Mandala Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

74

Yesterday was Chinese green tea day :P

I had this last night and it’s a new tea for me. The instructions say to use 1 tbsp per 8oz of water, so I ended up using about 3 tbsp for 32 oz, just in case it was going to be strong. The taste is very vegetal on the first steep (30sec) – almost too vegetal for me. The second steep (1min) was more mellow and slightly sweet. I enjoyed the second steep a whole lot more. I probably could have gone with more steeps, but it was already really late when I was drinking this last night.

Flavors: Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Soo… I may have just “accidentally” placed a rather big Mandala order. Including this! (And on a side note, I totally forgot to get some Smark Soak to try. WHOOPS.)

I blame the order on Sil. And Dex. And my paypal balance that I was actually trying to save for the next month of Tea Club. :)

So I hadn’t tried this version yet. I have a sample of the 2008 and it is divine. I’m not sure how different, I’d have to test them side by side to see what I think. But I’m really liking this. It’s tea. Definitely tea. Hay and pea shoots. Sweet, malt, hopefully highly caffeinated.

I’m drinking part of the 4th steep right now. I combined 1-3.5 in a travel mug for work. It’s a golden shade, looks lovely. And I used a ceramic mug to be extra fancy. :)

Here’s hoping all the cakes I now have survive my rather shoddy storage conditions (paper shopping bags on a shelf in my room…) until I get to drinking them and sharing them out.

Sil

if you’re just looking to try the smart soak, remind me next time we talk about packages and i can send some your way

OMGsrsly

:) That would be awesome. The denture tablets work great, but I hate how they’re all so grossly minty.

Sil

yeah just don’t let me forget. I picked up a bunch the other day

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88

I pulled this one out to try today. My other half and i didn’t get much done with errands but we did finally get around to cleaning the house – we’ve been letting that slide lately. This has been in my cupboard for an eternity…because i bought a bunch of puerh when i first got into tea and then was too scared to try it. So now i’m focusing on getting through all of the older puerh samples in my cupboard.

First few steeps were creamy…sort of prune like with later steeps being more vanilla and sweet like. This is one i might suggest for someone just getting in to puerh, and one that i should have had ages ago. Just might need to pick up a cake of this with my next mandala order.

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Received this as a free sample with my lasts order. Thank you so much Garret for including it.

I’ve been drinking it and playing with the steep parameters all day. I can’t find the sweet spot. The first few infusions seems really bold and in your face, the later steeps seemed weak and uninteresting. Couldn’t find much in between. I don’t hate this, but just feel like it should be more interesting than I could make it. Was nice to spend the day with, but there are much better pu’erhs out there. I’m just going to file this under finicky and move on.

looseTman

with these two keywords: Mandala & organic – Ooh, I’m interested.
Dexter, Did you ask Garret for his brewing recommendations for this particular pu-erh?

looseTman

TeaBrat may also have some helpful suggestions.

TeaBrat

All I did was gong fu as usual and I thought it was great. Sorry can’t offer anything more specific.

Garret

HI! I’d try shorter first infusions, Dex. Sounds like you may be overbrewing it upfront.

People are going nuts over this one and we had one woman order 40 of these through us to keep here in our vault to ship a little with each of her orders! We were immediately in love with this one and I have a stash of it, myself. But… just because so many like it doesn’t mean it’s your cup of tea :) Too bad we can’t sit down together and let me brew some up for you. Wouldn’t that be fun? Joy to each of you on this thread. Thanks, Charles!

Grateful,
Garret

Dexter

https://instagram.com/p/0ybSD_uE0F/?taken-by=dex3657

Thanks Garret – I’m not disagreeing with you about over steeping up front – but I couldn’t find the right balance. I actually drank it all day in two different sessions. I’m not the hard and fast rule type and I steep more by instinct than by the clock. Shug – so it could be user error, but in my world when it’s about that color it’s done. Something like 4g/170ml flash rinse twice then I probably started at like 10 seconds. I just found that when it got to that color it was too strong for me and if you didn’t let it come to that color then it was too mild. There just didn’t seem to be a happy medium for me.
Who knows – maybe the pu’erh gods weren’t smiling on me, maybe I wasn’t in the right mood. It could be anything, but for my tastes – this one didn’t make me happy. There are so many of your shou pu’erhs that I would rather drink.
Then again, I would LOVE for you to make tea and share a cup (or several). Really should be looking at a Minneapolis and area long weekend – it’s really not that far from here. :))

