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Recent Tasting Notes
Garret sent me a few of these mini tuochas with my order.
I’ve been looking at them sitting there for a while, but I was never brave enough to try them, or any of the ripe shou that I got from him in the sampler. Nope. Terrified.
I tried these today.
I am in love.
I did two rinses and then tried the third infusion. I didn’t like that one very much, and I dumped it about half way through.
But after that….
At first, it was black, like a dark roast coffee black. Deep, dark, and so rich. Almost creamy. Earthy.
Then it mellowed out. Still rich and creamy, but not to heavy. Delicious. Amazing.
Oh, and did I mention that I was kinda really tea drunk by this point? I just kept gulping it down as fast as I could.
Tea Drunk. At work.
Fortunately, it went fine and dandy, no problems.
The tea did calm down more through the later infusions. It did get almost sweet, which surprised me. REally nice.
I was sad when the final infusion (I wish I’d counted, but I was distracted with work and drinking tea) of 8 minutes was weak. I knew that was the end of it, and stopped there.
I will be buying more of this. So Yummy!
This is a very tasty shou puerh with a great deal of fermentation flavor left. There were strong chocolate notes in this tea as well as a very earthy flavor. I also picked up on the leather notes in it although I did not notice much of the list. Perhaps I was not paying close enough attention. I think this a tea with a lot of potential. That is why I will put this away and age it for a while before drinking again.
When I brewed this the first steep was over brewed because my brand new teapot was clogged from being seasoned. Also, it pours a little slowly. I adjusted the steeps downward and got better results. The first steep was very, very earthy. By the third steep the flavor improved. By the fifth steep it was markedly better. It should be noted that it never completely lost its fermentation flavor. I guess I have become accustomed to older, better aged shou puerh.
I steeped this 6 times in a 207ml teapot with 7g of leaf and boiling water. i steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, and 1 min. I had to adjust the time after the first steep because the tea was over brewed.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Leather
This was from the $5 Ripe Puer Sampler. MAN this was some good shou! Such a strong, rich flavor. Reminded me of dark chocolate, just not bitter. It brews up pretty dark in color as well. The taste was much sweeter than other ripe puerhs I’ve had. It also had a really interesting savory smell that’s kind of hard to describe. Another review mentioned leather. Maybe that’s it.
I used boiling water in my 4 oz yixing pot and did 3 steepings (rinse, rinse, 5s, 10s, 15s). I soooo wanted to have more, but I didn’t want to go into caffeine overload (which is very easy for me). I’ll be saving this for tomorrow to enjoy again!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Sweet
I’ve recently tried this tea and found it has very mild smooth taste, a little bit milky. This milky taste is not a matter of adding milk onto your tea but it’s so natural that it seems to be the part of the tea. I like drinking it in the morning as it helps me to wake up and get little positive (especially early in the Monday morning ;D) .
Flavors: Flowers, Milk, Wet Earth
I couldn’t wait to try this one with all the amazing reviews and people worried it will be out of stock. Since I’m still new to the puerh world, I only bought a sample of this one, but still, it’s good for 4 whole amazing experiences, right? :)
I also used my new tawny dragon tea set to make this tea. The little pot is awesome! Pours so nice! The cup, and actually the pot, gets really hot to the touch, though. Fortunately the pot has a handle, but I have to let the little cup cool a bit before drinking. Now I know why it would be a good idea to have coasters for your teacups! Just looking at the cup relaxes me though…it’s color and shape has that effect.
There was a big piece of the cake in my sample, which I estimated to be about the right size for a serving, so I just plopped it into my tawny dragon and poured two rinses of 10 seconds each.
My first steeping to drink was 15 seconds. It came out pretty light. Very mild, slightly sweet, hint of tang, hint of smoke/camphor…whatever it is! ;) Creamy. I followed that up with a crapload of steepings, probably around 14 or 15, each 15 seconds longer until I hit 3 minute steeps and then stayed there. I did one last hurrah steep for 5 minutes too. I think I actually got tea drunk! The liquor was absolutely beautiful throughout…a pretty copper color. As I steeped, the taste became more astringent and then less so, turning into a very smooth stone-fruit tea. The astringency was kind of a lot at the beginning, which made me want to keep going to coax out the fruity note. It worked, but it took a lot of steepings. My favorites steepings were toward the end of my session. I’m thinking either I used too much leaf, or the water was too hot, or maybe it’s just me? Any recommendations for the best way to brew this one? I’d like to be able to coax out that fruity note sooner, if possible. Fortunately I have more leaf to enjoy!
Oh, and that tawny dragon pot has now become my new best friend…I might just start gong fu-ing everything now! Ha!
I liked my sample of this less than the Phatty Cake II, I think given a few years with proper storage it might develop more flavors/improve. That’s not to say this is a bad tea, It just wasn’t as strong or complex as I hoped. I got 3-4 infusions from it. It has a nice woodsey flavor, fig, leather, slight astringent – but not off putting. I’m more familiar with wine tasting terms than tea – but this tasted “young”. very drinkable, but I’d love to be able to store this and age it..but I don’t have a good set up for that.
