drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
729 tasting notes

An incredibly caring Steepster friend is concerned that all I’m drinking are samples from other people, and that I should take some time and enjoy some of my favorite teas. I’m searching for the great teas, but not enjoying the one’s I’ve found. I’ve decided to “sort of” take that advice.
I have sent samples of this out to several people, and assume that it is going to be amazing, but I’ve never actually drank it. So tonight I’m taking a ME tea night to explore the dark side.
I threw about 2.5 tsp of this into my gravity steeper, gave it a quick wash and then let it steep – I’ve read lots of review that say that this is AMAZING if steeped for a long time. I’m watching and waiting, and it’s getting darker, and darker, and I chicken out at about 4 minutes. OK 4 minutes is a LONG steep for pu’erh – at least for me…
Wow this is crazy – unlike any other pu’erh I’ve tried. There really isn’t any of the musty/earthy typical pu’erh taste – it is just deep dark chocolate – maybe a hint of “pu’erh” in the back but it’s just adding depth to the chocolate. OK I’m a believer.
I add another couple of tsp of new leaf to the old leaf (I don’t care it’s my tea night I can do what I like) – gave it another quick rinse and let it steep for NINE minutes.
OMG – this is unsweetened cocoa from a fine chocolatier. I add about a tsp of sweetener and just a splash of milk – just enough to change the color. This is my new favorite chocolate tea. I love this.
Now what do I do? I think I’m going to take the leaves and toss them in the fridge to cold steep. If anyone hasn’t tried it – cold steep pu’erh is crazy good.
As always, thank you Mandala for another amazing tea experience.

Sil

i’m so happy you enjoyed this one. i love this puerh a lot.

keychange

It’s your part-tea and you can steep how you want to, steep how you want to!!

TheTeaFairy

Yay for ME tea nights, so proud of you :-)
Dark and choco, yum, yum!!

MissB

Wow, I tried this the other night and got it wrong. I’ll definitely try it again with longer steep parameters.

Kamyria

Darn right you can do what you want! :D

Cold steeping pu’erh, ah? I have to try that.

Cavocorax

That sounds really amazing.
I will TRY to steep mine that long but I gotta say 4 minutes, and NINE minutes makes me a little nervous. I’m a “followe the vendors instructions, you noob” sorat gal. Especially with this. It’s my FIRST/ONLY Mandala tea!

Dexter

It’s my par-tea and I did what I wanted. :)) It turned out great.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy it MissB – it doesn’t get nasty as you steep it longer, it just gets deeper and more chocolate. I highly recommend a long steep. I was VERY nervous too, but after trying the 4 minute steep, I knew you could not hurt it. I will do 8 or 9 minutes first steep next time.

Kamyria I didn’t believe the cold steep pu’erh either, and then I tried it. I quite often western steep leaves a couple of times, then toss them in the fridge for 16ish hours. Can’t explain it, it’s a different experience – very refreshing, you should try it once….

Dexter

Cavocorax – if you want to follow vendors instructions, then you go right ahead. It’s your tea, don’t let me talk you out of your comfort zone. First/only Mandala? You are starting with a good one….

Sil

I twisted her rubber arm into ordering SOMETHING, ANYTHING from mandala when I placed my order lol

pyarkaaloo

omg yay!! u just put the seal of approval on this one for me…it’s on my to-try list from Mandala…it sounded delicious to begin with, although i was worried it might have a damp,earthy pu’erh quality. but if this is anything like you say, i simply must give it a go!

Dexter

Good job Sil – “something – anything” is pretty much correct when it comes to Mandala – it’s all good.

pyarkaaloo – but I like the “damp,earthy pu’erh quality” This has a little of that – it is a pu’erh, but it’s more in the background adding depth to the chocolate rather than hitting you in the face. I love all Mandala pu’erh. Their Silver Buds are really mild – more of a white tea with a hint of pu’erh. Noble Mark is just fantastic, but more traditional pu’erh. Wild Monk is the best sheng I’ve ever drank – pretty much what Sil said – anything from Mandala is a good choice….

