Know Your Brew: Black Pearl Tea

August 4, 2022
Japanese Teapot

You don’t need to crack open a clam to find your new favorite pearl. It’s waiting for you at your local neighborhood tea shop! 

Black pearl tea is a fantastic type of tea that deserves to be more well-known than it is. It’s delicious and creates a rich experience for hot and cold tea drinkers. In this article, we want to focus on black pearl tea—what it is, where it comes from, and how you can prepare it.  

We’ll give you the basics of how to get the most of each pearl so you can experiment from there. So, let’s get started! 

Where Black Pearl Tea Comes From 

Black pearl tea comes from the Yunnan province, in the southwest of the People’s Republic of China. The province is home to a series of mountain ranges and more than half of the 30,000 species in China.  

The tea itself is naturally sweet and smooth. Here’s a fun fact about pearl teas: they were originally and exclusively intended to be enjoyed by royalty. When you take a sip, just remember that you’d be considered a monarch in some quarters!  

How to Prepare Black Pearl Tea 

Assuming you’re ready to try it for yourself, we want to explain how to get the most out of your drink. We also want to add a brief note before we get started. We’ll focus on objective ways to prepare your drink. We’ll leave it to you to experiment with various types of sweeteners so you can decide what you like best. (Plus, isn’t trying new techniques part of the fun?) 

Let’s start with what you can expect from black pearl tea. Its aroma is malty, and its flavor is light bodied with some subtle hints of cocoa. When you steep the pearls for the first time, the leaves will start to unfurl to create the rich experience we know you’ll love. Like any black tea, it also has a moderate amount of caffeine. 

Ashley recommends using the pearls to make cold drinks by steeping the pearls for 4-6 hours. But if you decide to make a hot beverage, then you’ll want to pour the water over the pearls in a circular motion so the heat can touch the leaves equally. Steep for about 5 minutes and be careful not to overdo it.  

“The pearls take a little longer to steep than loose leaves because they are so tightly rolled,” says Ashley Byrd, one of our tea consultants. “I would also recommend steeping them a lower temperature to prevent bringing out the tannins (compounds that make the brew taste bitter and astringent).” 

(Tannins are also the reason your mouth feels dry after you drink a glass of wine, in case you were wondering.) 

Here’s something cool about pearl tea: you can use it more than once! While black pearl tea is slightly more expensive than loose leaf tea, you can get more out of the pearls than just one cup. That said, here’s what you need to know after you steep them the first time: 

“My recommendation is to steep them 3-5 mins then set the basket on a tray or inside another cup for additional use,” Ashley says. “If you over steep the first brew, [then] the leaves are ruined, and the next cups will be too bitter. I don’t recommend leaving the leaves out overnight unless the customer has a way to dry them.” 

If you want to pair the tea with anything, then consider adding some extra honey or your favorite sweetener. (In our opinion, the honey brings out the cocoa flavor.) Serve this with your favorite sweet snack or dessert, and we dare to say you’ll have spoiled your taste buds. 

Try Black Pearl Tea Today 

Ready to try black pearl tea? Check it out here. Local to Raleigh? It’s No. 590 in our store, and we’d love to have you come by and ask more about it!