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Recent Tasting Notes
Sampled this one for my afternoon tea session.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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/
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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. :)