Dexter

Does restocking favorites count as breaking hiatus?

pyarkaaloo

thanks for the clarification…this sounds like a nice pu’erh! i think i’ll be happy with this as long as it isn’t a predominantly ‘mossy/earth’ kind of flavor, although one never knows…if i try enough pu’erh cakes i may find one that i love! or i may develop my palate.. the cold steeping sounds delicious!

Cavocorax

Yeah, I’m really happy Sil was able to do talk me into it! It was difficult because it was Black Friday and I’d already allocated most of my budget to Butiki and DTT. But ONE tea from Mandala… OK YES.

There will be more from them in the future. I still have to get past them being fancy in my head and just start drinking!

And I can experiment now! It’s just the first steep that I don’t like to mess with on the assumption that the vender knows what’s best. :P

TheTeaFairy

Does.not.count.

Dexter

Cavocorax This is a video of Garret giving you permission to play with your tea. He has a very open, whatever you like is correct for you attitude…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUt6kt00mpo&feature=youtube_gdata

graceatblb

I love steeping Special Dark for extreme amounts of time. Unlike with most teas, this one improves on a longer steep. The last time I had Special Dark I steeped it for 15 minutes and added a touch of cream. Heaven.

Garret does have a very laissez-faire approach to tea. Which I really appreciate. It eliminates the guilt when I, inevitably, break the rules.

Garret

Do as you like :) Whenever I do tea classes, I give people basic parameters for brewing and leave the rest up to them. I let people know that if they dig a green tea with boiling water, that’s cool, that’s how they should have it. I do use a little disclaimer here, though, and tell them that if they are serving tea to guests that it might be a good idea to go to more “traditional” way of brewing it :)

ifjuly

Yay! I love this one. And I love that someone was awesome and reminded you you should not get overwhelmed with sampling and take some time out for whatever you want to drink. Definitely.

ifjuly

And so agree, it’s the most intensely chocolate tea I’ve tasted.

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Comments

Sil

i’m so happy you enjoyed this one. i love this puerh a lot.

keychange

It’s your part-tea and you can steep how you want to, steep how you want to!!

TheTeaFairy

Yay for ME tea nights, so proud of you :-)
Dark and choco, yum, yum!!

MissB

Wow, I tried this the other night and got it wrong. I’ll definitely try it again with longer steep parameters.

Kamyria

Darn right you can do what you want! :D

Cold steeping pu’erh, ah? I have to try that.

Cavocorax

That sounds really amazing.
I will TRY to steep mine that long but I gotta say 4 minutes, and NINE minutes makes me a little nervous. I’m a “followe the vendors instructions, you noob” sorat gal. Especially with this. It’s my FIRST/ONLY Mandala tea!

Dexter

It’s my par-tea and I did what I wanted. :)) It turned out great.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy it MissB – it doesn’t get nasty as you steep it longer, it just gets deeper and more chocolate. I highly recommend a long steep. I was VERY nervous too, but after trying the 4 minute steep, I knew you could not hurt it. I will do 8 or 9 minutes first steep next time.

Kamyria I didn’t believe the cold steep pu’erh either, and then I tried it. I quite often western steep leaves a couple of times, then toss them in the fridge for 16ish hours. Can’t explain it, it’s a different experience – very refreshing, you should try it once….

Dexter

Cavocorax – if you want to follow vendors instructions, then you go right ahead. It’s your tea, don’t let me talk you out of your comfort zone. First/only Mandala? You are starting with a good one….

Sil

I twisted her rubber arm into ordering SOMETHING, ANYTHING from mandala when I placed my order lol

pyarkaaloo

omg yay!! u just put the seal of approval on this one for me…it’s on my to-try list from Mandala…it sounded delicious to begin with, although i was worried it might have a damp,earthy pu’erh quality. but if this is anything like you say, i simply must give it a go!

