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Recent Tasting Notes
This. This tea is fantastic! I was given this by a friend who highly recommended I try it. The dry leaf smells amazing! The small green balls carry a fragrant sweet aroma of fruits and candied syrup. I can pick up a lingering strawberry creme in the background. I warmed up my gaiwan with eagerness and placed these inside. The scent was so very very good! My first thought from sniffing the warmed leaf was an ice cream daiquiri. The leaf carries sweets, fruits, with a tiny bit of bitters. I swished the leaves around and then I was picking up more of a Neapolitan Ice Cream scent. This tea was just decadent. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste began as sweet and grassy with a vegetable base. The aftertaste of mango rose from the tongue and took over the senses. The brew became slightly astringent with a continuing dry grass tone and nice cream base. Later, the brew progressed into a sweet tropical fruit medley and smooth spring flora. The best part was with each exhale the taste of pineapple would wash over my taste buds. This really is a fantastic tea. The tea falters off after about four steeping, but it was still a nice fresh tasting tea. Honestly, this brew has me wishing I was in the Bahamas or something. It was just pure sweet and fresh flavors!
Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Dry Grass, Mango, Pineapple, Strawberry, Sweet, Tropical, Vanilla
This was a sample sent with my order. I think this is the one, as it’s a darker oolong than I’ve had. The leaves are a lovely dark colour. The taste was roasted and nutty with some sweetness. The floral tones was noticeable when I let it cool a bit. I made this in the gaiwan with a 15s rinse followed by two 40s drinkable steeps. Quite enjoyable.
Flavors: Floral, Malt, Nutty, Roasted
I completely forgot I had this. It was part of a shu sampler I bought from Mandala approximately a zillion years ago and promptly forgot I even had. I found it a few weeks ago while cleaning, and tried it a few days after and then never made a note of it here. Usually I wouldn’t but!!!! suprisingly, I really liked this. Not even a just “for a shu” kind of like. This is something I’d keep in my cupboard if it were still around. This is the first time outside of nuggets that I’ve actually gotten those rich dark chocolate notes everyone talks about out of a shu.
The leaves were a vibrant green. I brewed in the gaiwan, just under the boil with first two drinkable steeps at 40 secs. Beautiful flowery scent, I think lilac. A mild vegetal taste and buttery. Lovely. The liquor was a pale green. This was a sample included with my order. I’m glad, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it. I nice surprise. Curious to see how the taste evolves over subsequent steeps.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Vegetal
~60ml porcelain gaiwan. 1 10-15sec rinse, let leaves sit a few minutes. steeps 5s, 2s, 2s, 5s, 5s, 5s, 10s, …
first steep — smell inside gaiwan lid sharp and bitter? with some fruit, perhaps. tea still light, but with a little buttery vegetal-ness, and some soft sweetness. very light hint of smoke.
second steep — smell inside gaiwan lid becoming that warm spicy vanilla(?)-y smell of sheng (at least, in my head that’s what it is), with a hint of barnyard. tea a little stronger, mild fresh-woody aftertaste, very light perhaps-smoke.
third steep — not much different, but with a stronger&longer aftertaste. should’ve probably given it a longer steep. aftertaste almost grassy? with dry-mouth feel. there is probably a name for that. interesting about the lid smells — half of the lid smells of warm spices, with maybe some tobacco; the other half smells thoroughly barnyardy. interesting that it’s split by (probably) which half contacted the tea on the pour.
fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh steeps — more tobacco-y, to me, and a bit bitter in back of mouth. or just… bitter everywhere. whoah. it’s like it’s climbing around the edges of the back of my tongue, even after the liquid is gone. almost a chewy sort of thing.
It seems to pretty much continue in that vein, with the bitterness becoming the primary. I’ve not until now had a tea like this; it’s very interesting.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Smoke
This is delicious, OMGsrsly. I drank this all day, using short steeps of 5-15 sec and I never once became bored.
