Mandala Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

82

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Preparation
8 min or more 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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84

Sampled this one for my afternoon tea session.
Rinse/pause/5/10/15/30/45/90/120/240
I was tempted to use two of the toucha but I decided against it as I only bought 2 ounces.

First steeping was reminiscent of what it smells like after a fresh rain, with overtones of mud and fresh earth noted.

I found the body was medium with a soft almost juicy mouthfeel. There was a nice qi present but not very caffeinated in my experience.
The longer I drank this sample the more earth and bold taste developed.
Later into the session there was a sweetness revealed that I didn’t notice at first.
Took it to about 8 steepings.

Flavors: Barnyard, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Hay, Sweet, Vineyards, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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87

Thank you so much Cheri for sharing a couple of these minis with me!

Man, I love mini tuos. They are so adorable and convenient! This is a VERY tasty shou as well. Nice and clean with some creamy earthy cocoa notes. Quite satisfying. These are going on my Mandala shopping list for sure! YUMS!

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80

Have you ever roasted a sweet potato and left it in the oven just a little bit too long? The outside becomes dark brown and brittle, but the inside is still delicious and creamy. It smells slightly smoky and tastes that way too. Well this tea is basically that experience in a cup. Incredibly similar to sweet potato with some smokiness and a tannic bite that is not unpleasant. I really enjoyed this tea. So far I have enjoyed a single, longer western style steep more than lighter multiple steeps.

Flavors: Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

This tea is nice.

I’ve got a nice, relaxed feeling going on.

I started at 205° and the tea was a little bitter. I dropped to 195° and the bitter is gone. Smooth, sweet, not quite fruity. I like it.

Tealizzy

I did that today too with another sheng. I think 195 is best. :)

Cheri

It worked out well. Some sheng do better at the higher temp, but I think this one did best a little lower.

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82

This is a nice larger leafed shou. It definitely has some of the honey notes that are talked about in the description. I have also found some floral aspects in it and an almost vanilla-ish spice to it, if that makes any sense. I think this tea reminds me more of a mood or atmosphere than any particular flavor. I have found it to be surprisingly complex and subtle. It is on the lighter/clearer side of shous which is making it perfect for drinking on a sunny autumn day such as we are having in Boston today.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

I have this tea but didn’t taste yet.

Matt Warren

It’s definitely interesting. Has a different character than a lot of the other shous I’ve had. I attribute this to the fact that it is made from a higher grade of leaf. I plan on getting some other big-leaf shous in the future to see how it plays out in other recipes.

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I just realized that I had yet to try any of the shengs I got from the Mandala sampler, and decided to remedy that with this tea. I have only tried one or twoshengs before, so I’m quite inexperienced with them. That’s why I got this sampler, to explore the world of shengs withput having to commit to any.

7g, 6oz water, 200F, two 5 second rinses, then 8,10,12 second steeps.

Ok, so the first steep tastes like smoked meat. There’s definitely other notes here, there’s a lot of complexity, but I’m having a hard time identifying anything other than smoked meats, and maybe some pine. The second steep loses most of the smoked meat flavor, but still is slightly smokey. Again, smoked pine comes to mind. There’s also a sort of sweetness here, not in the tradition I just added sugar to this sense, more in a mouth feel, and in the salutatory response. (I didn’t add any sweetener, I generally don’t sweeten greens, oolongs, or shengs). There’s also some camphor notes, and with the pine needle like notes, creates a cooling sort of bitter end of sip/aftertaste as it cools.Third is much like the second, but less cooling/bitter.

I don’t know if I’m just not in a sheng mood, or if I’m not really in a sheng mood. But this just isn’t doing it for me right now, so I’ll be calling it a quits early. Leaving the rating off since it’s purely my tastes.

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drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
939 tasting notes

This was the last untasted sample from my Mandala Sheng sampler!

Unfortunately I did not take good notes as I drank it all day at work, but I did enjoy this one. Definitely some sweetness here, not too much bitterness, some light floral/fruit notes. Not as bold and brassy as some young sheng can be.

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85
drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
605 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster! This sample came to me from Dexter. I’m excited to try this one, it’s been a while since I had a golden snail tea. These curls are about half to two-thirds golden, and they have a gentle bread and honey scent.

Wow, I was surprised by the aroma. I was expecting sweetness and bread, what I smell is decidedly savory with smoked food. And the taste is savory as well! Definitely different from other golden snails I’ve tried, or at least how I remember them tasting. It’s definitely a savory flavor, though there is some breadiness there. The main flavor for me is smoked meats along with a hint of pepper. I do pick up on some sweet honey notes also, especially in the aftertaste. Overall, it’s lovely, though not what I expected.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Smoked

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87
drank Golden Strand Black Tea by Mandala Tea
5059 tasting notes

backlog from yesterday. I am still a huge fan of this one…a delicious tasty smooth, sweet tea! thank you Garrett! for great teas!

