I received this as a sample in my latest Mandala order. with only 10 grams to work with, I decided to split it into two 5 gram sessions in my 100 ml gaiwan. Since this is less leaf than my normal 6 to 8 grams in this vessel I tried to ‘short-pour’ the water a little to compensate. I took detailed notes but I will spare you from the dreaded copy&paste. Just the highlights follow.

The first session involved short steep times (5/5/7/10/… sec) to see what aromas and flavors I could unmask. The shu brewed up a beautiful medium burgundy color with aromatic hints of mushrooms, warm figs, raw sugarcane, vanilla and mulling spices over the 12 steeps I took this through. It was light to medium bodied with mild flavors of mushrooms, pepper, cedar, leather, minerals, allspice, cinnamon, and a noticeable sweetness tying it all together. Near the end I picked up notes of SweetTarts in one steep and Cinnamon Disc candies in another. In all cases the aromas and flavors were quite mild, causing me to really focus on the tea to get a sense of what was gong on.

The second session used longer steeps (15/30/45/… sec) to see how it reacted. Again the tea revealed only mild aromas and a light to medium body. Aromas of raw cane sugar, vanilla, caramel, and, oddly enough, grape gum (at the end) came forth. This session had significant sweetness in the aftertaste, some spice up front, mild shu flavors and a lively feeling on the tongue over the course of seven steeps.

I’m not going to rate this tea since I don’t really feel like I got a chance to know it. When it becomes available on the Mandala site I will buy a few ounces and put it in a clay jar for six months or so and try it again with my normal amount of leaf. I don’t have a great deal of experience with new shu, but this came across as ‘young’ to me. It seems to have promise and I’m willing to give it another try.

Preparation
Boiling
Stephanie

Interesting!

TheTeaFairy

I love how you were able to describe all those notes, you’re like “the note extractor” lol. I’m really interested in this one, will keep in mind for next Mandala order, thanks for this review.

TeaExplorer

TTF: The spectrum of flavors were a nice surprise. This seems to be more of a contemplative shu than a bold in-your-face one. I am looking forward to buying more loose leaf so I can both dial in the regimen to my liking and see how it matures over the course of time. And because I trust Garret’s taste I will pick up a couple of cakes when they become available and salt them away for a while.

Garret

Great review! Thank you for this. This is most definitely a young ripe pu’er. But… this one is gonna age like a champ, especially the cakes. I certainly don’t want to wish time away (goodness knows it’s going to fast as it is) but 2 to 3 years after this pressing comes online, it’s gonna ROCK. – The Noble Mark cake is a blend of 4 leaves (Temple Stairs is 2) fermented in a similar fashion and on October 29th, the pressing will be 2 years old. I am already amazed at the difference in clarity in around 1.5 yrs. That same thing is going to happen to this cake. We’ll keep them stored in our pu’er room and they will blossom :) Love your reviews!

And by the way… I was just listening to a live dead show from 1989, sipping some ripe tea (year of the dragon), grooving to a very sweet Eyes of the World. Life may be sweeter for this…

TeaExplorer

Garret — I miss my live Dead. I’m old school so it’s all on tapes or CDs, and the office is still in boxes … need to finish unpacking!

How about you? Are yours in digital format, or are you ‘old school’ as well?

I was looking at “The Complete Road Trips” on LiveDownloads (http://www.livedownloads.com/packages/2,383/Grateful-Dead-Complete-Road-Trips.html). Although pricy (FLAC is $350), it covers multiple eras and fills in many holes in my collection. May have to add that to my wishlist! I thought I’d mention it in case you were not aware. —Jeff

Garret

I pretty much listen to all my live dead on: https://archive.org/details/GratefulDead You can stream thousands of shows and there are many that are downloadable, as well. I used to have many cassettes as I had friends who were tapers and then had access to many soundboards on CD because of a buddy who is in tight with Bob Weir’s wife, Natasha. That was nice. Now… I don’t have a collection anymore. Just online streaming and downloading when I just gotta hear a certain show in the car.

TeaExplorer

Woah … had no idea about the collection on archive.org. Very cool! Thanks for that =:-D

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Comments

Stephanie

Interesting!

