Red Pearls (Hong Zhen Zhu)

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Leather, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Dark Bittersweet, Wood, Earth
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Edit tea info Last updated by jjshapiro
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 7 oz / 216 ml

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From Silk Road Teas

Good value, traditional black tea rolled into small shiny pellets. Aromatic, not too strong with hints of smokiness. Cups to a bright red-brown liquor and finishes with a pleasing aftertaste. Steep in water about 195 degrees for 2-3 minutes.

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8 Tasting Notes

28 tasting notes

This is a great, hearty, dense/intense, shot-in-the-arm red tea.

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4196 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #5
These “red pearls” are some of the twistiest and shiniest leaves I’ve seen yet. They seem more like snails rather than pearls though. They actually remind me of the new version of Zen’s Phoenix Pearls. Silky rather than fuzzy. The flavor is phenomenal. This brew that looks like a cup of coffee has smokey notes and the flavor profile of a keemun. Two great steeps of bittersweet chocolate here! I barely got any sleep last night, so this was a teabox winner.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// few minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

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217 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping TTB R5 #1

The Here’s Hoping TTB arrived on my door step a couple of days ago and I must admit I am completely intimidated by it, it’s GINORMOUS!!! I’ve never seen a 9 pound travelling tea box before, I mean that’s the size of a healthy new born baby not a tea box!!! Thankfully someone, I suspect flyawaybirdie, has sorted out and bagged the tea by type which makes tacking this GARGANTUAN box a little more user friendly… Thank you!!! You have no idea how much I appreciate it!!

I decided to start with the straight blacks, because, well hello, straight blacks!! Sniffing a couple of the packets this one immediately stood out to me, it smells insanely delicious, super malty with a touch of tobacco. Brewing it up, it definitely delivers, its slightly smoky but not overwhemingly, a little malty, and has a touch of sweetness at the end of the sip that makes it very enjoyable.

I may have to have another cup of this before it goes back into this BEHEMOTH TTB for the next person to enjoy.

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1707 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying this tea that LP gave me with an actual kettle and stove on hand. What I got: smokey, leathery, thick, and sweet. It almost stuck to the roof of my mouth. This is my first Black Gunpowder tea and I prefer this one way more than green versions of it, but I slightly prefer oolong versions. I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. A good breakfast or afternoon tea during the winter. I tasted very little astringency and brewed this over and over. Would recommend generally, not highly. Honestly best for black tea lovers, and for those who like more masculine profiles.

Flavors: Leather, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Toast

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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14 tasting notes

These pearls are very tiny and really dark. I brewed this western and it has a very nice copper color to it. The pearls really expand. The taste is very smokey and woody, which lingers in your mouth for a while, with a slight sweetness to it. Pretty decent black (red) tea.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Smoke, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

VERY smoky! A very “russian” style tea….they love their blacks SMOKY! I enjoy this one on occasion as well!


It definitely is a good tea to enjoy on occasion!

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4070 tasting notes

Thanks to Blodeuyn and scribbles, I have a ton of new black tea samples to enjoy in the mornings! Thanks so much ladies, I really appreciate it! This one is from Blodeuyn. Clearly it’s a completely different animal from the only other black pearl tea I’ve had (from TeaVivre). The pellets are tiny and not really spherical. They’re jet black and somewhat shiny, which makes me think of little beetles and reminds me of the part in Harry Potter when he’s in Diagon Alley and the apothecaries sell scoops of beetle eyes… LOL. Sometimes associations are weird, no? Anyway! The dry scent of this tea is powerful! Strong malt and earth with a little sharp scent that almost reminds me of eucalyptus? Who knows? I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

When I opened my brew basket, they just looked like normal black tea leaves. Amazing! The brewed aroma is still very strong and earthy with definite mineral/smoke notes. I can see this is going to be a kick-in-the-pants kind of tea! The aroma reminds me of shou with its strong earth/wood notes (and it’s very dark in color so that helps!). Wow, this is earth city! And the taste absolutely reminds me of shou as well. It’s very earthy, but with a bit of sweetness. There’s a very present mineral/smoke note along with a touch of wood. It’s a shou masquerading as a black tea! :o

OFF-TOPIC: I miss you, Stephanie! There’s no one here with me in chat in the mornings! D: Hope your vacation is going well though!

Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Smoke, Sweet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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41 tasting notes

Beautiful copper colour. Lovely smokiness.

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3 tasting notes

Love to watch this tea expand and almost bloom like a flower. Rich taste, giving multiple steeps.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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