Dexter

Good job Sil – “something – anything” is pretty much correct when it comes to Mandala – it’s all good.

pyarkaaloo – but I like the “damp,earthy pu’erh quality” This has a little of that – it is a pu’erh, but it’s more in the background adding depth to the chocolate rather than hitting you in the face. I love all Mandala pu’erh. Their Silver Buds are really mild – more of a white tea with a hint of pu’erh. Noble Mark is just fantastic, but more traditional pu’erh. Wild Monk is the best sheng I’ve ever drank – pretty much what Sil said – anything from Mandala is a good choice….

Dexter

Does restocking favorites count as breaking hiatus?

pyarkaaloo

thanks for the clarification…this sounds like a nice pu’erh! i think i’ll be happy with this as long as it isn’t a predominantly ‘mossy/earth’ kind of flavor, although one never knows…if i try enough pu’erh cakes i may find one that i love! or i may develop my palate.. the cold steeping sounds delicious!

Cavocorax

Yeah, I’m really happy Sil was able to do talk me into it! It was difficult because it was Black Friday and I’d already allocated most of my budget to Butiki and DTT. But ONE tea from Mandala… OK YES.

There will be more from them in the future. I still have to get past them being fancy in my head and just start drinking!

And I can experiment now! It’s just the first steep that I don’t like to mess with on the assumption that the vender knows what’s best. :P

TheTeaFairy

Does.not.count.

Dexter

Cavocorax This is a video of Garret giving you permission to play with your tea. He has a very open, whatever you like is correct for you attitude…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUt6kt00mpo&feature=youtube_gdata

graceatblb

I love steeping Special Dark for extreme amounts of time. Unlike with most teas, this one improves on a longer steep. The last time I had Special Dark I steeped it for 15 minutes and added a touch of cream. Heaven.

Garret does have a very laissez-faire approach to tea. Which I really appreciate. It eliminates the guilt when I, inevitably, break the rules.

Garret

Do as you like :) Whenever I do tea classes, I give people basic parameters for brewing and leave the rest up to them. I let people know that if they dig a green tea with boiling water, that’s cool, that’s how they should have it. I do use a little disclaimer here, though, and tell them that if they are serving tea to guests that it might be a good idea to go to more “traditional” way of brewing it :)

ifjuly

Yay! I love this one. And I love that someone was awesome and reminded you you should not get overwhelmed with sampling and take some time out for whatever you want to drink. Definitely.

ifjuly

And so agree, it’s the most intensely chocolate tea I’ve tasted.

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Profile

Bio

C.S. Lewis – “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

I needed to update my profile. I joined Steepster 03Mar13. I am just amazed at how much my tastes have changed since then.
When I discovered loose leaf tea about a year and half ago, I didn’t know anything other than my local Davids and Teavana/Teaopia. Stumbling onto Steepster CHANGED EVERYTHING.
Hello, my name is Dex I’m a tea addict.
I’ve been through the “I need to try every single tea out there” phase. I really hope the worst of that has passed. I’ve learned enough to know that I only need to try HALF of all the teas out there. LOL
When I started this journey, I was all about the flavored rooibos and fruity tisanes. Don’t get me wrong there is still room for dessert (chocolate/caramel/nutty) Rooibos teas in my cupboard and I still do enjoy them, BUT I am quickly learning to appreciate the some of the straight teas of the world.
Big bold (but not icky)pu’erh is suddenly my favorite, followed by woody/roasted oolongs. I’m just starting to explore straight black teas, and have found some that I really like.
Generally speaking I’m not into greens at all, only like the occasional green oolong, and white teas are just too mild for my tastes (unless they are fruit flavored). I still enjoy really good fruit tisanes, but am now cold steeping them.
I don’t like floral/herbal blends, and mint anything is not on my preferred list.
I am still exploring new teas, adapting to my changing tastes, understanding more every day how little I really know about tea. Ultimately I would love to find approximately 50 teas that I just “can’t live without” and always have them in my cupboard. That might not be practical, but that what I’m searching for. It’s going to be a fun journey.

All in all, I love this site. I’ve met some wonderful people, and have gotten to try some amazing teas because of them. It really restores your faith in humanity when you get a note saying “oh by the way I sent you some tea”. Wonderful, generous, people here.

Location

Manitoba Canada

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