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87
drank Golden Strand Black Tea by Mandala Tea
5059 tasting notes

oh man….this is a backlog from yesterday and i’m still having trouble believing that i purchased this and hadn’t gotten around to trying it until yesterday. This one is delicious people. better tasting note to come when i can be doing it as i’m drinking the tea…but i drank this one up super quickly and kept trying to go back for more when my travel mug was empty haha

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I’ve been sipping this one for hours.
It still tastes good.

Stephanie

How are you feeling Terri?

Terri HarpLady

I’m doing ok, thanks for asking :)
I’m still in denial about having to let go of a gig on nov 8th, & every time I think about it a string breaks on my harp. 3 strings broke in the last 24 hours, so I think my Harp is saying, “Don’t you even THINK about it!”

Terri HarpLady

One of my college students came over & replaced a string for me this afternoon, then she tuned my harp. As soon as she sat down to play, another string broke. LOL. She replaced that one for me, & about 10 minutes after she left, another one broke. That shit never happens! Plus all of my strings are less than a year old. So I guess its some kind of auspicious sign…

caile

Oh my, I think you’re right – your harp is telling you to be patient and heal before trying to play too much. :)

Sarsonator

Harps never lie! :p

Terri HarpLady

I love you guys :)

Parsifal

How’s the finger?

Terri HarpLady

with pins sticking out the sides, it looks like some kind of Frankenfinger, just in time for Halloween. Gratefully, the pain level has gone down!

K S

Frankenfinger :) lol. Glad the pain is under control. I broke my arm at the shoulder a few years ago. After a couple weeks I figured out how to get my electric guitar under my arm and I played with the praise team with that broken arm (not well, but I played). Not saying it was a smart move, just that I understand your desire to get back at it. When you are driven, you can get quite ingenious. Just don’t make it worse.

Terri HarpLady

For now, I’m being good…sigh

Cheri

I’m happy to hear about the pain level being much better. Do what your PT and doctor say to do, and don’t even think about playing that gig. Listen to your harp!

carol who

Glad that you are healing :-) As everybody else says… don’t push it. Let yourself heal.

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90

This is a really gorgeous autumn tea, that is indeed pretty big and leafy! I was pretty surprised that I had a couple leaves there were as long as my palm!

The colour steeps up a vibrant clear orange, with lots of forest floor, earth, moss and amber notes. Mid and later steepings the flavor has camphor notes, which seem to hold on for a long time. A very refreshing tea that is also relaxing – not a party time pu’er.

The big thing to note with this tea is the price is really nice for something that has a decade on it. I quite enjoyed this one and would probably snag another oz or two when I order again.

Full review (and lots of photos) on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2004-big-leaf-yiwu-gushu-raw-puer/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
mrmopar

I agree this is a nice one.

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90
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
605 tasting notes

This sample came from Dexter! She was kind enough to send me two of Mandala’s black teas that I’ve been curious about for a while now. This one has very dark brown leaves that are thin and somewhat twisty. Some of them look more like oxidized oolong leaves than black tea.

So I confess, I let this cup cool far too much while I was catching up on the late night/morning activity on Steepster (and checking whether T2 has cheaper US shipping now that there’s a store in the US). But it’s still super tasty even through it’s basically room temperature now! It’s rich and savory, almost like a meal in a cup. It’s difficult for me to describe without saying something that other people will find unappetizing, like smoked meat… There’s also a bit of a roasty note here and a strong sense of bread and grains. Very yummy and satisfying in the morning!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Grain, Honey, Malt, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
greenteafairy

Oh wow, I didn’t realize T2 had opened up here! I’m going to have to check the new shop out soon.

Cameron B.

I still need to go to NYC! :P

Cheri

Okay, I feel stupid, but T2?

Cameron B.

http://www.t2tea.com/

It’s an Australian company that has some tasty-sounding teas, but the international shipping is $15 or something.

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Second one to try from the sheng sampler. Method: gongfu with gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120.

It was difficult to make the dry leaf aroma, though it pretty much smells buttery. The wet leaf aroma changes as the leaves cooled and as the session went on: dried grass, cooking herbs, grilled vegetables, and apricot and grapes.

Overall, the broth is clear, full-bodied, a little thick, and bright. A livening effect on the body. Later, an alcohol kind of buzzed sensation.

Infusions one and two are light in flavor, not quite there. Buttery and vegetal, with a tart aftertaste. These invoke a mental scene of dark earth after a light rain, of water droplets slowly dripping from the very tea tree this pu’erh was processed.

The third infusion tastes of sweet grass and hay, and the aftertaste is more citrus-like. Tingly on the tongue. The fourth infusion has indescribable notes – this is probably the camphor, which I’ve never tasted. Infusions 5-9 come back to the sweet grass and tartness. The texture is more smooth.

