Malawi Zomba Pearls White Tea

Tea type
White Tea
White Tea Leaves
Bok Choy, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Sugarcane, Chocolate, Malt, Melon, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Cucumber, Butter, Hay, Lemon, Straw, Umami, Freshly Cut Grass, Lettuce, Zucchini
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 79 oz / 2336 ml

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From What-Cha

A unique tightly wound white tea from Malawi that produces an equally unique taste of tangy cucumber with a thick buttery texture and no trace of astringency.

A great tea for multiple brewing, with it taking in excess of six steeps for the pearls to fully unwind. Another unique tea from Malawi that must be tried.

Sourced direct from Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi who are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of great tea production while caring for the local environment, providing their employees a fair wage and contributing to the local community.

Tasting Notes:
- Smooth texture
- No astringency or bitterness
- Brilliant taste of tangy cucumber
Origin: Satemwa Tea Estate, Malawi, Africa
Brewing Advice:
- Heat water to roughly 80°C/176°F
- Use 4-5 pearls per cup/small teapot
- Brew for 3-4 minutes
- Always remove the leaves from the water once the tea has brewed
- Re-use the leaves multiple times and increase steeping time with each subsequent infusion
- Best without milk

About What-Cha View company

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17 Tasting Notes

7 tasting notes

I have found that I really enjoy most teas from Malawi. I really appreciate What-cha for obtaining so many great teas from this location.
I think (for me) it might be the soil that the tea is grown in because I have yet to find a tea from Malawi that doesn’t have a rich deep earthy yet green flavor – and I can lose myself in the taste.
This tea is no exception. The flavor is of a warm dark soil yet sweet and slightly vegetal.
I like to brew this tea Gong Fu style, where I run close-to-boiling water over it in a flash steep and can get many cups out of a few pearls.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Sugarcane

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g

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335 tasting notes

Had this last night. It was very light in flavor. The color reminded me of some South Indian white tea I had. That tea was a lot stronger in taste.

This is my first Malawi tea I’ve had. This is another tea I am going to do gong fu to see if they flavor will be stronger.

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358 tasting notes

Recently finished up my sample of this that I’d slowly been working through over time. 2014 sample.

I was initially drawn to this tea because I was interested in trying Malawian tea and because of the unique shape it is rolled into.

I am a white tea fan, and I feel like this is one I definitely would like to try a fresher harvest of and that I would stock up on for the future, as these three year old leaves made for a fantastic sipping experience.

The liquor of this tea steeps out smooth and thick with a nice viscosity. The flavor is sweet and fresh to start, with notes of crisp melon, and as it opens up it becomes more bold with notes of chocolate and malt—not uncommon for white teas to take on some black tea characteristics after time. A nice sweetness lingers on the nose as you sip, and the color settles out to a nice gold. Definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Melon, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

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61 tasting notes

Baltic amber color liquor, unique zucchini and canteloupe type flavor. Soothing.

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536 tasting notes

Backlog from Aug 28th- 175F, 80ml gaiwan, 4g
Soft, tangy melon, thick mouthfeel. Steeped it 5 times. Leaves never fully unfurled so I’ll probably try it with hotter water next time. I liked what I got, but feel like I didn’t get everything it had to offer.

Flavors: Melon, Thick

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333 tasting notes

I have been curious about the teas at What-Cha for a long time, and finally placed an order. This is the first one I’m trying from them!

The dry scent of these pearls is very appealing—deeply fragrant, almost like a good black tea. The pearls are of an interesting oblong shape and slowly unwind during steeping. I used 4 pearls as recommended and water below boiling (unfortunately my tea thermometer seems not to have survived the latest move…)

The flavor of the tea has a definite roasty edge to it, but is otherwise a light, juicy white tea, with a hint of hay and fruit. The contrast between these flavors is quite refreshing. I haven’t gotten the cucumber notes that others have described, but maybe with a little more experimentation it might come out. This would be great as a lighter tea to have any time of day, and I’m glad to try these teas that I might otherwise have never heard of!

White Antlers

Great review, Mikumofu. This is a favorite of mine, too.


Thank you! I am very happy to have discovered it :)

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15662 tasting notes

Sipdown (130)!

So, I’ve had a busy week because… I’m moving!

Not to a new city or anything crazy; just across the city and out of my parent’s house (again). I’ll be living with two of my closest coworkers, which I think is a pretty awesome arrangement. Honestly, I’m really looking forward to it! The downside, of course, is packing. In between working full time I’ve barely been able to focus on packing: I’ve set a mini goal of doing a box a day of packing though and since I don’t start moving until February 1st I think that’ll give me enough time to have everything boxed up. However, because my attention has been elsewhere I’ve gone and built up a queue of backlogged tasting notes: I was so proud of myself for staying on top of them! That sure didn’t last long though.

Right at the top of the queue is this tea, which I finished off mid week last week Gong Fu in a glass gaiwan. I really wanted to get to look at the leaf while it was infusing because it’s so pretty. The tea was good too; very light body overall but with yummy lemon, malt, and butter notes.

This was also the gong fu session where I’d ordered crepes from a local specialty shop. I was trying to put my new food pairing knowledge to practice so I got a lemon meringue crepe which I thought would compliment the sweet, confectionery and lemon notes of the tea. However, the crepe place just floured my crepe with lemon curd and it was so strong that, while the flavours suited each other, the flavour of the crepe drowned out the delicate profile of the tea. Thankfully I’d gotten in a good four or five infusions before the crepes arrived and put a bit of an end to the session.

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894 tasting notes

I was really excited when this tea came out around October, but it’s been sitting in my untrieds box for months.

The dry leaf is wound into oblong shapes that make me think of cocoons. They’re irregular in size, and not tightly wound like most pearl tea. The smell is hay with an intense freshly cut grass note.

