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

52 tasting notes

First off, I love that everyone is cracking jokes about the balls. Glad I’m not the only one whose mind went right to the gutter on that joke….

Right now, this is actually my favorite Adagio tea. I love the strength of this flavor. There is a mild hint of cocoa…which is delightful.

I tend to make this tea more at work. I use the Adagio filters & create my own teabag. I leave the filter teabag in the cup while drinking. I find the flavor doesn’t get bitter. And I luck out when making a second cup. The flavor stays as strong as the first cup.

This is definitely a morning tea to wake the dead. I now pass on my morning cup of coffee for a cup of Black Dragon Pearls.

Since reading the reviews, I’m going to have to make a pot in my clear glass teapot & watch the pearls come undone. I’m surprised I haven’t done that yet.

And I don’t care how they make the pearls stay in the ball shape. I’m just thankful for the delicious flavor!

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17 tasting notes

This stuff rocks. I treat myself to it when I want something robust but I’m not quite in the mood for coffee and its epic dehydrating powers.

It’s most interesting at 4.5 minutes, 2 pearls per 8oz. The cocoa notes are really there — no finely-tuned connoisseur bullshit. A bit astringent, very full-bodied, and ultra satisfying. There’s maltiness there, but it isn’t dominant. When brewed for 5+ minutes, the maltiness overwhelms the complexity and it tends toward a typical Irish Breakfast-y taste.

The second infusion is good and strong, but nothing special — again, more like an Irish Breakfast tea. I usually just toss it after the first infusion or rebrew for a housemate.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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19 tasting notes

I absolutely love this stuff — it’s my all-time favorite tea to drink. Anytime. Anywhere. You can’t deny the cocoa malty goodness, combined with the honey-sweet earthiness here. I also wrote a review for the Teavana BDP, where you’ll find a more in-depth review. Although I think they get this tea from the same farmer, what’s nice about Adagio’s is you can get 3 oz. of this tea for $15, rather than 2 oz. for $15 at Teavana.

There are a few things a I want to note about difference between Teavana’s and Adagio’s BDP. Let me preface: I’ve only ordered this stuff twice (the first time being from Teavana, this time being from Adagio). Anywho, here’s some points of difference:

- Adagio’s is significantly lighter than Teavana’s. Adagio’s resembles a deep, golden brown, whereas Teavana’s was almost black like coffee
- With Adagio’s, I don’t really taste the sweetness that I did out of Teavana’s batch.
- I can only manage to get 2-3 strong cups before it starts getting noticeably weaker, whereas with Teavana’s I wouldn’t taste huge weakness until the 4th cup or more. Those are the main differences. Now, I do understand each year the harvests can be different. I did get the 2011 batch from Adagio, so if both Adagio and Teavana get this stuff from the same place then I’m sure Teavana’s has these characteristics, too. When I’m done with my Adagio batch I’ll have to get a sample from Teavana and report back here.

In any case, you’re really making a mistake by not grabbing a bag of this tea!! I use three pearls for 8 oz. of water.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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266 tasting notes

Brewed using 2 pearls in a basket infuser with a 6oz teacup. The vendor’s description was dead on as it was a surprisingly sweet and smooth brew, with a lingering sweetness upon the lips after each sip. While I would not call it as being earthy, I would agree with the subtle cocoa notes but quite honestly they are light enough that I doubt I would have noticed them without looking for them without it being in the official tasting description. I was also impressed that I was able to get a second good cup of tea on a the compressed pearl limiting the exposure of the leaves to the water during the first brew. An excellent black tea that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys black tea and one that if I drank more black teas would order in a size larger than a sample size.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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15 tasting notes

This tea is one of the best Yunnan black teas I’ve had all year (2009). It is amazingly sweet, smooth, and chocolatey, with a maple syrup note- exactly what I’m looking for a good YG! I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends, and I’ve found it’s a great “converter tea”… if you have a friend who is not normally a tea drinker, give them this one, and 9 out of 10 will convert instantly on the spot.

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43 tasting notes

I was skeptical about Black Dragon Pearls, it appeared that they were just made for flash and not for taste. But I had to try them anyways. The tea pleasantly surprised me. It has a nice robust flavor, but it is not bitter. The cocoa notes are strong and pleasant. I am really beginning to enjoy teas from the Yunnan region.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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21 tasting notes

Boom Baby!

Oh yeah. A great Chinese black.

4 or 5 pearls /cup.

Get you some.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80 tasting notes

Mmm I’m one of the few who really like this one. I get a really full rich brew from this and get the the coco notes towards the ends of the cup when it’s cooling down. It’s very comforting on a windy fall day.

I love to watch the little balls unfurl themselves coming out of their cocoons. It’s the perfect use for my IngenuiTEA pot from adagio.

I used 4 balls at 5 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s best the first two steepings I’m still fiddling a bit with the brewing time on the third.

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162 tasting notes

Earthy and dark. Full bodied and almost chocolaty. I was surprised to like this since I don’t always go for teas this dark. Neat to watch the pearls unfurl.


The 2nd and 3rd infusions just aren’t as fun since they’re unfurled. Just as good though.

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434 tasting notes

This review will probably end up being a little unique among my most recent reviews. For one thing, I have not reviewed anything from Adagio Teas in a long time. For another, this is the first negative review I have posted in a considerable amount of time. I generally do not like to post negative reviews and tend to steer clear of things I dislike, but at the time I purchased this tea (not all that long ago), I had no clue I would react to it the way I did. I mean, I love Yunnan black teas, so how would I have known I would not care for this one?

I prepared this tea gongfu style. For this session, I went with a fairly thin-walled 5 ounce easy gaiwan with a relatively slow pour. After a quick rinse, I steeped just over 7 grams of dragon pearls in 5 ounces of 212 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I caught aromas of cedar, toast, and malt from the dry dragon pearls. After the rinse, I began to pick up roasted nuts, vanilla, pine, and chocolate on the nose. The bouquet after the first proper infusion was virtually identical. In the mouth, I found subdued notes of cream, malt, chocolate, toast, and cedar. Subsequent infusions brought the cream out on the nose and flavors of pine, roasted nuts, and vanilla out in the mouth. At times, I also picked up caramel, orange, raisin, plum, smoke, leather, and minerals. The tea washed out quickly. It had very little staying power. By the end of the session, I was mostly just picking up a wash of pine, minerals, malt, cream, and toast, occasionally with a touch of very vague lingering fruitiness.

While I used to like Adagio Teas quite a bit and will likely always hold a place in my heart for several of their offerings (Adagio Teas introduced me to the wonderful world of loose leaf tea as a teenager), I have been far from thrilled with the last couple of teas I have tried from them. This tea, in particular, was a disappointment for me. While using a bit more leaf and a different vessel may have boosted this tea’s longevity somewhat, its strangely slick, thin body and its almost soapy texture would have still been off-putting for me. Furthermore, I am willing to bet that its aromas and flavors would still be sorely lacking in depth. I know I’m being very hard on this tea, but it struck me as being somewhat off at the start of the session and it only got worse from there. I would even venture to say that something about it struck me as almost artificial. There was an almost chemical, detergent-like edge to its smokiness and cedary, piney qualities that really struck me as odd. All in all, I was just not a fan of this tea in the least.

Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Toast, Vanilla

Boiling 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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