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
488 tasting notes

Thanks to KiwiDelight for sending me some of this! I decided to have it gong fu style with boiling water. The dry leaf has a nice, promising cocoa smell. The first infusion was 15 seconds. It brewed up a lovely amber color. The flavor was thick bittersweet chocolate. The second infusion was 30 seconds. It came out darker than the previous steep. Again, lots of lovely cocoa notes. My dad showed up at that point and I stopped taking detailed notes, but I think I got about 7 total steeps out of this one. Later steeps were more malt than cocoa, but still quite lovely. Sipdown!

Incidentally, I thought this was a black tea. Turns out it’s a ripe pu’er. I haven’t had the best experiences with pu teas, but this one is making me think I’ve just been drinking the wrong ones. Hmm.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt

mrmopar

Yep there are some good shou’s out there and this is a good one :)

KiwiDelight

I don’t recollect sending you some O-O

Glad you enjoyed it all the same! It’s amazing Western style also.

Kaylee

Kiwi, I think it was part of our Secret Pumpkin swap six months ago!

KiwiDelight

No wonder I couldn’t remember xD

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97

From the Sheng and Shou TTB.

Brewed the gongfu method with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the tuocha a 20 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 10, 30, 40, 60, 240.

Luscious aroma: cocoa and sugarcane arise when the tuocha is newly steeped, then loam and damp earth at the end of the session.

The liquor full-bodied, delectably creamy, and very dark in color yet clear. The flavors are bittersweet, a combination of dark cooking chocolate and black coffee. I notice that the chocolate tends to rise to the roof of my mouth while the coffee sticks to the tongue. The flavors sweeten and become less bitter as the session goes on. An earthy note then appears.

The tuocha gives away a rich liquor right away, but too much too quickly, as the flavors weaken after the fourth steep, hence the really long ultimate infusion time. Now, this comes from using a ceramic gaiwan. I’m certain a yixing pot would be more generous.

Ugh, it snowed for most of the morning and some of the afternoon (just flurries but still – UGH). At this point of the year, the crocuses would be in bloom. Even spring migration is stalled! Temple Stairs is definitely a comfort in this delayed “spring”.

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Dr Jim

Love your review, but hate the snow: it’s been coming down all day here as well. I REALLY need some Spring.

KiwiDelight

Me too. I’m not used to long winters. The grayness has been making me feel so tired.

Kaylee

I am so done with the constant cold. But it has to change some day… right?

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Decided to continue with sheng today…
Wow, is this one fantastic…
That hint of smoke is really interesting…and the flavours here are so layered and complex. This is one special tea.
Tobacco is present, but in this mellow sort of way that is completely in harmony with everything else going on… it’s really amazing.
It would be very interesting to taste the 2014 compared to this one….
Thanks for this one, Dexter!

masked185

Tobacco huh? Hmm interesting.

Dexter

Sounds like Mandala sheng was a winner…. :))

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I wish I had more time to write, but I’m in the midst of unclogging drains, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, and sundry other tasks… Ahhh!
But, at least there is tea… and there is THIS tea!
I really did not know I would love sheng so much….
And the way it changes with steeps! (fruity, to buttery and rich…) and the tiniest little bite at the end… it’s so fantastic.
Thank you, Dexter, for sending this my way… another favourite that I didn’t know was a favourite. ;)

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drank Downy Tips Black Tea by Mandala Tea
5945 tasting notes

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I managed to find a moment of silence.
Sun was streaming through the living room window, I was in a comfy spot, and all my kids were busy…away from me. ;)
Even the dog was sleeping.
It was one of those tea moments that get ingrained in your memory…. it was that special.
And this tea… Oh, this tea! I really can’t thank you enough, Dexter. :))))
I think I’m on about my 10th steep of this…and the cup is still absolutely delicious!
The leaves smelled of sweet hay after their rinse and first 10 seconds.
The cup itself was almost fruity (I swear I was picking up melon…. then I swore there were hints of ripe plum skin…).
I knew right away that this was one special tea.

20 second steep left the leaves more bright and fruity, less hay like… The cup wasn’t as fruit centered; I found it to be buttery and creamy… So good!
At this point, I seriously want to shout from rooftops that I love this tea!

