91
drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
1351 tasting notes

Amusingly, it appears that Arison has somehow pulled it off to follow me twice. I’ve checked, they show up twice on my ‘followed by’ list, and I show up twice on their ‘follows’ list.

So far today has been quite rich. I got sung at first thing in the morning and served breakfast of eggs, toast, mushrooms and baked beans. I’ve received a Harry Potter film (DH pt 1) and the Tintin film on blu-ray and I’ve also got the latest Bruce Springsteen cd, which is very good. I wonder if this is all I’ll get because I’m getting a little concerned that the boyfriend is showing me up on the birthday gift giving scale. (And if he sees this, he’ll probably show up in my room saying “It’s not a competition, you know!”) I’ve also got a card from him, and from his parents and his sister. Those latter two are one with cakes and one with kitties. They know me well already, it would seem! :p

So it appeared to me that a Mystery Tea That I’ve Never Had Before was in order. This one came to me from Spoonvonstrup and I’ve been having a plock of a time working out which part of China it comes from. The company didn’t bother mentioning this in their info. All it said was that it was produced by the same people who also produced one of their other teas, so I had a look at that one. Still no clues about region. Hm. I shall have to suss it out for myself then!

The aroma is sweet, chocolate-y and grainy. Normally this automatically makes me think Fujian, but I think this is a trap. It’s not deep enough, particularly on the grain note, for me to be at all certain. Then there’s another thing, which is a tiny, vague note of straw and a wee bit of pepper. Those are Yunnan give-aways, but they’re not quite strong enough to me to be at all certain of Yunnan either. As I very much doubt it’s a mixture of the two, which would be rather bizarre in this particular context, it has to be one or the other.

Perhaps flavour will give us a clue. At first there’s a strong note of brown sugar in this. That molasses-like strength and depth, it’s very strong here. That note is not one I associate with either type. It’s very good, but it doesn’t really help me work this out.

Next I get that note of straw for a second before it turns into something kind of, but not quite, grainy as the cup cools. That’s a Yunnan-y trait. I’ve never come across that straw-y, hay-y note in anything else than Yunnan. A Fujian tea would have been much stronger on the grain note.

But then there’s there cocoa-y note, which I find to be more Fujian-y than anything else. I may have found that in Yunnan teas before, but it’s not one that stands out in my head as an association to that region.

I don’t know what to make of this. I’m beginning to suspect it’s actually out of an entirely third region. It’s time to go and look for some answers. I know black tea pearls are not that uncommon on Steepster, so I have a look at a few others of different brands. Without exception they are all mentioned as Yunnan teas.

I was close then. This is just not one that is very similar to other teas I’ve had from that province. Your average Yunnan black tea, I tend to find to be a mouthful of hay more often than not, and to drink it requires a very specific sort of mood. This one isn’t like that at all. Yes, it has the straw note in it, but it’s much more subdued, and that makes me like this a whole lot better than my usual impression of Yunnans. I especially enjoyed that brown sugar note. That was right up my alley, that was. I loves me some brown sugar!

Dinosara

Happy birthday!

gmathis

May your day be full of lovely and enjoyable “get-to’s.” (As opposed to gotta-do’s.)

ashmanra

Sounds like a great start to the day! Happy Birthday!

TeaBrat

Have a great birthday!

Bonnie

Many years to you!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday to you! :)

Scott B

Happy Birthday!

Missy

Happy birthday!

Dylan Oxford

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

Ag

Happy birthday!

LadyLondonderry

Happy birthday, Angrboda!

Azzrian

Happy Birthday!! dang we need a page where we post birthdays so we can send sneak surprises!!

kOmpir

Happy birthday to you with best wishes for even better cuppas to come :)

Joshua Smith

Happy birthday!

Ninavampi

Happy Birthday! : )

ChariTea

Happy Birthday :)

Daisy Chubb

Happy happy birthday! :D!

Indigobloom

Happy happy birthday!!! let there be tea =D

Roughage

Tillykke med fødselsdagen. :-)

Buy the Stars

Ahaha, I hadn’t even noticed that! My miraculous ability to break things on the internet, I suppose. Happy birthday. :)

Lucy

Happy belated Birthday! Great sounding start to it too

Angrboda

Thanks everybody!

Roughage, OMG!!! :D

Daniel Scott

Seems I’m a day late, but happy birthday!

And I love posts like this! I will have to make notes about the tastes you associate with each region and see if I notice them in the future; I definitely haven’t had a Fujian tea yet.

LadyLondonderry

Daniel, you haven’t had a Fujian yet?! ::clutches pearls:: Jeeves, get the young gentleman some Fujian immediately!

Angrboda

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that LadyLondonderry share at least some of my enthusiasm for this region? :p

Daniel, there are only really three regions, where I have specific ideas of what I expect from them, and that’s because I just have the most experience with them. I haven’t really been very good at exploring the rest of China properly, but have been hovering around the three most well known for black tea. Fujian, Yunnan and Keemun.

I tend to think of Fujians as sort of grainy and sort of fruity with a cocoa-y/chocolate-y note to it. And something else which I can’t actually describe much closer than ‘Fujian-ness’. I get mildly synesthetic reactions to flavours sometimes, so Fujian-ness is mostly a mix of seemingly random associations. Not so much a colour that I’ve noticed, but definitely a certain feeling of a depth and darkness and basically pleasure at the same time. It’s my favourite region.

Yunnan is my least favourite of the three, but I’ve had the most experience with golden yunnans, which I have to be in the mood for in order to drink. They have a strong note of hay and straw for me. Some think they tend to be pepper-y, others think they tend to be smoky in flavour. I started out in the smoky camp but have landed more or less in the middle of the scale now. Sometimes they’re one, sometimes they’re the other. I tend to prefer the smokier end.