Lastly, the tenth infusion has the same notes only lighter in taste. Buttery, with a creamy texture.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
152 tasting notes

Brewed with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 20, 30, 60, 90, 120.

I don’t have a palate for sheng, hence no rating.

A dry aroma of plums, grapes, lettuce an licorice. The wet aroma evolves: from green peppers to grapes to apples and honey. Sweet and juicy – I enjoyed this aroma throughout the session.

Early on and late into the session, the liquor is the color of grape juice, and in the middle of apple juice. Full-bodied, thin textured, clear, and crisp. The first infusion is too light in flavor, tasting of dried grass and grains. It is also unpleasantly sour. The flavor fully develops at infusion two. It is still grassy, though no sourness anymore. A little sweet now. The third infusion has more vegetal notes in addition to grass: zucchini and a reprise of green peppers. The grass lessens in the fourth and fifth infusions, which are also much sweeter – reminding me of grapes – with a hint of citrus.

Back to dried grass thereafter. The sweetness also slowly disappears. Lighter flavor. I’m left with a peppery aftertaste at infusion seven. This, too, goes away. The last infusions are very light and grassy, no peppers at all, and they have an airy mouthfeel.

Flavors: Apple, Dry Grass, Grapes, Green Pepper, Vegetables, Zucchini

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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i decided to enter this tea under Mandala as well as Yunnan Sourcing since Mandala currently carrying these bricks. They are sold out on US site but fortunately Mandala has them.

I love wild teas of Dehong. i tried Light Roast, regular roast, Feng Qing Ye Sheng Hong Cha Wild Tree Purple Black tea Yunnan Sourcing offerings. i tried 2005 Wild Tree brick of Dehong (wet storage noticed, and i loved it).
This puerh has some notes not found in other sheng. its sweet,nutty, herbal, smooth and delicious. Not bitter. Soup is bright yellow . it was a pleasure to drink for 2 days.

Thank you Garret for having this tea . I have to have it, its a must in my cupboard!

http://instagram.com/p/t3YwsZBwlF/

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Thomas Edward(Toad)

I love the Dehong teas at YS, i havent had this one tho, i still needs to try somemore Mandala teas too

boychik

if you love Dehong teas i guarantee you love this one

Terri HarpLady

I also love teas from Dehong

boychik

You introduced me to Dehong teas Terri! so grateful ;)

Terri HarpLady

:) glad to spread the love!

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I haven’t been writing too many tasting notes as of late. Part of it was the site being so buggy. Part of it was just sheer laziness on my part.

But I told myself I would write one for this pu. And then I didn’t take any notes while I drank it all day.

Shame on me.

I liked it. I was very sad to see it end.

Unfortunately, that is about all I can say.

http://instagram.com/p/t-dIrygyZ-/
http://instagram.com/p/t-aH-fgyU9/

Tealizzy

You used your new set! Cute!

ashmanra

Gorgeous gaiwan!

Cheri

It was actually my first time using a real gaiwan (my other one is an easy gaiwan) and it went surprisingly well. I am really glad I had the tiny tea tray, though!

boychik

Its working now, so im trying to post as many as i remember or consult to my Instagram;) glad you like it. it is one of my many faves fr. Mandala.

Terri HarpLady

beautiful set!

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Well, I have not had a tea quite like this before, and it is a whole new wonderful experience.

Rinse, then brewed 10 seconds for a couple steeps so far, and saving the leaves for another time.

Tastes of dried fruits with the freshness of pine and wee hint of smoke; a bit of pleasant bitterness sort of like a green pepper. Smells incredibly like apricots – so lovely. The whole sensation of drinking it is different though, from my usual teas, and I almost feel like I am drinking a magical potion. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Sil

i haven’t tried the 2014 yet but the 2012 is probably my favourite puerh to date.

caile

Nice. I liked this one a lot – they are probably similar a bit I would imagine.

boychik

They are not similar (to me at least). and yay another puerh lover emerging

caile

Haha, ok. :-)

Sil

i’m not sure if that makes me happy or sad boychik. haha i love 2012 so much.

Terri HarpLady

I dont think I’ve tried the 2014 either, but do enjoy the 2012 :)

Sil

i bought a 2014 cake with my second 2012 so i’ll try to remember to send you some terri

caile

I’ll be curious to see how you like the 2014 in comparison. :)

Sil

maybe i’ll get a chance this weekend, though no promises as we’re trying to clean our house from top to bottom this weekend!

caile

Hehe, that’s ok. But hope the cleaning job isn’t too hard and you’ll have time to relax as well! :)

mrmopar

I think you all have the bad batch lot of this. You all should send them to me for proper disposal.

caile

hahaha! :-)

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