I continued on… getting distracted by kids… but loving this tea the entire time… It took me through episodes of Steven Universe, and through my time perusing cook books trying to come up with the weekly menu, and now it’s time for me to start dinner, and I’m still drinking this tea.
I loved how it tingled my tongue and left my mouth just wanting more.
Yes. This tea is a keeper.
Dexter, I wish I could hug you right now!! :)))

(This whole session was done using boiling water… I have enough to try it with a lower temp, as suggested on the website. I’m really excited to see what that’s like!)

Dexter

This is an amazing tea – happy to have shared, but really it’s Mandala that should get the credit for sourcing one that so great.
Those AHHHHHhhhhhh tea moments are really special – glad you experienced one today. :))

boychik

As I was reading I was laughing and crying. Even dog mind his business. Those moments are so precious. I think any tea would be delicious . Glad you had that moment ;)

OMGsrsly

Oh I really have to try the 2012 soon now! I have a bit of the older one and it’s just so so good. :)

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drank Cloud and Mist by Mandala Tea
1060 tasting notes

Thank you for the swap sample kieblera5!

This is a very nice green tea. Super sweet, and not at all astringent. Buttered veggie flavors. I always forget how much I enjoy greens when I go long stretches without drinking them regularly. Happy Spring Equinox everyone! :)

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Umm. So I decided to try this one this morning. I’m not fully awake and I’m having issues with my shoulder/headache thing, so this might not be completely coherent.

First, a story. My introduction to oolong was with a lily oolong. Upon first impressions I liked the green seaweedyness, but then after I had drunk some I started feeling really ill. So, uhh, that scent/taste is not something I’d normally drink. But because this was a sample from the lovely Sil, I thought I’d give it a go. (And of course I figured this all out after steeping it and smelling it and then looking up the name, etc. So most of the sample is gone already!)

The taste and feel of this tea start out very creamy and thick, but then the aftertaste is all weird seaweed.

Sadness.

I’ll be popping the rest of this into someone else’s box.

Sil

this was a sample from mandala – not something i’d generally be inclined to drink, though i do like their milk oolong. green oolongs. blech.

OMGsrsly

Normally the green oolongs I’ve had have been quite floral. This wasn’t really floral. It was cream and seaweed and spinach. :/

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93
drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
2710 tasting notes

Finally finishing off this sample given to me by a Steepster friend. Now I can’t remember who it was, it’s been so long. Whoever you are, thank you!

It was a difficult week for me. I am still sending out job applications and I had a very lengthy interview for a job I really wanted. Found out on Monday I didn’t get the job and I’ve been kinda down all week just burying my head in the sand, doing nothing but obsessing over tea and avoiding more job searching. I might be coming out of my funk a bit today but I am just so sick of this job searching process! I have to remember to enjoy life.

So here I am with a nice cup of pu in a cute yixing teapot. I’m not sure why I don’t have any of this tea but I will need to pick some up in the future. It’s so smooth and I’m really digging the cocoa taste. I also pick up a faint bit of cherries. Something about it seems a bit leathery too, not that I would normally be chewing on a piece of leather, but you know what I mean….

This is a nice companion to a quiet evening. It’s hard to go wrong with any puerh from Mandala but something about this seems almost decadent. Quite lovely.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
faybingler

Searching for a job is brutal. Last time it took me 5 months, and March is probably the worst time of the year. Just keep trying and enjoy your tea!

Amariel

Sorry to hear about the job interview…I have definitely had a few of those myself. It hurts and you think to yourself, “What did I do wrong?” and wonder what to do differently next time. This is certainly the tea to fall back on though. Hope it gave you a nice comforting hug!

TeaBrat

@faybingler – I’ve been looking for 8 months now!
@amariel – thanks… :)

faybingler

Wow, that sounds awful! I hope you find something soon!

MsWhatsit

I’m looking for work too. Hang in there.

TeaBrat

Thanks, MsWhatsit. :)

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81

Thanks to Mandala for the sample!
This is a very complex cup.. When it’s hotter, it tastes more buttery and creamy and as the tea cools, it transforms into a slight roasty/nutty flavor. It tastes like a nice green oolong. My only complaint is that I’m finding it heavy to drink, so it might be better savored in smaller portions.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Nuts, Roasted

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
TeaBrat

This is a yummy tea!

