What happens when you mix just a touch of fresh premium grade osmanthus flowers with our luscious Yi Mei Ren "Needle" Black Tea from Wu Liang Mountain? The answer is: A chocolatey, floral and fruity tea that smells and tastes great! The osmanthus flowers are not at all overpowering and were blended in just the ratio complement the already wonderful Yi Mei Ren black.
When you open the pouch holding these take in the scent of the tea and revel in it's commingled essence! In the early steeps the dragon ball will gradually unfurl and the tea soup flavor and aroma will gradually gain strength. Once the leaves and flowers are un-furled, the the tea will provide several enjoyable chocolatey sweet and fruity/floral with excellent viscosity and complex mouth-feel and aroma. Later steeps are mild and enjoyable and the tea avoids collapsing into astringency or unpleasantness of any kind!
"Yi Mei Ren" (彝美人) means literally Yi (Minority) Beauty. This tea is named "Yi Mei Ren" as its made from Wu Liang Mountain material, an area inhabited primarily by Yi Minority people and bears similarity to both and oolong and a black tea in its fragrance and taste. Yunnan large-leaf varietal material is used and the tea is wilted and fermented like a black tea, but for a longer period of time with several intervals of vigorously shaking the leaves. This promotes more thorough wilting/fermentation and leads to it's darker color.
The brewed tea is highly aromatic with a chocolaty sweet taste with no noticeable astringency. The tea liquor is super clear and deep gold with tinges of red if brewed longer. Due to the higher level oxidization this tea can be stored for several years with subtle changes in aroma and flavor.
Same garden as our Yi Mei Ren, but processed from more mature leaf into a "Needle" shape. Taste is more chocolatey and less floral, but overall not very different.
These Dragon Balls were made by my mother- in-law and father-in-law. They make them in their spare time. They use little pieces of cotton to compress them instead of saran wrap. Saran wrap compression is the most common method because it's faster, but it causes off gassing into the tea since the tea must be steamed to soften and is very hot. We use cotton, which is safe.
Dragon balls are great because they are perfect single brewing servings, and because the leaves fare much better during transport and storage compared to loose leaf form, which tend to break apart causing the brewed tea to be overly astringent and/or bitter and detracts from overall look of the brewed leaves!
50% of the profits from the sales of these Dragon Balls will go directly to my father/mother-in-law. We will give them the money as a red packet during Chinese New Year, since they won't accept money directly from my wife or I. Most likely they will put most of it in the bank for their retirement!
Each Dragon Ball is roughly 8 grams of tea (+/- 0.5 grams)