Review: China Dragon Phoenix Pearls
In China, the phoenix and the dragon are a symbol of marriage, the blissful union between husband and wife. In Teaflection’s China Dragon Phoenix Pearls, they have created a wonderful union between the heady floral scents of jasmine intertwined with the smooth, creamy mellowness of green tea. This tea is not an overpowering flowery punch in the face, but instead a mild, oolong green taste rounded out by the aroma and sweet taste of jasmine flowers. If you are a tea drinker who loves jasmine against a backdrop of green tea, this tea is for you. This is definitely a go-to for an everyday tea; it can serve very well as an accompaniment to a meal, as well as having enough body and taste to stand on its own.
I won this tea as a winner in the Teaflections weekly haiku contest. Each week, they give out a free tea sample to the winning submission of tea-themed haiku. Head over there to submit your own.
From the mountains near the Chinese city of Funding comes this fine green tea. Each tea leaf and bud is picked in April/May and then rolled by hand into tiny pearl sized balls which are wrapped in silk mesh and set to form in a fire-drying process. When jasmine blossoms are in full bloom in August/September, they are layered with the tea and “married” to create a green tea whose concentrations of Vitamin C and amino acids surpass any other teas. This fine fragrant tea, a tea-drinker’s favorite for hundreds of years, has a great aroma, a smooth finish, and a flavor that is both vegetal and fruity.
Steeped at 180 F for 2 minutes, 1 tbsp of the tea for every 6 to 8 oz. of water. Extend steeping by 1 minute for each subsequent infusion.
The tea is composed of pea-sized and very pretty little silver and dark green balls, tightly rolled together. The balls are shiny and slightly iridescent, and seem to be covered in a soft, light fuzz. In dry form, they are almost overwhelmingly aromatic with the smell of honey and flowers.
Almost immediately after the rinse with hot water, the pearls begin to unwind. After the first infusion, the liqueur after steeping is a deep gold, and is strongly aromatic with the smell of jasmine. The steeped leaves unfurl into a bright olive green. The leaves have rehydrated into narrow, plump leaves.
The first infusion of this tea has a heady, flowery jasmine taste. It is the perfume of the deep red-gold liquor that carries the jasmine taste. Upon tasting it, the jasmine is there but not overwhelmingly floral. It carries no bitterness to the taste. The jasmine tea is based on a mild green tea, which is a well-balanced complement to the jasmine. Some teas are green tea with a flavor of jasmine — this tea is the opposite, it is the jasmine which really makes this tea from beginning to end. It’s gentle, smooth and creamy, coating the inside of the mouth like honey.
The tea liquor has a medium body and is not weak or too delicate to stand on its own, while also being a good accompaniment to a meal. I would definitely consider this tea for making iced tea, because the floral notes would stand out very well in a concentrated form.
After the infusion, the leaves unfurl into a bright olive green color. Most of the tightly curled balls look like they are composed of two small leaves and a bud rolled together, or a single leaf curled tightly into itself. It’s amazing to think that these large leaves were once rolled into those tiny, perfect little balls. For more information including videos, check out my earlier post about how jasmine pearls get made.
The second infusion was still very strong and flavorful. The jasmine smell has diminished, and allows the green tea taste to come to the foreground.
Pricing & Where to Buy
Pack Size: 1/4lb
Price per unit: $25.90
This tea can be purchased on Teaflection’s website here.