finish.

Fifth steep
Brown, gold, red in colour and still malty and deeply earthy in smell. Quite bitter now but still manageable, very malty with no sweetness.

A lovely tea overall with my favourite steep being number 3. If you love malty and strong tea’s then this would be worth a try. :)

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355 tasting notes

Yummy cocoa goodness for a Sunday morning.


i drank this tea this morning too! :)

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110 tasting notes

I am absolutely stunned by the amount of this tea used that other have logged. It seems to be a pretty forgiving brew. I used 6 balls to brew a one pint pot this morning. I decided to try a longer steep, to see if I could get a stronger brew that way. Sorry, just my cheapskate nature showing. Anyway, the tea tolerates a long brew well, and did not develop any bitter or acid flavors. I drank my first cup with milk and sugar, which is not the usual way I take my tea but I was in the mood for it, and it was absolutely delicious. The second cup I took black, and it, too was delicious. Then I prepared a second steep, again brewed for six minutes. It was a touch weaker, but still good.

It makes sense to me that a longer steep would work well with this tea, as it takes some time to unfold, and thus for all of the leaves to come into contact with the water. A shorter steep might very well require more tea to make a tasty cup.

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248 tasting notes

All gone. :(

Nothing super new to say except that when resteeping it really helps to have the right temperature of water! I used to just use whatever was in the kettle, at whatever temperature. However, I now have my zojirushi to use! It’s super awesome. Can’t wait to use it for gong fu cha. I got three cups out of the leaves so far, not sure I’ll push for four. Woo!

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104 tasting notes

Let this one steep for a few extra minutes, and that really helped bring out the flavors. I still can’t put my finger on exactly what the taste is, but it’s smooth and smokey and I like it.

200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec

I’ve never tried this tea (although it is on my list) but some people have likened the taste to dark chocolate.

Cynthia Carter

Smoked salmon, maybe? It has that almost unctuous, smoky feel to it.


LOL, now you’ve probably scared him off this tea Cynthia! ;)

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