For those who have followed our blog from Day 1, you've probably noticed that we love black tea. The very first review we did was on Tealyra's Black Dragon Pearls. And so it's not surprising that our first comparison post will be on black tea, too.
We're not only comparing two black tea varieties. We're comparing three from the following brands: Shine Wing Tea, Tealyra, and Teavivre.
Hover your mouse or touch the packages to see individual reviews
For comparison, we will be looking into the following factors:
- Characteristics of black dragon pearls
- Aroma of leaves and liquor
- Characteristics of the liquor
- Overall experience
Ready? Let the Best Black Tea Battle begin!
Black Dragon Pearls
All black pearls are wiry, and uniform in color and size.
The most obvious difference among the dragon pearls is their size. Shine Wing Tea's pearls are definitely bigger than those of Teavivre's and Tealyra's.
Teavivre's pearls are darker in color than the other two. The black dragon pearls from Shine Wing Tea are moss green. Tealyra's are dark green, like juniper green with a few strands of brown while Teavivre's are seaweed green.
Appearance-wise, we find Shine Wing Tea's black dragon pearls more appealing than Tealyra's and Teavivre's.
The dry black dragon pearls from Shine Wing Tea has an almost chocolatey aroma that's evident upon opening the bag. The dragon pearls from Tealyra have a subtle earthy aroma. Teavivre's black dragon pearls has an earthy aroma with a hint of cocoa.
From left to right: Shine Wing Tea, Tealyra, Teavivre
After steeping, the aroma of the pearls from Shine Wing Tea has become more apparent. There was also some sweetness into it that's not quite noticeable when they were dry.
Tealyra's black dragon pearls gave off a subtle earthy aroma after steeping, similar to the aroma of the pearls when they were dry. The aroma of Teavivre's steeped pearls was very subtle that you'd barely notice it.
Teavivre's black dragon pearls have completely unfurled after the first steeping while Tealyra's and Shine Wing Tea's haven't completely unfurled. You could probaly use the two for a few more steepings.
All three gave us cups of dark-colored liquor. Tealyra's has a light roast aroma while Teavivre's Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea has a stronger earthy aroma than Shine Wing Tea.
Both Tealyra and Shine Wing Tea have powdery sediments in the cup while Teavivre has none.
This is the most exciting part of the comparison. We've reviewed all three black pearls individually in the past. While we had good experiences with each brand, having them side by side gave us a chance to find out which black dragon pearls stand out.
Tealyra has the lightest flavor among the three. We liked how smooth it is to drink, however, we hoped the flavor was a bit bolder. Shine Wing Tea has the most intense flavor, however it's not as smooth to drink as Tealyra or Teavivre. The aftertaste has a slight astringency and is a bit bitter.
Teavivre hit all the right spots for flavor and smoothness. Although it's still not as strong as we want our black tea to be, we prefer Teavivre over Tealyra and Shine Wing. It is full-bodied with no astringency in the aftertaste.
When it was time to choose which black dragon pearls we liked best, we felt like we were Goldilocks. Remember how she tasted three bowls of porridge and preferred the bowl that is neither too hot nor too cold? Our experience was exactly like that with these pearls.
Tealyra was too mild while Shine Wing was very strong. Teavivre was just right. Among the three, we found ourselves constantly sipping Teavivre during and even after the comparison session.
And so, if we were to buy black tea today, we will head on over to Teavivre for their fengqing dragon pearl black tea.
Want to read our reviews on these dragon pearls? You can check them out here: