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Recent Tasting Notes
I love music. All kind of music. I can start the day with The Black Keys and end it with Nina Simone. But my universe on Sunday morning usually gravitates torwards classical music. This morning, I chose Erik Satie. I love the odd atmosphere found in his pieces, Gnossienne no. 1, one of my favourite piano number ever. This slow movement version is the best in my opinion:
This tea has put a spell on me, I’ve been enamoured with it since I’ve tasted it for the first time. Sadly, I’m almost done with the year 2009 pouch I’ve ordered. But Garret also sent a generous sample of year 2013 to try so it will be interesting to compare the two.
I know I’ve reviewed it only 9 days ago, but it’s so special, I feel compelled to review it again.
This morning, what’s in my cup still reminds me of spring maple water and it’s even more appropriate with the bright sunny day we’re having so far. This beautiful tea helps me believe that spring might be on its way after all…As I look through the window, even the birds and the squirrels look happier today!
First sip and my mouth is invaded with sweetness and roundness that feel almost like pudding! But I’m immediately getting a faint woodsy earthiness, which reminds me I’m actually drinking pu’erh. Floral notes emerged today, more than I’ve tasted before, reminiscent of a light fragrant rose water. It’s very subtle though, I would never qualify this tea as being “floral”.
I like how this is complex but yet so accessible. I think any tea lover would enjoy this cup, whether they are white and pu’erh tea lovers or not.
Thank you Mandala for such a wonderful experience, it delivers time after time. I will have no choice but to restock on this :-)
This came to me as a sample with my recent Mandala order. It is my very first sheng. I posted about this tea on the pu-erh discussion and I mentioned that I think those who say pu-erh newbies should avoid shengs at first are kinda full of it. This one is very accessible. First steep is a little grassy and vegetal. Second there was slight bitterness (not in a bad way), more depth and little bit of butteriness and as it cools slightly, a little grape taste. VERY nice grapey aftertaste. Third steep very grapey aroma – fruity/floral with a little astringent buzz on my tongue. Number 4, still very pronouced grape aroma and more pronouced grape flavor. I REALLY like this. There is still a slight astringency but it is mellowing. The color is a paler green-gold and the aftertaste is less pronounced. Fifth steeping – it is thinning out now, with a bit of hay taste and more astringency. Aftertaste is similar to the fourth steep with a little bite. Sixth steep, aroma is less grapey. On first sip, all of the flavors have really mellowed. The astringency is dialed back with just a wee bit on my tongue and still a little muscat kind of grape but subdued. I’m going to stop here. This tea is beautiful. Love it. Nice qi buzz.
Such a pretty tea! I get some smoke from this that deepens as the cup cools but it isn’t objectionable. This is a nice, smooth, deep, sweet tea. It’s been in my cart several times. Someday I’ll make it all the way past the checkout at Mandala and have this in my cupboard. :) Thanks, boychik!
Ironically, & purely by coincidence (although there are no coincidences), I drank this one the last time I woke up ridiculously early. Anyway, this one is, without a doubt, my favorite black tea from Garret! It is absolutely delicious, & deliciously complex, with a rich sweet dark chocolate quality that so many of us love.
Having a Mandala Tea’s ’Wild Mountain" green sheng from 2011. I started this out with 11 grams that I broke off the chunk of tea I have. I separated it into smaller pieces. There are lots of whole leaf in this one with whole stems with the leaves attached. I brewed this in the yixing after a 10 second rinse. It started a golden color on the first brew after a 10 second steep.. This is nice and sweet on the first brew with hints of camphor, flowers and white grapes. I started the second infusion with a 10 second steep it comes out with more depth to it. The color is the same with the camphor touch and a slight pleasant bitternes that will coat and numb the tip of the tongue. I usually will only have one cup of sheng this late at night but this is the second cup and it leaves me wanting more. This is a very nice sheng, leaves appear to be a smaller “gongting” size about half the size of my smallest finger. The depth and complexity are nice and I may have to get a whole cake of this to age. Very enjoyable. Garret, Garret where do you find these great teas at
This stuff is amazing! Garret sent me a sample with my last order and I am in love. I just used it to clean my Breville One touch, Timolino Thermos, a plastic ice tea pitcher and a frequently used white tea cup. All from the one sample.
It was super easy. I just followed the instructions and was shocked. No scrubbing needed and they’re all sparkling clean.
I’m definitely buying more when I get a chance. I haven’t seen my Breville this clean since the day I bought it. to clean
At a three minute steep this one seems to acquire some notes of stone fruit — primarily nectarine — at the end of the sip. It’s almost like some of the caramel notes present in the shorter steep have morphed into this. The cocoa, while subtle in the short steep, isn’t present at all in a longer one.
I definitely think the shorter steep is for me.
This looked like a really fluffy delicate golden yunnan, and I’m thrilled that that is exactly what it was! It’s malty with sweet notes of caramel and cocoa that build on your tongue. But it manages to stay delicate and refreshing, with a really clean and crisp finish.
This is pretty much everything I like in a black tea, only lightened and more vibrant. This is something I could see settling into a permanent spot in my cabinet once things get under control.
Thank you Garret for including a sample of this with my recent order :)
Wow this is a nice green oolong! It has a sweet greenness that reminds me a bit of sencha, and a lovely floral (lilac?) aftertaste. Not as sweet or creamy as milk oolong but special and charming in its own way. I’m really digging the floral element and mineral notes!
I sure have been drinking a lot of puerh lately, huh?
Today I steeped this one at a lower temp for a longer time. I got more creamy nuttiness and less mushroom notes. Yummmmmmm!
Speaking of shu, has anyone encountered this before?? http://04561.com/image/cache/data/20110518/b3-700×700.jpg It’s puerh tea aged inside an orange rind! I’M SO CURIOUS ABOUT IT!
I just ordered more—darn sale— so I decided to finish off the last of my sample. It’s like seeing an old friend again after a long time. You miss them, you know they are there if you need them but you just never get around to calling them. That’s how I feel about this tea. I love it so much and I know I have a cake waiting for me but I feel better waiting to drink it. Does that sound crazy?
It’s still my favorite gentleman’s shu after all this time. It’s creamy milk chocolate with a nutty background. There’s also a heavy cream-ish taste in the background. So nice. Like hot cocoa. I’m totally okay with having bought 4 more ounces of this. So okay.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Nuts
Im fairly new(3 months or so) to Pu erh, Sheng and Shu a like but I already have my preferences. I am not getting the same notes as other reviewers, I rinsed twice both times, once tried gongfu yesterday ( 4 g dry leaf /100 mL multiple quick infusions) and also today western style ( 4 g dry leaf / 240 mL 5/6/6 min infusion).
This ripened pu erh has a fruity taste to it that reminded me of mulled wine or warmed berries and a sour quality of raw cacao (not dark chocolate but 90-100% cacao bars). It was still fairly smooth and not bitter in the least but that fruity/sour taste is not something I look for especially in a pu erh in the morning. I the western style brew mellowed out the sour fruity taste and seemed to bring the other earthy qualities I enjoy but still not my favorite. I will keep experimenting with brewing time/water/etc. Overall nothing terrible I can appreciate the quality and see why others like it, hate to use a cheesy line but “Not my cup of Tea” seems appropriate.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Stewed Fruits
I am beginning to since a trend. Another Mandala pu’er, another excellent tea! The boldness of this tea is perfect. The initial flavor was earthy with an undertone of smoke. After steeping 4, the smoke taste slowly faded and was replaced by undertones that I can’t describe. Suffice it to say, the undertones were magnificent.
This is my first time trying a Da Hong Pao. When I first sipped it I thought “wood”, but on second thought it’s more like roasted grains. I’ve steeped this three times now, each infusion much like the one before and a bit one-note (NB: I bought this tea nearly 10 months ago, so age might be catching up with it). I do like the fact that it tastes toasty rather than charred, unlike many other roasted oolongs I’ve had. Not amazing, but very smooth & drinkable.