Keemun is another favourite tea type for me, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. These have a very grainy flavour profile, reminding me strongly of freshly baked proper Danish rye bread. The sort you know in North America? That’s not it. Danish rye bread is dark and strong and eaten in thin slices. It seems that people who didn’t grow up on it, often doesn’t seem to like it much. My boyfriend is definitely not a fan. Anyway, like with Yunnans, Keemuns can have two faces. Either they’re very floral tasting or, again, smoky. I’ve noticed that the higher grade of Keemun I seem to try, the more likely they are to be floral, and I really prefer the more smoky ones, so I tend to go for the cheaper end Keemuns when shopping.

Spoonvonstup

Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had fun with this one. Garret at Mandala seems to have a real passion for Yunnan (especially shu pu’er!) so you’re probably right on the money as far as region goes.

Kittenna

Happy belated bday! I’m looking forward to having a palate developed enough to identify the region of a tea, but I think I’m a few years off yet :)

Garret

These are, indeed, a find from Yunnan! I just got back from tea travels in China and spent a majority of time in Yunnan seeing some tea gardens, mountains, sipping and buying tons of teas (including more of these pearls!) and finding more tea wares. Bought much mao cha from a few farmers and will have it pressed soon under our label. I really do love Yunnan black teas. My favorites, though I acquired some great black teas near Huangshan on this last trip, as well!

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Comments

Dinosara

Happy birthday!

gmathis

May your day be full of lovely and enjoyable “get-to’s.” (As opposed to gotta-do’s.)

ashmanra

Sounds like a great start to the day! Happy Birthday!

TeaBrat

Have a great birthday!

Bonnie

Many years to you!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday to you! :)

Scott B

Happy Birthday!

Missy

Happy birthday!

Dylan Oxford

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

Ag

Happy birthday!

LadyLondonderry

Happy birthday, Angrboda!

Azzrian

Happy Birthday!! dang we need a page where we post birthdays so we can send sneak surprises!!

kOmpir

Happy birthday to you with best wishes for even better cuppas to come :)

Joshua Smith

Happy birthday!

Ninavampi

Happy Birthday! : )

ChariTea

Happy Birthday :)

Daisy Chubb

Happy happy birthday! :D!

Indigobloom

Happy happy birthday!!! let there be tea =D

Roughage

Tillykke med fødselsdagen. :-)

Buy the Stars

Ahaha, I hadn’t even noticed that! My miraculous ability to break things on the internet, I suppose. Happy birthday. :)

Lucy

Happy belated Birthday! Great sounding start to it too

Angrboda

Thanks everybody!

Roughage, OMG!!! :D

Daniel Scott

Seems I’m a day late, but happy birthday!

And I love posts like this! I will have to make notes about the tastes you associate with each region and see if I notice them in the future; I definitely haven’t had a Fujian tea yet.

LadyLondonderry

Daniel, you haven’t had a Fujian yet?! ::clutches pearls:: Jeeves, get the young gentleman some Fujian immediately!

Angrboda

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that LadyLondonderry share at least some of my enthusiasm for this region? :p

Daniel, there are only really three regions, where I have specific ideas of what I expect from them, and that’s because I just have the most experience with them. I haven’t really been very good at exploring the rest of China properly, but have been hovering around the three most well known for black tea. Fujian, Yunnan and Keemun.

I tend to think of Fujians as sort of grainy and sort of fruity with a cocoa-y/chocolate-y note to it. And something else which I can’t actually describe much closer than ‘Fujian-ness’. I get mildly synesthetic reactions to flavours sometimes, so Fujian-ness is mostly a mix of seemingly random associations. Not so much a colour that I’ve noticed, but definitely a certain feeling of a depth and darkness and basically pleasure at the same time. It’s my favourite region.

Yunnan is my least favourite of the three, but I’ve had the most experience with golden yunnans, which I have to be in the mood for in order to drink. They have a strong note of hay and straw for me. Some think they tend to be pepper-y, others think they tend to be smoky in flavour. I started out in the smoky camp but have landed more or less in the middle of the scale now. Sometimes they’re one, sometimes they’re the other. I tend to prefer the smokier end.

Keemun is another favourite tea type for me, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. These have a very grainy flavour profile, reminding me strongly of freshly baked proper Danish rye bread. The sort you know in North America? That’s not it. Danish rye bread is dark and strong and eaten in thin slices. It seems that people who didn’t grow up on it, often doesn’t seem to like it much. My boyfriend is definitely not a fan. Anyway, like with Yunnans, Keemuns can have two faces. Either they’re very floral tasting or, again, smoky. I’ve noticed that the higher grade of Keemun I seem to try, the more likely they are to be floral, and I really prefer the more smoky ones, so I tend to go for the cheaper end Keemuns when shopping.

Spoonvonstup

Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had fun with this one. Garret at Mandala seems to have a real passion for Yunnan (especially shu pu’er!) so you’re probably right on the money as far as region goes.

Kittenna

Happy belated bday! I’m looking forward to having a palate developed enough to identify the region of a tea, but I think I’m a few years off yet :)

Garret

These are, indeed, a find from Yunnan! I just got back from tea travels in China and spent a majority of time in Yunnan seeing some tea gardens, mountains, sipping and buying tons of teas (including more of these pearls!) and finding more tea wares. Bought much mao cha from a few farmers and will have it pressed soon under our label. I really do love Yunnan black teas. My favorites, though I acquired some great black teas near Huangshan on this last trip, as well!

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Introvert, crafter, black tea drinker, cat lover, wife, nerd, occasional curmudgeon.

Contact Angrboda by email: iarnvidia@gmail.com

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Bio last updated February 2020

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