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Recent Tasting Notes
Had this last night hunkered down pre-ice storm (my husband had just learned today would be a snow day, yay!).
This was a totally unexpected gift from Dexter3657, so generous! Thank you. (: It’d been on my mind to try in that ideal-for-swapping way where I was curious but not obsessed so it’s likely I never would’ve actually gotten around to ordering it myself even though I want to. Perfect!
It fit nicely with the pattern I had going earlier with the Da Yu Ling and Tsui Yu Jade oolongs in that it’s a lightly oxidized, more floral and fresh type of oolong (and unlike me in general who usually prefers darker roastier flavors, I seem to usually prefer lighter type oolongs over the more oxidized Wuyi ones). Maybe this is the wrong time of year for such notes, but I find weirdly I like things topsy turvy, at least in winter, as a respite from the coldness and darkness. A little vacation to spring in a cup.
I got to try this out in my new tasting set from Taiwan Tea Crafts (that sale was pretty great!) which was fun and really shows off the aroma and color of the finished tea. I find it strange that typically I hate floral flavored black teas, or perfume-y flowering teas, but when a tea just naturally has floral elements I tend not to mind, even love it. This is true even for jasmine notes, which I’ve always loathed when added/scented but enjoyed here. Hm. It probably helps that this is such a bright tea, which prevents floral aromas from seeming musty. Further steeps lead to a sort of sparkling fruity note, like a dry but fruity wine kind of. The smell has that mysterious, unnervingly sexy flower-musk thing going on that the spring tieguanyin from Verdant possessed. Very enjoyable.
The very first steep had all the floral aroma and character I describe and mostly expected from a light oolong, but the initial sip was a little intense, almost bitter. I’m seeing now others steeped this at a lower temperature, and given the light end of the spectrum for this oolong I think next time (Dexter3657 kindly gave me enough for multiple next times!!) I will lower the temp.
Ignore the rating, as I haven’t quite figured out how to post a tea & not rate it s on the app.
Delicious & perfect firmly morning drive to gig & 4 this morning! Now back to playing, my break is over.
I used the last of my sample from staphanie with a greater leaf-to-water ratio. I had just under two teaspoons and I used exactly 8oz of water. I remembered to rinse first this time and then i steeped the leaves for 4 1/2 minutes, trying to bring out some of those dark and chocolate notes everyone else gets.
But bleh. It taste like rotten green beans this time. Strange though that I get very little aroma from this puerh.
Apparently, I was not ready for the “full power of the dark side” according to the description :p
The fact that this tea is made up of little pearls alone makes it fascinating. I just found them adorable, and it just seems like such a clean, low-fuss way to make tea.
I smelled the tea as it steeped, and immediately thought it was interesting. I could immediately detect an earthy smell, combined with a smell similar to raisins, or maybe even Henna.
The taste actually reflects the scent quite accurately. It definitely has an earthy quality, but also retains a distinct sweetness that was not provided by the rock sugar that I added. Something about drinking this tea reminded me of a farm, and I imagined enjoying it after a long day of doing…farm related chores (I say this as a girl who grew up in a bustling city, and who’s probably never done a farm chore in her life). The farmy aspect of it isn’t entirely unlike that in the Keemun that I had from art of Tea. Not necessarily unpleasant, but definitely distinct. I’m really happy I have enough for another sample, and may even consider ordering more of this when I place my first Mandala order!
again, thank you so very much, JustJames! Mr. Keychange always asks if I’m “going to have another sample from your lovely tea friend in BC.” now!
This was a sample Garret threw in with one of my orders. So nice!
Steeped this one in my gaiwan complete with rinse and more leaf and all that—I’ve decided for straight oolongs that’s my method of choice (have had some truly mind blowing experiences that way). It is toasty, like toasty cereal, plus creamy/buttery in that vaguely savory/salty way many oolongs seem to me. It’s a nice specimen, but I’ve noticed I just don’t seem super into the classic high altitude “shan” oolongs. They’re never bad, just kind of unremarkable to me—I think their particular flavor and texture qualities just happen not to interest me much. But again, this is a good specimen of the type if you like them. I agree too this shares qualities—the creaminess mainly, which builds along with a clean almost fresh milky taste upon multiple resteeps—with Mandala’s popular Milk Oolong. I enjoyed the third and fourth steepings best, when that “fresh clean creamy milk” flavor came out.
I have not been taking the time to sit quietly and resteep tea, focusing on the experience. Tonight I remedied that with a long and fruitful gong fu session with this tea. It looks like I am going to try it once a year until the cake is gone! I got out a knife but the cake is loosely compressed and I realized I could just break off a chunk with my hands rather easily. Yay! I plan to order a breaking tray from Garrett really soon.
For such a young sheng, this is very drinkable. My favorite steeps were the later ones, and I actually felt almost as if I were drinking warm wine. About five steeps in I heard my stomach start gurgling. Ah yes, the tea was working its magic! Puerh usually gives me the gurgles and it makes my tummy happy.
This was a fabulous way to end a nice day of shopping out of town with hubby, and technically, also a nice way to start Tuesday since technically it is after midnight now! This is tasting more like white wine with each steep and especially as the temperature is dropping.