TheTeaFairy

I love how you were able to describe all those notes, you’re like “the note extractor” lol. I’m really interested in this one, will keep in mind for next Mandala order, thanks for this review.

TeaExplorer

TTF: The spectrum of flavors were a nice surprise. This seems to be more of a contemplative shu than a bold in-your-face one. I am looking forward to buying more loose leaf so I can both dial in the regimen to my liking and see how it matures over the course of time. And because I trust Garret’s taste I will pick up a couple of cakes when they become available and salt them away for a while.

Garret

Great review! Thank you for this. This is most definitely a young ripe pu’er. But… this one is gonna age like a champ, especially the cakes. I certainly don’t want to wish time away (goodness knows it’s going to fast as it is) but 2 to 3 years after this pressing comes online, it’s gonna ROCK. – The Noble Mark cake is a blend of 4 leaves (Temple Stairs is 2) fermented in a similar fashion and on October 29th, the pressing will be 2 years old. I am already amazed at the difference in clarity in around 1.5 yrs. That same thing is going to happen to this cake. We’ll keep them stored in our pu’er room and they will blossom :) Love your reviews!

And by the way… I was just listening to a live dead show from 1989, sipping some ripe tea (year of the dragon), grooving to a very sweet Eyes of the World. Life may be sweeter for this…

TeaExplorer

Garret — I miss my live Dead. I’m old school so it’s all on tapes or CDs, and the office is still in boxes … need to finish unpacking!

How about you? Are yours in digital format, or are you ‘old school’ as well?

I was looking at “The Complete Road Trips” on LiveDownloads (http://www.livedownloads.com/packages/2,383/Grateful-Dead-Complete-Road-Trips.html). Although pricy (FLAC is $350), it covers multiple eras and fills in many holes in my collection. May have to add that to my wishlist! I thought I’d mention it in case you were not aware. —Jeff

Garret

I pretty much listen to all my live dead on: https://archive.org/details/GratefulDead You can stream thousands of shows and there are many that are downloadable, as well. I used to have many cassettes as I had friends who were tapers and then had access to many soundboards on CD because of a buddy who is in tight with Bob Weir’s wife, Natasha. That was nice. Now… I don’t have a collection anymore. Just online streaming and downloading when I just gotta hear a certain show in the car.

TeaExplorer

Woah … had no idea about the collection on archive.org. Very cool! Thanks for that =:-D

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Bio

I’m fairly new to the world of fine tea, having begun my exploration in earnest in mid-2013. I had given loose tea a try a decade ago but what I chose was not to my liking and I never finished the couple of hundred grams I ordered.

I’ve spent most of my life as a coffee drinker, and have studied and practiced the art and craft of coffee roasting for the past decade. I drink coffee until about noon, at which point my palate needs a change.

This eventually led me to try good quality tea one more time. The Internet is a great resource and I got pointed in a more solid direction this time. I started at Upton Tea with mostly black teas, a Jasmine-scented green and samples of some flavors. I’ve been enjoying three or four cups a day.

Then I stopped into a tiny Chinese restaurant in rural Pennsylvania and in response to my request for hot tea the proprietor brought me her personal Pu-Erh, which had just arrived from China, in a portable Gong Fu teapot. OMG … I found something new to obsess about! She kept bringing me hot water and I did multiple steeps until I could swallow no more. My research on this tea eventually led me here.

I’m a voracious reader and can consume a book a day when I have the time. I’ve been an obsessive geek since childhood and that spills over into all areas of my life, driving me to try to attain competency in more areas than I can count, especially technical subjects. I once took “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” on vacation and my wife asked why I wasn’t reading something fun. I had no idea what she meant.

I love almost all genres of music, but am most fond of Jazz (Miles’ Blue Period, Mingus), Delta Blues (Sleepy John Estes, Son House) and 80’s British alternative rock (The Smiths, Bauhaus, The Pogues). I also followed the Grateful Dead for a short while. Yup I’m getting old, but then 50 is the new 30, right?

I hope to make some of your acquaintances, and swap both knowledge and tea.

Location

Palm Bay, Florida

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