|"Both floral and viny notes appear in the brewed tea as well, reminding me more of perfume in its green floral nuances. "|
I always find whenever I’m out shopping for a present for someone else, all of the things I’ve always wanted seem to magically appear. But the sad rule is, I can’t possibly buy for myself before I find the gift I was meant to buy. After a seemingly endless afternoon of ogling baubles and trinkets in hopes of finding the perfect necklace for a friend, I was left longing for some treasure of my own. Alas, I could string up my own set of silver pearls to more than ease such longing with a cup of Teavana’s Silver Yin Zhen Pearls. Yet these silver pearls could not come from any oyster but rather hail from Fujian province, although their tight spheres rival the oyster’s artistry. They are not quite the perfect spheres of cultured pearls, nor the free forms of freshwater pearls with only a few loosely rolled pearls evident. As unique as pearls are to the gem world, the aroma of the leaves themselves was entirely different from any teas I have tried before. They were strongly but sweetly aromatic that reminded me of the lush smell of the forest floor when it starts to rain. The top note sings with light nectar scents based on a predominately viny aroma, ending with a slight touch of warm over ripe honeydew and nutmeg.
I enjoy loose leaf tea of any sort but there is a delightful whimsy selecting pearls one by one to plink into the pot as if to truly string my necklace of a brew. Better still, I suspect these silver pearls may not tarnish so quickly as the water coaxes them to unfurl with each steeping. And what a fascinating display it was to watch the soft ballet of the pearls unfurling in the cup after steeping at 175 °C as Teavana recommends.
In a surprising homage to the jeweler’s pearls, there is almost a luster to the colour of the brewed tea though not so brilliant. Layers of pale yellow blues appear in the depth of the cup which is tinged almost pink at its edges. Both floral and viny notes appear in the brewed tea as well, reminding me more of perfume in its green floral nuances that are most similar to orange blossom water with hints of lily of the valley and jasmine. As the tea rests on my palate and as it cools, the viny flavor is the most prevalent seeming similar to cantalope rind commingling with field cucumber and lily stems.
Teavana recommends a 4-5 minute steeping. After trying both a four and a half and five minute steepings, I preferred the 4 and a half minute brew. Although, I appreciated the fuller flavour of the five minute steeping, I found the floral notes became cloying. The four and a half minute steeping produced a medium body without a hint of astringency whereas the tea was a bit more supple or fuller at five minutes, where a touch of dryness goaded another sip. While the viny flavours may delight some people, I found the lingering taste a bit reminiscent of when you bite into the seeds of a grape amidst the lily notes.
There is still much life to the leaves after a single steeping where the leaves are unrolled but not completely extended. After 3 four to five minute steepings, the brew becomes paler in colour and body and the floral notes diminish but the tea still has sufficient flavor to be enjoyable. I don’t think the flavours hold for a fourth brewing. In my opinion, this set of pearls, perhaps much like a pearl necklace, would not be appropriate every day as to do so would diminish the elegance of the pearls and for me would tire the flavours of the tea to a point of unpleasantness. But it could surely be the delight of special occasions.
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