95
drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
294 tasting notes

As soon as the hot water hit this, and I got a whiff of pond water, I started to panic. What did I do? What did I get myself into? Why did I trust all the reviews. This isn’t going to taste sweet and chocolaty and caramelly. This is going to taste like licking pond scum. I stood there in fear during that 1st 30 second steep.

Tentatively, I took a sip. Nearly holding my breath, it seemed like it took an extra second for my mind to register what I was tasting. Hm, what’s this? This isn’t pond water at all! I don’t really know what to say about that first sip. I was baffled, no bad notes about it. I didn’t really taste any cocoa in those first few sips. It was much lighter than I expected, sweet, and almost caramelly. By the time I finished my first cup, I had decided I needed to skip class today and continue to experience this tea (I mean I didn’t have my notebook, that’s why I skipped class. Not because of tea. Good girls don’t skip class because of tea).

Second infusion, I went 45 seconds, and this time I got more cocoa notes. Again I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that puerh isn’t as dark and bitter and I guess straight coffee-ish as I expected. This is my first straight puerh, and the only other one I had was minty so I didn’t like it. But this? This is good.

I followed the increase by 15 seconds directions until the 5th steep, where I went up by a minute. MMM I’m definitely getting cocoa powder this time. And caramel. I drank about half the cup, and then saw the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate with SeaSalt Caramel squares on the counter. I dropped on into my cup, and made up the 6th infusion (3 minutes) and poured that into too. Oh my decadence. This is like sweet sinful chocolate dessert in a cup. So chocolaty, with notes of caramel, some almost nuttiness, and a sort of earthiness. This is like a very complex and delicious hot chocolate. Oh my word. I’m sure I can get some more out of those leaves, but for now my tummy is nice and full and satisfied.

Not bad at all for what essentially is my first puerh, and my first Mandala order!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

I really regret not trying this when it was in a TTB.

Mandy

Its really good! I can send you some if you like?

Cheri

Sure! Let me know if there’s something in my cupboard you would like in exchange.

Cheri

(warning, my cupboard isn’t 100% up to date. I’m hoping to clean it up this weekend, but it’s mostly accurate.)

Garret

Thanks for writing this up, Mandy! What a great ending to the story :) Yay!

Cheri – until midnight tonight you can check out all kinds of our loose ripe pu’er for 50% off. We’ve never done this kind of sale in 9 years of importing tea. If you have any questions, let me know. http://shopmandalatea.com/sale-items.html

I hope you are both having a super sweet day! Garret

Mandy

I saw in one of your tasting notes that you have Milk Oolong from ThePeriTea coming in. If you’re willing to part with some I’d love to try that! I meant to order some Milk Oolong from Mandala and was so mad when I realized I forgot. If not I’d also love to try Lemon French Macaron from Butiki (:

TheTeaFairy

Phew! Mandy I’m so happy you got your fairytale ending with Special Dark, yay!!!

Sarsonator

My Mandala order arrived today and I gave this one a try, but I am going to try again before I write it up. I definitely found some chocolate/cocoa, but it wasn’t sweet or caramelly. I liked it, but I think I can get more out of this.

Cheri

I’m tempted, Garret, but I’m completely new to pu’er. I wouldn’t know what to order, and I’d be worried I’d order the wrong thing. I think even though it’s an amazing deal, I’m going to have to sit this one out. I’ll try the sample of it from Mandy, and see what I think.

Mandy

Sarsonator how long did you steep it for? I saw a lot of people found more cocoa and caramel coming out with longer steeps. Also the more times I steeped it the more caramel and cocoa seemed to come out. And if you aren’t against sweetening your tea, a touch of sweetener really draws out those notes

Cheri I also got Temple Stairs in my order, I haven’t tried it yet but I’d be more than happy to send you a bit of that too. It’s supposed to be a good beginner puerh from what I understand. Probably what I should have started with but I went for this one instead. I’m a complete newbie to puerhs too (;

Cheri

I’d be interested, sure.

Sarsonator

I did 30, 45, 60. I’ll try one long steep and see how that goes. :)

TheTeaFairy

Don’t tell garret, but I cheat….I do five minutes. Then I go mmmmmm!!!

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Comments

Cheri

I really regret not trying this when it was in a TTB.

Mandy

Its really good! I can send you some if you like?

Cheri

Sure! Let me know if there’s something in my cupboard you would like in exchange.

Cheri

(warning, my cupboard isn’t 100% up to date. I’m hoping to clean it up this weekend, but it’s mostly accurate.)

Garret

Thanks for writing this up, Mandy! What a great ending to the story :) Yay!

Cheri – until midnight tonight you can check out all kinds of our loose ripe pu’er for 50% off. We’ve never done this kind of sale in 9 years of importing tea. If you have any questions, let me know. http://shopmandalatea.com/sale-items.html

I hope you are both having a super sweet day! Garret

Mandy

I saw in one of your tasting notes that you have Milk Oolong from ThePeriTea coming in. If you’re willing to part with some I’d love to try that! I meant to order some Milk Oolong from Mandala and was so mad when I realized I forgot. If not I’d also love to try Lemon French Macaron from Butiki (:

TheTeaFairy

Phew! Mandy I’m so happy you got your fairytale ending with Special Dark, yay!!!

Sarsonator

My Mandala order arrived today and I gave this one a try, but I am going to try again before I write it up. I definitely found some chocolate/cocoa, but it wasn’t sweet or caramelly. I liked it, but I think I can get more out of this.

Cheri

I’m tempted, Garret, but I’m completely new to pu’er. I wouldn’t know what to order, and I’d be worried I’d order the wrong thing. I think even though it’s an amazing deal, I’m going to have to sit this one out. I’ll try the sample of it from Mandy, and see what I think.

Mandy

Sarsonator how long did you steep it for? I saw a lot of people found more cocoa and caramel coming out with longer steeps. Also the more times I steeped it the more caramel and cocoa seemed to come out. And if you aren’t against sweetening your tea, a touch of sweetener really draws out those notes

Cheri I also got Temple Stairs in my order, I haven’t tried it yet but I’d be more than happy to send you a bit of that too. It’s supposed to be a good beginner puerh from what I understand. Probably what I should have started with but I went for this one instead. I’m a complete newbie to puerhs too (;

Cheri

I’d be interested, sure.

Sarsonator

I did 30, 45, 60. I’ll try one long steep and see how that goes. :)

TheTeaFairy

Don’t tell garret, but I cheat….I do five minutes. Then I go mmmmmm!!!

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Profile

Bio

20 years old
I’m starting to grow tired of green teas and green oolongs.
I’ve only recently began exploring straight blacks and puerhs, and I’ve been loving the one with cocoa and bread-like notes the most!
I’m also starting to drift away from flavored teas, but still like a good dessert tea every once in awhile.
I will always love a good chai.
I despise licorice and bacon.

Notes I like:
Cocoa, Bread, Caramel,
Nutty, Vanilla, Cream,
Honey, Butter, Maple, Marshmallow
Fruity, Berries, Lemon, Jasmine

Notes I don’t like:
Banana, Bacon, Licorice, Smoke, Astringency, Bitter, Rose

Location

Florida

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