I also had a mini heart attack when I visually interpreted the delightful tea bubbles as a scary tea spider upon sip. Luckily the steeped tea spider appears to be a mythical creature. Good times with tea and absurd brain. To be fair, they were very lively bubbles.. It’s amazing what stress does to the brain.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Tangy
I found this to be bright and predominantly roasted tasting. There’s that hint of almond/cinnamon, but I wouldn’t call that strong. Prior to steeping, when I put the leaves in the warmed gaiwan it had a lovely roasted smell. I’m currently on the second drinkable steep and like it better when it’s cooled a little. I ordered this because I was intrigued by the description. I don’t know that this would be a regular tea for me, but it didn’t disappoint.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Roasted
Interesting oolong. Had it gong fu at first and it definitely changes. Overall, it tasted like a softer Tie Guan Yin with a minty aftertaste. Orchid floral, but more vegetal with the weird mint I’m talking about. Someone put jasmine on here which I get more from the smell than anything else.
I’m definitely glad to have tried it, but a sample is perfect for me. Otherwise, I’m getting some clear energy out of it. Centering, maybe. Or just another boost from the coffee and three cups of tea I had earlier.
So things are finally starting to settle down after the move… Almost all of the boxes have been unpacked and pretty much everything has been put away, even if most of it is just a temporary home until I can find more permanent spaces… that’s always what I dislike most about moving, finding the right spot for everything in the new place…. But, as a benefit, I’ve discovered a lot of hoarded tea during this move squirrelled away in spaces that I had forgotten I had… This is a sample I picked up from someone during a swap when I was a little more active on this site than I’ve been recently… It’s also a sip down which makes me super happy because I’m pretty sure at this point I have over 500 different teas in various quantities laying around my house… I’ve had to hide tea all over the house in various cupboards so my husband doesn’t realize just HOW much tea I really do have… I would never hear the end of it!!! So, I’m working towards at least trying to finish off all my sample sized tea in the next couple of weeks… wish me luck… its a daunting prospect!!! Anyways, enough rambling… onto the tea review… This is a beautiful morning pick me up. It’s malty, earthy with a baked bread scent and taste. If I wasn’t on a mission to reduce my cupboard I would definitely buy some of this. This is the kind of tea that makes me happy to be sitting at my desk at work before everyone else gets in just enjoying the peace and quiet!
Okay. I’m bad. Got more Mandala Milk Oolong ‘cause nothing has really beaten it so far. And since I’ve had the Tie Guan Yin and regular Jin Xuan three times already, I wanted to try something different. Thank you for the samples!
Anyway, the tasting notes already on the page accurately describe it. I followed Mandala’s Gong Fu guide- 15 second rinse, then a 30 sec steep adding 15 sec consecutively, then 30 in the last two.
Like Liquid Proust, I’ve had the roasted version of this oolong variety with mixed feelings. Now that it is green, I really enjoy the natural light florals it possesses. Lilac and maybe gardenia are the flowers I’m thinking of, especially like a Tie Guan Yin. But the taste tones down those florals with a creamy texture and buttery vegetal quality. As in, fresh butter and fresh greens and spinach-not the vegetables or cooked vegetables. It is borderline brothy, but too thin for me to really label it that way. Like a lot of other tasting notes, it does have a vanilla quality that is unambiguously vanilla albeit a light vanilla. Marshmallow is also pretty accurate to the sugary smell that emanates from the cuo. As for texture, it is more like marshmallow root than marshmallow candy. Every once in a while, caramel and buttercotch pucker out as it is first poured and as it cools down. I even got a caramel cheesecake taste for where my unsoaked leaves were sitting. Yum.
I knew that I would enjoy this one, but I didn’t realize how much I would like it. This tea is creamy and vegetal the way I like it to be. If you want a crispy, fresh example of a green oolong, I highly recommend this. You might be bored because this is a very subtle tea, but the subtlety of the tea makes it all the better. I also recommend Mandala’s Tie Guan Yin, but I also like this one because it s more toned down on the florals and a little bit creamier in my opinion.
Dry leaf smells spicy, fruity. 195F 1T 8oz
20s steep spice, fruity, and earthy. I should have continued with the flash steeps and not tried to do longer steeps. With short steeps, the tea was yummy, spicy, fruity. I liked it, but you have to watch the time closely. It’s a little finicky.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Spicy
Thanks to Nicole for the sample!
This is a beautiful tea. The gold and black curled leafs are absolutely gorgeous both dry and wet/unfurled. I didn’t get my smell in the way of the dry leaf (possibly because it was just a sample size as opposed to a bag full) but the wet leaf smelled deliciously malty.
I brewed this first sample taste Western and did 3 steeps of 1,2, and 5. All three steeps were dark and flavorful. Malty and sweet, this tea was close to exactly what I wanted it to be. I would strongly consider buying an ounce or two of this tea.