I think I am on steep eleven and still going. There is a lot of flavor here. I will probably wait a year again to taste it and experience it!
you know what’s awful? I drank two teas today.. and beyond loving them at the time, i am just too exausted to write anything. I’ve still got an hour of work left…7:30-23:30. what fun. This is fantabulous. that is all.
Mmm, definitely quite reminiscent of an unsweetened, rich, dark chocolate.
Not sure if it’s just my mind making things up after reading the description of this tea being made in cotton bags, but I did suddenly think of linens or cloths in the aftertaste. Not in a bad way, of course. More of a comforting, freshly air-dried in sunlight cloth way.
Of course, it’s finals week for me and it could just be the stress getting to me. Man, I can’t wait for this week to be over. One quiz down, two presentations (I will add here that I’m an incredibly shy person with a fair amount of social anxiety so I’m really not looking forward to that), another quiz, an exam, and a paper to go! And then another paper later next week, but I’ll deal with that one later.
Floral, nutty, creamy. . .my type of oolong!
oh man, when I said that to my self in my head, I thought of the recent toaster strudel commercials. Please do not read the above in the voice of the creepy little boy from those commercials! lol
Thanks for sharing this tea with me stephanie. i love it! :)
prepared western style (I don’t have any gaiwan)
A strong,malty and lightly smoked tea.
I was just like …oh how many pearls should I use for my mud and decided to go for 5, it was a good choice.
Thanks to justjames for sending me this lovely tea
I bought an 1oz of this pu’er with my last Mandala order. I snuck a bit in my travel tumbler on my way onto the cruise and it was fantastic! Super creamy!
Anyways, I wanted a pu’er to drink while I cook and bake for Thanksgiving. I fired up the kettle when I was working on the pumpkin pie (while the turkey was getting put into the BBQ for smoking). I got at least 6 resteeps up to having my yixing pot next to me on the table at dinner. I love how this tea is earthy, yet mellow sweet. The creamyness is my favorite part, it’s like drinking milk!
After dinner, I ordered a whole cake since Mandala’s Black Friday code kicked in. I really want to to a full blog tea review on this pu’er sometime, just yeah, this pu’er is awesome!
Thanks Terri Harplady for sending a bit of this to try along with the HH teabox! I used one teaspoon of leaves… these leaves just look chocolatey.
Steep #1 // cooled the water a few minutes // 1 min
This cup looked very pale in color… maybe I wasn’t supposed to let the water cool at all. The flavor wasn’t strong enough for me! I definitely should have steeped longer. I don’t see anything special OR dark with this one. I’ve had some pu-erhs that have been pitch black in color after seconds. The flavor is so mild it is tough to describe…
Steep #2 // cooled after a couple minutes // 3 min
This cup was darker… the color of root beer! The flavor was better too, but still not the strongest pu-erh I’ve had. It would be a nice intro pu-erh for anyone to try. The flavor does have hints of unsweetened chocolate and some cinnamon actually.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 10 min
Hmm… still not super dark. But the flavor is pleasant… hard to discern from the pumpkin bread I had while sipping though. Not dark enough for me! But I can say there was no ‘over steeped leaves’ flavor or anything.
If only I knew the perfect way to steep this one! But I have one more teaspoon to try with….
Love this tea!
The flavor is a nice malty brew with caramel and pecan notes with a silky texture. What I enjoy most about the Flowering Cones is it can take a beating: when I was on my cruise I’d just toss a few in my travel mug and let it infuse away without worry of oversteeping.
I personally prefer a longer steep with this tea, but the short 1 through 5 minute steeps were pretty good and I got quite a bit of tea from two little cones.
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/flowering-cones-black-tea-mandala-tea-oolong-owl-tea-review/ Black Tea Week with Sunset Owl (shhh, he’s missing feet!) I took some cool pictures of this blooming tea, so check it out!
Boo! After yesterdays long steeping run with this pu’er, I put the leftover leaves to cold steep in the fridge overnight. And boo, I must of steeped the flavor right out yesterday as I didn’t get much flavor in my cold steep.
(see previous note for review)
Yes, it’s Oolong Owl Black tea week, but I need some shu pu’er while I do Operation: Clean House for Thanksgiving. Good time to crack open some pu’er samples too!
I found this pu’er to be similar to Yunnan Sourcing’s 2012 Dragon on Jing Mai (my review http://oolongowl.com/2012-dragon-jing-mai-puer-yunnan-sourcing-oolong-owl-tea-review/ ) as it has similar abrasive clay and campy notes in the first few steepings with a gorgeous deep orange red colour. They are also jing mai tea mats, which I didn’t know until sitting down to write this, hoot!
However, I much prefer Mandala’s Year of the Dragon as it is much more mellow, no fermentation weirdness and creamy notes in mid to later steepings. The creamy notes are fantastic and this tea just gets better and better each steeping. I’d say Mandala’s pu’er is more of a cuddly mother dragon one whereas the Yunnan Sourcing one is more of a scary bite first ask questions later dragon!
that settles it. i prefer this western brew 4-5 cones for 4 mins or so rather than gaiwan. heh I saved one little cone to try out with my gaiwan and while it’s a pleasant enough cup, i like the depth of flavour you get from a western brew much better. :) thanks for the share terri!
This tea is kind of amazing. The addition of honey and milk transforms it into a liquid caramel. I’ve been drinking it all morning. And it’s cleared up that headache I woke up with from staying up too late chatting with a friend while drinking hard ginger cider (delicious).