Another new tea!
This one didn’t really come out in a “collection” per say, but sort of a mini capsule with three different blends that have no flavouring in them at all. One is more of a “blend” you would typically associate with having flavouring (tasting note on that one at a later date), one is a returning oolong that’s scented, and then there is this one – which is just a straight shou pu’erh. It’s always a good launch week when there’s new traditional/straight teas to talk about! FYI – all three are verrryyyy limited quantities for now…
This shou pu’erh comes in traditional “dragonball” shape – the balls vary in weight because they are hand rolled and are typically between about 5g and 8g. This is important to keep in mind with steeping, because it’s not an exact science. You wont get perfectly the same brew if you just use one/two balls each time. They’re wrapped in gold foil, and because of that they sort of remind me of Ferroro Rocher. Here’s a fun/cute fact for you all: before the tea was officially named we referring to this tea in the tea lab as “Shou Rochers” because of how uncanny the appearance is at a glance.
I’ve had this three ways now – in a Nordic mug, Grandpa Style (also in a Nordic Mug), and Gongfu. My preference of the three is Grandpa style; I think there’s more body when brewed that way and more of the sweetness of the petrichor/date notes comes out with that longer style of steeping, which compliments verrrryyy smooth woody and umami/brothy notes. I guess mushroom is the brothy thing? That’s what my coworkers say, but as someone allergic to mushrooms I don’t have a strong point of reference.
In a Nordic is fine, but lacks some depth that I personally crave. Gongfu was also good, though it didn’t have lots of longevity. I’d say you’re looking at more smooth and consistent body and umami flavour without as much sweetness. If you’re someone who drinks a lot of shou Gongfu and, like me, reaaalllyyyy loves typical Menghai character (that burly woody/camphor thing) then you might find this shou a little flat/unexciting.
However, it’s because the flavour is so consistent and smooth without off fermentation notes or “kick you in the face camphor” that I think it’s actually a VERY STRONG option as a “gateway” shou for someone unfamiliar with the tea type looking to get a foot in the door. I don’t see there being a lot of flavours that would typically turn off the pu’erh adverse and it’s soooo easy to brew. So in that situation, “unexciting” is actually a benefit. For me, it’s just easy drinking shou – something to toss in a mug and sip on thoughtlessly that tastes just fine. I would travel with these dragonballs because my impression is that you could make this anytime/anywhere and you’d likely get the same consistent experience.
I think I grabbed a half dozen or so for myself, and I may grab more to have on hand as a travel option – but mostly I’m just exciting that DT is exploring more pu’erh in more shapes/styles, and in what I believe is an accessible way.
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.