I have tried several varieties of jasmine pearl tea, small pearls ,
large ones and ones have a lot of nice tippy white color others more
olive green, however I find that some have a very sweet smell and
others more neutral. I seem to like the tatste of the sweeter smelling
ones What is the ultimate pearl supposed to look and smell like. I s
bigger necessary better, or is the stronger smell an indication that
it has been exposed more times to the jasmine flowers,. oh and by the
I just arrived in china today :) will be visiting a few interesting
places while im here.
The Jasmine white tea shape is called needle spiral. The two non
Jasmine white tea shapes are Dragon Pearls and Phoenix Eyes. They
both have the same cat's eye shape but Phoenix Eyes is slightly
larger. All three come from the white tea Fuding area of Fujian. The
two white non Jasmine are the premium. The older thinner greener
white is scented with Jasmine. You'll see crossover naming like
Jasmine Dragon Pearls which identifies the scent and incorrectly names
the shape. Everybody sells the Jasmine Dragon Pearls. The White
Dragon Pearls and Phoenix Eyes are harder to find. Jasmine has
medicinal qualities which is the reason it is so popular. I prefer my
teas without it.
the "whiteness" of the pearls mainly depends on the time of harvest
and quality of the tea that is used. For the most part, lower quality
Dragon Pearls are turned into Jasmine Pearls. Also, the tea for Dragon
Pearls usually stems from the first harvest in spring while the tea
for (lower quality) Jasmine Pearls is sometimes harvested during the
summer. I had similar experiences as you with the quality of Jasmine
Pearls. Most of them are very average with very few notable exceptions
where high quality tea AND freshly picked Jasmine Flowers are used.
BTW, I just read your post "First Flush Organic Tea" and I'd love to
see some of your photos!
Jim, I've got a question for you: are you saying that Phoenix Eyes is
a larger pearl but essentially the same as Dragon Pearls? Are bigger
leaves used or maybe 2 leaves and a bud instead of 1 leaf?
I agree that most vendors mislabel their Jasmine Pearls as Dragon
Pearls (or, the best I've seen - Dragon Phoenix Jasmine Pearls),
generating a lot of confusion amongst their clients. I've read
somewhere that while the non Jasmine version of this tea is called
Dragon Pearls, the Jasmine infused version is referred to as Phoenix
pearls (unfortunately, I don't remember where I've seen this
The shape of Phoenix Eyes is like elliptical oblong cat eye. It is
all bud just like infused Silver Needle. However it meshes in the pot
and won't form the spires. The silver needle bud is much larger. The
White Dragon Pearl is pearl shape (I misspoke previously). It is
smaller bud with some leaf from recent buds. It is darker green.
That taste is more 'pungent' than the Phoenix if I can say that for
any white tea. I don't have any Jasmine pearls to compare. I'm less
critical of the Jasmine taste these days because the Chinese consider
it 'medicinal'. For my westerm sensibilities I prefer tea without the
scent. I did a post where I found Yin Hao without Jasmine.