I did a 15 second rinse, rested the leaves for 10-15 seconds, infused 15, 30 and 45 seconds. last steep was much longer- trying to wring every last essence from the tea leaves! :-)
Flavors: Earth, Fig, Leather
This was my very first Pur-eh and I was in love at first sip. Complex notes ranging from earthy to a hint of vanilla, maybe a slight molasses flavor. the depth of flavors and complexity was amazing. I got 4-5 steeps from my sample packet before there wasn’t much flavor left. This I am planning to buy soon. :-) I did a 15 second rinse, let the tea rest for about 5-10 min, then did 15, 30, 45 second infusions. the last steep was quite long since it was loosing flavor, but still tasty.
Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Leather, Molasses, Oak wood, Vanilla
Receive a sample along with my last order from Mandala Tea, and finally had a quiet, rainy afternoon to enjoy multiple steeps of this wonderful oolong. Loaded up my guiwan, gave a quick rinse and then enjoyed watching the unfurling and expanding leaves do their dance. Wonderful aroma, subtle and slightly floral. Nice progression of flavors through several steeps, becoming sweeter and more creamy with time. A really nice Alishan Oolong.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Herbaceous
Hm…this one is interesting. Not sure how I feel about it. Not a favorite, but it’s interesting.
Cocoa, chocolate, and earth are the main things I’m tasting.
I just have no idea how to feel about this one. xD Feeling a little stumped from it…but it’s interesting. Glad I got to try it. Maybe I’ll figure out what I think when I re-steep it.
Thanks for the sample, Sarsonator! :D
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Earth
Got a sample of this from kimquat a few months ago. Finally getting around to it.
This one is absolutely delicious!
Sweet potatoes…Baked bread…Ugh, so good!!
Hints of earthiness but hardly noticeable. Definitely another win! Probably something I’d consider ordering in the future even. :O
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Sweet and toasty with a fruity spiciness; a bit like rye bread and jam. Also notes of cocoa with a wee hint of earthiness.
Very delicious, with a lovely resteep.
Note: I did resteep some of this the other day, probably a third time when I knew it would be weak but just wanted something nice and warm anyway, and although it was weaker as expected, there was a bit of a licorice/fennel-type note which I hadn’t tasted before – still pleasant, and made an interesting and comforting cup that I enjoyed.
Hoping to get a chance to try my pu’er sampler soon. :)
After lunch, relaxing on a lovely Saturday.
I’m doing my 2nd taste test with Goldie the golden teacup vs a regular teacup. This morning I found, much to my surprise, that Goldie DOES enhance the flavor of tea. I had a sheng that was lovely, but had a little bitterness from the regular cup. But from Goldie, the tea was smoother and the finish was bitter-free.
I wanted to try again, but with a shou. This one had two 10 second rinses, but in it’s defense, the leaves needed to open more. It’s either less earthy or I am just getting used to the earthiness of shous and don’t notice it as much.
In any event, I did the same test with Goldie vs non-goldie. The effect is less pronounced because shous aren’t generally very bitter anyway, but damn… it definitely is smoother! I may not articulate it well, but I can taste a difference and I know it’s not all just in my head.
This tea is making me feel happy and relaxed and pleasantly woozy!
Smooth, lightly earthy, but not in a bad way. I just did one rinse on this one and when I sipped it, I knew there was no need to dump more.
Check me out, boychik!!!!
This gave me a light tea buzz and was a lovely evening tea (drank last night).
I’ve really been in a shu mood, enjoying special dark yesterday and this one today. This is still super creamy. The most prominent note I get is wood, but like most ripe puerhs I’ve had, it gets sweeter in the later infusions. Mmm, sweet creamy wood! :)
Since I’m traveling to Arizona next week for work, I’m trying to enjoy teas that are better enjoyed at home before I go. I just got the sheng sampler in the mail! Woot! To drink today? Or tomorrow? That is the question!
Btw, steepster is particularly sucky today. Hopefully this will post!
This is my last ripe puerh to try from the sampler. I was excited to try it because the description sounded so lovely…who wouldn’t like light cocoa, vanilla, fig, and prune? I drank it gongfu-style with my pseudo gaiwan setup. I enjoyed eight infusions and I have to say this puerh is incredibly inoffensive. There is a strong creaminess that lasted throughout my session….so good! I bet this would be a great starter puerh, but it also makes me wonder if I hadn’t tried more pungent ones first whether I would truly have enjoyed this one as much as I did. The earthiness is there, but there are no sharp notes. I also detected the light cocoa, vanilla, and dried fruit notes. I think prune is a good characterization for the fruit note. Overall, this is my second favorite from the sampler, behind special dark. It’s not quite at “my precious!” level, but definitely a comforting cup!
So I’m a little late to the party on this review.
I had this earlier today with the TEAplets. But I was unable to focus on writing my review. Now is a better time.
I was lucky enough to receive the gift of tea from Sarsonator: this beautiful Mandala cake. She made this very special for myself and MzPriss (who was also given the same cake) as it wasn’t even available yet on Mandala’s website. That’s what I call a REAL surprise!
