Black Pearls – A New Find

While all tea comes from one plant, the camellia sinensis, there are literally thousands of combinations of infusions resulting in delightful choices to choose from when determining which tea to consume.  Sometimes the choices are overwhelming.  There is one tea shop in Pasadena, California, Chado Tea House, which boasts offering over 400 varieties and blends of leaf teas.  They know their tea, but wow, it is daunting paging through their tea menu to decide the “one” you want that day.  But I love that we have the opportunity to choose.

This week I was excited to get a tea I had ordered online from Adagio Teas.  I was intrigued to see they had a tea called “black dragon pearls.”  It was sold out, but you could click to be alerted when it was in stock.  (Nice customer service by Adagio – thank you.)  When back in stock, I ordered it and to my surprise…more great customer service, I received my tea order in two days (without special delivery instructions.)

When opening the bag, I pictured the pearls being like Jasmine Downey Pearls (one of my favorites)… Instead I was a bit shocked to see the size of these pearls.

The directions for steeping suggest using 2 – 3 Dragon Pearls per cup for a sublime drinking experience.  They were correct…that’s all you need.

Once steeped, the pearls unfold like this…

This black tea from Yunnan, China is hand rolled in the Dragon Pearl style.  Adagio’s description is spot on, “naturally sweet and smooth.  A touch of earthiness and subtle cocoa notes.”   I found the distinct sweetness and cocoa notes pronounced and that the tea was delicious without milk.

Lately, I have been “stuck” on a few favorite teas (Irish Breakfast with milk in the morning and Jasmine Pearls Green Tea in the afternoon and Kenilworth Ceylon for iced tea.)  When I venture out – I am glad I’ve done so.  This black dragon pearl is a nice change…it’s light enough for my afternoon tea.  I have a few others to try that I ordered from Mighty Leaf Teas and Mariage Freres.  The first is a rooibus called Coco Chai, the second is a traditional Darjeeling TGFOP.  Will open these up in a few days and let you know how they are to my taste.

Large black pearl tea (hand rolled) and Jasmine Downey Pearls...the black pearl is a large whole leaf--very tasty, a hint of chocolate exudes

Large black pearl tea (hand rolled) and Jasmine Downey Pearls…the black pearl is a large whole leaf–very tasty, a hint of chocolate exudes

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It’s fun to try new teas when friends come over. I use small cups and have a “dump” bucket (just as one would in tasting wines.)

Enjoy tea!…


  1. I can imagine how exciting it must have been to open that parcel and then try the tea. I must say, your description and photo of the tea fairly made my mouth water for it! I’ve seen these pearls advertised but I’ve never tried them, I think I need to remedy that.

    The tea place in Pasadena sounds amazing, you could visit every day of the year and have a different tea – fantastic!

    • Yes, Chado Tea House is wonderful…They have a couple locations in Los Angeles too…You can’t help but want to choose something unique when there. Do you have many tea shops that sell a large variety of loose, leaf, teas?

    • I am always a bit thrilled when my tea shipments arrive…it’s fun to try different teas. Any that I don’t just love get given to family and friends who I know like certain flavors.

  2. Cannot wait to try this tea. What time should I be over?

    • As you well know….tea time can be anytime! So come on over 🙂

  3. Great photos, Linda! Amazing that all those leaves are in those few little (or giant!) pearls!

    • Yes, I didn’t believe the directions the first time and put in too many pearls…got a pretty strong tea…the second pot was perfect.