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86

Thanks to Mandala for the sample :)
I love jasmine green teas and this is no exception. Unlike other phoenix pearls that I have had, these are not over-scented with jasmine, creating a smooth, floral flavor. These are much better than other pearls that I’ve had!

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88

This is a fantastic tea. It has a touch of bitterness coupled with some sweet grassy notes. it is aging nicely, I’d say.

mrmopar

A year from now we will swap samples on this. I have one aging in the old pumidor.

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90
drank Green Gold by Mandala Tea
63 tasting notes

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90
drank Green Gold by Mandala Tea
63 tasting notes

This is a delicious green.. The leaves remind me of Clouds and Mist. The tea brews up to a soft yellow/green (or Green Gold? heh). The taste of the tea is sweet, buttery, slightly vegetal… and amazing :) This is definitely one to restock!

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Garret

The farm where this is grown is absolutely gorgeous! It was such a treat to hike up the mountain alongside a stream in order to get there. Once I arrived, I was invited into the Wang’s home where they made this tea, having just been processed the day before. Now when I drink it, I am transported back to the lovely day, the smell of the forest, the food, the tea. I’m so happy you are enjoying it.
With gratitude,
Garret

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Part of the box from Sil were some bits and pieces I ordered from Mandala and Butiki. I just added to her order because it was easier. :D Thank you!

So I have this new tea pot, right? And it’s precious and tiny. I let it soak all day in a bath of steeped mixed random bits of shou, and tonight I’ve made up half a not-so-mini tuocha. The pot is only 100ml, so a whole one would be too much!

I’m on my 5th steep now, and it’s pretty perfect. Nice mellow flavourful tea, even with the short steeps. The only issue I’m having is that the lid of the pot doesn’t seem as tight now that I’ve soaked it, so I’m splashing a bit when I pour the tea! But the flavours and everything are excellent. I’m getting some mineral, and I’m pretty sure that’s from the pot.

Yum. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

a raw puerh that i can get behind. I picked up a sample of this with my last order from Mandala based on some of the reviews here. I’m happy to report that this one doesn’t disappoint. While it’s a little vegetal as raw are to me, there is also very much a sweetness here as well as a stone fruit sort of taste..like apricots but not quite apricots. there’s a litle bitterness with this one, but keeping the temperatures cooler helped to even that out for me. Not something i need to keep in my cupboard because it’s not something i see myself gravitating towards BUT i’m glad i have a few more sessions with it as i’ll enjoy them quite a bit on those times i Do want a raw.

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89

I can’t believe I haven’t logged this one yet. It’s so good! I only steeped it for 30seconds in a huge 14oz cup, and the result is just sweet, and amazing just slightly earthy. I’ll have to do a better review of this later, when I didn’t drink the cup while I was playing minecraft and not note all the incredible flavours.

Also, I should restock on Mandala teas some time in the next few months! :O

Sil

before you do let me know… i’ve got to get down to my goal but i wan to place an order.

Cavocorax

I’ll try to remember! It prob won’t be in the near future as I still have a few samples of theirs to try!

Sil

and uh….maybe a few more at my place lol

Cavocorax

/0\ (thanks!)

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84
drank 2009 Yi Wu Ripe by Mandala Tea
5945 tasting notes

this was another i ran through today. YAY for a great day of actually getting to spend time with my puerh. I’m hoping to get one of these in every week if i can work from home at least one day a week and get in to a routine. This was another that i thoroughly enjoyed and didn’t come from dexter haha. I agree with allank that this was heavy on the fermentation but it was a smooth dark delicious cup every time. Sadly this was finished up earlier this afternoon so all i remember is being super glad that it went on for a while haha.

Final Count: 118

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85
drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
77 tasting notes

I judged this one incorrectly before I drank it…I read the descriptions on here and figured I wouldn’t like it, as smoky doesn’t really seem to be my thing. I was wrong, as I really enjoyed the smokiness, and I didn’t find it overwhelming at all. It’s a thick tea, with decent strength…nice for the morning, as the name indicates. Thanks for this sample, Nicole…great to broaden my horizons!

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78
drank 2013 Autumn Song Mao Cha by Mandala Tea
5945 tasting notes

A sample from Garrett in my last order. I thought that i’d had this one before but i guess not? this one is a little too much like green tea for me. It’s a much more vegetal puerh. While it’s not BAD, it’s just not for me. I much prefer mandala’s wild monk :)

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