Puerh and I have not yet become friends, so I jumped at the chance to try a number of good quality puerhs in Mandala’s new sampler. I thought the sampler might help me get a better understanding of ripe puerhs, and see if there are any I might truly enjoy. Thanks, Garret, for offering this sampler!

I wasn’t sure which one to try first. It might be helpful if the note that comes with the sampler also indicated which puerhs were good for beginners to start with. I decided to start with this one, since it was listed first. Logical, eh?

I don’t have a gaiwan yet, so I used a small teacup and covered it with a saucer for steepings, a Pyrex measuring cup for a pitcher, and one of my cute cherry blossom teacups for sipping. Verdict? I think I need a gaiwan. ;)

I followed the recommended brewing procedure and here’s what I got:

Overall aroma – sweet, milk chocolate, vanilla. Yay!
30-second steep: leather, earthy, smooth, maybe some cocoa in aftertaste, maybe some cedar.
45 seconds: silkier, similar in notes to previous steeping, more cocoa coming out at end of sip. Yay!
1 minute: I think the note I used to think as leather is really a cedar note. More cedar than cocoa this round.
1min15sec: less cedar, more balanced.
1min30sec: generically sweet, honey.
1min45sec: same as previous.
2min30sec: sweet, weak. I think I’m done now. ;)

Favorite steep: second one, because more cocoa!

Side effect: serious caffeine effect…very jittery. Guess I should watch that.

Overall, I wouldn’t mind if this passed my way again, but I probably wouldn’t seek it out. I’m definitely looking forward to the other samples!

Question: Do you reheat your kettle for all steepings? Mine cooled significantly between steepings.

In other news, I made my first kale smoothie today, with mango and banana, and it turned out pretty good! This has been a “try new things” day!

Marzipan

I used to reheat my kettle, then I started keeping the water in a thermos so I don’t have to keep going to the kitchen.

Tealizzy

That’s a great idea, Marzipan! Will try that next time.

looseTman

Is the hold temp. function of the Bonavita helpful for this purpose?

Tealizzy

Ya, I thought of that, but didn’t do it…I lacked follow-through! Haha!

mj

Marzipan that is brilliant

Marzipan

My tea kettle has a hold temp function but I’m too zen (lazy) when doing gong fu to run back and forth to the kitchen. My mom had this Gevalia carafe thing she got with their membership that she gave me and it works great.

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Marzipan

I used to reheat my kettle, then I started keeping the water in a thermos so I don’t have to keep going to the kitchen.

Tealizzy

That’s a great idea, Marzipan! Will try that next time.

looseTman

Is the hold temp. function of the Bonavita helpful for this purpose?

Tealizzy

Ya, I thought of that, but didn’t do it…I lacked follow-through! Haha!

mj

Marzipan that is brilliant

Marzipan

My tea kettle has a hold temp function but I’m too zen (lazy) when doing gong fu to run back and forth to the kitchen. My mom had this Gevalia carafe thing she got with their membership that she gave me and it works great.

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Bio

I thought my profile needed a facelift, so here we go:

My obsession with tea really started around October 2012 when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed going out to afternoon tea with my mom. I was really into An Afternoon to Remember’s creme brulee tea, since they had an afternoon tea place at that time, which has since closed…so sad and I haven’t found a good replacement.

So, I kinda went nuts when I discovered both DavidsTea and Lupicia in the SF mall, and I still frequent them, though my tastes have substantially changed over time from wanting to try all the teas to being a bit more particular.

Once I discovered steepster, literally by looking up reviews of a DavidsTea tea, I was hooked! So many tea companies I never heard of and everything sounding so delicious!

I found I still love dessert teas, like flavored black teas, but I also really enjoy oolong (both green and roasted). I occasionally enjoy flavored rooibos and white teas. I’ve had a rough time with puerh, and still think it tastes like leather. Recently, after having some really amazing teas from Teavivre, I can now say I love unflavored Chinese black teas and green teas.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Teavivre, Golden Moon, Butiki, Lupicia, and DavidsTea.

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)

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San Francisco Bay Area

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