Teatime (by der foodograph)
Tea Review Tuesday: White Dragon Pearls
Good morning everyone, the day is foggy and chill, I’ve spent the morning watching house hunters and now it’s time for a review. Today’s tea comes to us from Xiu Xian, and is billed as “one of our highest quality white teas”. I present to you:
Background: White tea has disputed origins, it may have been created as late as 1876! Derived from the tea plant, white tea is picked, withered and then dried, although as simple as this sounds, the selection of leaves for white tea can be very strict, with harvesters choosing only “baby” leaves. The way Mako once described it to me is like this: “The jasmine tea is like a teenager. You brew it too long and don’t treat it right, it gets angry and bitter. White tea is just a baby, babies are sweet, you can brew them for a long time and they will be okay.” White tea contains the most antioxidants of all of the teas created from the camellia sinensis. White tea is also arguably the healthiest tea, with cancer-fighting and blood pressure and cholesterol lowering properties.
First Impression: I got this tea on a trip with my parents. I was inexperienced with quality white teas at this point, and picked this one because I thought it smelled the best. After a tasting I was sold on everything but the price: $8 for 20 grams. (about .7 oz) or $11.43 per ounce. That’s pretty rough on a college budget, although I am very aware that Xiu Xian is actually quite reasonable compared to some. However, I had just finished finals and was in kind of a reckless mood so I splurged shamelessly and cheerfully. The tea comes in the reflective package that all of Xiu Xian’s smaller quantities are placed in. Vacuum sealed and safe from UV lights, the tea will stay fresh until the package is opened, although I would advise moving the tea to a better container after the initial unsealing.
The Scent: Pure, kind of vegetal. It smells like artichokes and other steamed veggies.
Ingredients: White tea leaves, rolled into balls to create a “pearl”
The Tea: It brews to a light golden color, and stays clear and fresh without growing bitter. This is a lovely white tea that yields a pure flavor, with no additives in it. There is almost nothing better than tea that is simple and natural. The only thing is this mellow tea is almost a little too delicate, and one needs to sit and focus to fully appreciate its vegetal taste. This isn’t a bad thing, it forces you to sit and relax and take time to enjoy your tea. But if you’re looking for something to drink while on the go, or while you’re busy doing work, look for a different tea. This is a good tea, but at the same time it’s not one of my favorites for some reason. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s not quite “complete” somehow. However, if you are a white tea person looking for a treat, give this a go. It’s a pleasure watching the leaves unfurl and tasting the delicate flavor of this delightfully mild brew.
Thank you for reading, I hope you all are doing well. You can find this tea at Xiu Xian. I have other reviews, and if you want to check out my current teas, I would welcome suggestions on what to review next! My ask box is always open for feedback, criticism, questions, discussion etc etc, so please feel free to shoot me your opinions. See you next Tuesday!
Christened my newest gaiwan with some Eastern Beauty oolong.
Recently (meaning yesterday) I bought 2 ounces of teavanna’s Oprah chai tea. Now, I love making jokes about how Oprah tastes good as a tea, and how “Oh gosh I can’t believe Oprah’s dead”, but really this is a very good masala chai. It has good spice, the cinnamon adds just the right amount of sweetness, and for a Teavanna tea, the ingredients are straightforward, simple, and to the point. No fancy candied papaya or a million pounds of dried apple and carrot. Just simple. Cinnamon, black tea, carob pieces, natural flavor, chicory root, rooibos, cloves, and cardamom. Good, old fashioned masala.
Since it is a chunkier tea, 2 ounces is a dismally small amount, especially for 14 dollars, but each 2 ounce container purchased gives a dollar to her education foundation. I’ve had four pots of this in two days, and I’m just starting my 5th. For the coming cold season, or the ending one in some countries, this is a wonderful tea.
Kudos, Oprah, you make a fine tea.
I would like to add that if you purchase it at Starbucks, the $14 includes a lovely box and a tin. The tin is pretty too, it has green paper and the metal is almost a rose gold color. Online, the tins are sold seperately and the tea is still $14 for 2 ounces, just without a tin.