I steeped five pearls in 80C water for 4 minutes. The liquor has a medium gold colour and a faint smell. Taste, this has some sweet, hay like notes at the front of the sip, but then quickly develops a cool, juicy vegetal flavour, akin to cucumbers and iceberg lettuce, with a hint of zucchini.

I’m drinking this hot, but my mouth really wants to try this cold – the cool veggie notes just seem like they would be so well suited to an iced tea.

The pearls have barely started to unwind. Rather than hot steep another cup of this, I think I will throw them into the fridge to do a cold brew overnight, and we shall see what the results are.

Very tasty, and I think my favourite of the Malawi teas I’ve tried from What-cha.

Flavors: Cucumber, Freshly Cut Grass, Hay, Lettuce, Zucchini

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

My brain read the name as ‘Zombie Pearls’ and I had to do a double-take. :D


Haha I read it as zombie too. :)

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921 tasting notes

Using someone’s else computer is just weird, Ben specifically got a larger keyboard and mouse to avoid his hands cramping. I have especially tiny hands and a much smaller keyboard and mouse because of that, meaning my hands are cramping and I keep typing wrong and clicking the wrong things. I will get used to it in a day or so, but it is still just really weird. Also, while typing this I am watching Ben play Dragon Age Inquisition, it is good to be back!

So, since last Wednesday and yesterday was taken up by holiday shenanigans, I decided to have a What-Cha Thursday this week, it does not flow as nicely though, so I shall stick with Wednesdays. Today I am looking at Malawi Zomba Pearls White Tea, first brought to my attention when What-Cha was having a sale at the end of October and fellow tea blogger and Steepster member said they should be called Zombie Pearls for Halloween, it has not been anything in my mind since then. These neat little rolled leaves (they look a little like cocoons!) hail from the Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi and definitely fit into the unique category of teas from that estate. The aroma of the little pearls is a zingy mix of cucumber, pepper, bok choy, lettuce, and a little bit of sweet hay at the finish. It borders on savory, but stays more in the refreshing and bright spectrum. It really smells like some delicious drink or even sandwich one would consume on a summer day when seeking something cool and refreshing.

Giving the little pearls a steeping causes them to unfurl a bit, not a huge unfurling yet. They have a refreshing aroma, like their dry counterparts, but it is a bit more savory this time around with notes of bok choy, cooked bell pepper,fresh cucumber, and pepper. At the finish there is a tiny bit of sweet hay, but mostly it is cooked veggies. The liquid is a savory blend of cucumbers, lettuce, and a bit of hay and spinach.

So, the first steep is light yet quite distinct, one of the first teas I have ever thought tasted crisp, like biting into a fresh cucumber and lettuce. It is quite unique! There are also notes of cooked bell peppers at the middle and a finish of fresh sugar cane juice and very slight citrus. I definitely love how refreshing this tea tastes, it even feels like eating a cooling cucumber.

The aroma of the second steep is identical in notes, but increased in intensity, it is really quite mouthwatering and refreshing. I especially find myself amused by the cucumber notes, I do not run into that very often and when I do, they are usually very light and not a primary note. So, have you ever grown cucumbers, the tiny ones, and eaten one fresh from the garden? It is cool and crisp and surprisingly sweet, I mean cucumbers are not the most savory veggies in existence, but these have a unique sweetness. The first sip of the second steep captures that taste nigh perfectly, it is sweet with a touch of savory. This transitions to bok choy and a tiny bit of lettuce, like the first steep the finish is sugar cane and still rather cooling.

For the last steep, the leaves have almost entirely unfurled and the liquid is a glorious golden, in fact, the aroma of the liquid has taken on a sunny feel. Not so much cooling cucumber, now it is warm sweet hay and cut grass, there is a hint of cucumber and lettuce, but it is now mostly sweet. The taste takes its cues from the aroma, delicately sweet and warm with notes of hay, sugar cane juice, and a finish of cucumber. I really enjoy how this steep starts warm and finishes with a cooling sensation. I have inevitably already finished my sample, but plan on getting this tea for light summer steeping, I expect it will help keep me cool during the long Kansas City summers.

For blog and photos:


I must try Zombie Pearls in a gaiwan. I loved this tea but didn’t get the cucumber.


This tea is pretty fantastic in a gaiwan, when I get myself more I want to experiment with some grandpa style steeping and cold brewing. I feel like I also tried it western style but it left not impression on me, this was also a day I was in a busy tizzy so that could be why.

Let me know if you get cucumber if you brew it in a gaiwan :D


Love the review, their maybe a new ‘zombie’ tea about to go on sale shortly


Hehe, don’t tempt me, I am supposed to spend my money on fixing my computer :P though that might be difficult!


You may find a sample of it shortly ;)


Oooh! Exciting!

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1719 tasting notes

It’s 6 AM. I’ve already had my morning green tea powder. Started to grab a black tea when I remembered this was still in the press from yesterday. This is the third western mug and the pearls have loosened up a lot. I suspect being left for several hours allowed them time to unfurl. One review I read elsewhere said it took 7 steeps to get the leaf to relax. The liquor is golden this morning. The scent is different today. It reminds me of a high mountain oolong from Taiwan. The aroma is fruity and floral. The taste is different too. The butter is gone. This now has a tangy bite at the beginning that fades quickly into a flavor I don’t quite know how to describe. It is kind of earth, slightly mushroom, and nutty. Combined with the aroma it makes for a great cup.


Zombie pearls :) You know we’re all thinking that.


Hah, I totally was. :P


I know how to describe the taste now… it tastes like BRAINS Muwahahahaha!


Yep, I was just going to say zombie pearls too. :D

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