I just got my new order from Mandala Tea. I must admit I was in a panic thinking the bamboo raw pu-erhs would be gone soon. But I also had to get some other stuff. :) Garrett was very nice, shipped my order promptly, included a nice note and samples. Terrific customer service from these people, I can tell you!
First steep: 2 minutes.
This is what the Chinese would call a red tea and my tea liquor is a beautiful, dark reddish color. The flavor coming from this is very molasses-y and chocolate-y and some malt. I was thinking it would be similar to a golden monkey, perhaps. But it is different.
I like the slight astringency to this and it also seems to have a bit more “heft” and depth than some Chinese red teas I have had. I could definitely see craving this in the morning, but it also makes a nice after lunch tea. There is a bit of sweetness in the tea liquor, but it isn’t a precious kind of sweet. It’s more a dark chocolate kind of sweet.
When I first steeped this up I was thinking ho, hum, another sweet Chinese red tea. I like them but they all start tasting the same after a while. Then I crave the richness of something like a Ceylon. This sort of brings both worlds together for me and melds them into a super tasty, happy tea infusion.
Second Steep: Five glorious minutes.
Not as hefty as the first steep but still full of flavor. I am picking up on the slight briskness a little bit more. Still lots of molasses but perhaps a bit of spice as well. Clearly I need to gong fu this one to pick up on more subtle flavor changes. But this has been quite an enjoyable and even a bit surprising afternoon cuppa.
Sometimes I wonder if I give too many teas high ratings? But my ratings are subjective and are based on my enjoyment of the tea. As you may have noticed, I really like tea! :)