This was the first time experiencing the moonlight dragon ball from Teavivre and I really loved it! As a sprouting tea nerd I was intimidated by the dragon ball (I really didn’t know how to handle this thing with my little gaiwan but didn’t mess up my precious sample) but I got some wonderful results:
First, I gave the tea two rinses (10 sec each) to open up the leaves a bit: the rinses didn’t do much to the consistency of the ball but released the most beautiful, strong and honey-like sweetness that made me really excited for the session.
I decided to go with a bigger teapot and 300ml of water for one ball of tea. Experimenting with steeping time and temperature and settled with 3-4 minutes and about 90-95°C water temperature (cooler water around 75°C did taste watered down). The first 4 steeps were 3 minutes long, after that I decided to go with 4 minutes per steep. Longer than that got too bitter for my taste. After the first steep being very light, like water with a bit of honey, the flavour really opened up in the 2nd and 3rd steep and from the 4th steep on getting woodier. Overall I got 9 solid steeps out of it.
My best description is euphoric honey water that heart- and body-warmingly ran down my throat like sweet nectar. It also has hints of dates and almond milk. From the 2nd steep on you can taste a hint of the darker notes to come. It stayed strongly sweet until steep no. 7 (after that the ball was fully disintegrated) But the taste grew a lot darker, a bit calmer (less euphoric), more like honeydew honey, and woodier, like a forrest (it also reminds me of some kind of black tea). It also got a tiny bit bitter and astringent (but in a pleasant way). From the 8th steep on the aroma didn’t change much anymore.
I really enjoyed this complex evolution of the aroma and figure it to be an effect of the tightly pressed ball shape that releases fresh, dry leaves for many steepings. At least I’ve haven’t had a white tea before that changed so much in one session. On the other hand I am a beginner without great experience in gong fu style brewing or many solid tastings under my belt.
At least with my method (300ml per steep, almost 3 liters of tea overall) the ball size is a bit big for just one person – unless you want to drink big cups of tea all day long. But I can’t wait to prove this to be the perfect party tea! I have a couple of friends who like to enjoy a taste from my little tea collection when they visit. Until now I always was conflicted between sharing my most delicious tea experiences with them (using a small brewing vessel, gong fu style in my gaiwan, many steepings and different teas after one another) and serving 3 to 5 people said tea without getting stressed out (short brewing times, a lot of steepings and teas, spilling hot water over a busy dinner table due to my beginner gaiwan skills, etc.). With longer steeping times, more tea to serve in one batch and a tea that thrives under said conditions (heavenly taste, changing greatly throughout the session plus evoking a bit of tea drunkenness) I am equipped for the next dinner party! So far they’ve loved all of my white teas; this will be a great surprise for them!
Flavors: Almond, Dates, Honey, Honey Dew, Maple Syrup, Rose, Wood