Now how thoughtful and generous was that? Thank you so much Sarsy, I am so grateful!
Right from the get go, I had a feeling it would be a good one. The cake looks amazing, as if every single leaf was placed strategically to create a little work of art.
It broke very easily, no need to fight it, loosely compressed.
I used 8g for a 5oz yixing clay pot.
First, I love the golden liquor it produces. It’s thick and almost oily as I pour the first steep in the pitcher.
The leaves are barely awake, and already they render a taste that completely seduces me. We all agree: it’s remarkable.
Stone fruits, mostly soft and ripe apricot. Super sweet and silky, heavy mouthfeel of honey.
In later steeps, that sweetness turns into maple water. I also get juicy apple notes. It’s not smokey at all, and that astringency normally present in young sheng is nowhere to be found.
Around steep seven, I get a certain acidity, but i think I just let it steep too long. It’s very potent.
I had dinner, and went back to it. It kept giving and giving.
Thank you so much again Sarsy, and thanks to Garret who helped make this surprise happened, you are such a classy guy!
As usual, for those who love to watch:
The folks in the chat room kept saying I should try this on. So today I finally got to. It smells like earthy dark chocolate. There is a flavour like rich, dark, slightly sweet hot chocolate, and the name makes me think of a certain candy bar.
Since I joined the Dark Side long ago, it was certainly time to try this tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate
Sooo, I am finally trying this – the first of my Mandala sampler. This is my first Mandala experience, but not my first puerh. I already know I prefer Shu, so this is a great opportunity. Dry, the leaf smells sweet and reminds me (as usual) of sweet hay, damp earth, wood and sweet clean animals.
I followed the instructions provided with the teas which suggested the whole serving for one session or half that for a lighter brew (or in my case for a small quantity of liquid). I gave a 15 second rinse with boiling water, then 30 second steep with boiling again. The result is not bitter or astringent, though it isn’t as sweet as expected. It has a bit of dryness and some general earthiness but not a lot else. It’s definitely earthy and mushroom-y. The beau gets a fishy smell but I don’t. He says “it’s really strong. It’s not bad though.”
2: 45 seconds, boiling. The leaves are still pretty clumped up, and the liquor is quite dark with an earthy, mushroom aroma. The flavour matches the first, but maybe a bit less dry. Strong, rich, earthy.
3: 1 minutes, boiling. Might as well mention that due to my lack of a sharing pitcher, I am brewing in my small gaiwan, and pouring into the larger one then pouring into our cups with a dribble at the end for my teapet. It’s a messy but equitable system. This steep smells very strong. Like an earthy greenhouse or barn. As always, this isn’t negative. Still no bitterness, but a bit dry. No sweetness, which I had in other shu. I think this is maybe the result of the small leaf?It’s bold, fo shu! (See what I did there?) The beau says the fish is gone (I never got that!) and that it is more earthy. “Best steep so far.”
4: 1 minute 15 seconds, boiling. I can’t imagine how strong this would be with the full sample. I definitely made the right choice for my brewing setup to split this in two. I was looking at other notes and saw some comparisons to coffee which seem accurate but it isn’t unpleasant and bitter like coffee. More an explanation of the depth and richness. This steep gets some sweetness finally. I like it. Much the same, but better. The beau says “now this tastes like a typical pu-erh, the strong taste is gone.” We agree on that for once.
5: 1 minutes 30 seconds, boiling. Whoa sweetness. Something fruity. Appley? This is different. I like it. Best so far. Reading other notes again – man, did my experience contradict EVERYONE else? Oh well!
6: 1 minute 45 seconds, boiling. The problem with this steeping method is that the gaiwan burns my fingers with boiling water, but the water is cool enough to drink by the time it is poured in my cup. I could go through a lot of steeps very quickly if it weren’t for the need to get water boiling again regularly. Taste is similar to 5. Sweet, lighter, a sense of apple or maybe apple peel. I don’t know why I say that, it isn’t strong enough to really explain, but it comes to mind anyway.
From here on, I’m going to just steep and enjoy without reporting. This can get exhausting. I need a bigger sample so I can try it gongfu, and Western-ish as well. For now, this was nice and different from other shu I have tried. I don’t think I need a cake of it, as it doesn’t hit my hot spots (currently). Really nice to experience though. Great education!
Flavors: Apple Skins, Earth
I took a gamble on this one and Garret did not lead me astray. Thanks so much, G-Mac. You picked a real beauty!
Method: 6g, 6oz, 200 degrees, rinse-10-15-20, sheng yixing and Goldie
Aroma: Smells very strongly of grape and smoked apricots, but it has a freshness that was very pleasant.
Flavor: First, this feels like butter. It’s creamy and so very smooth. It’s fruity and sweet, with almost no bitterness and only the lightest astringency on the finish. It made me feel all warm and it did not take long for my tea drunk wooziness to start. I have a sheng glow. A nuttiness starts to emerge, too.
I adore this tea. It’s amazeballs!
I was very surprised to get a Mandala box that I didn’t remember ordering. When I opened it, I found a note from Garret saying it was a surprise from my Teaplet Sarsonator and that my other Teaplet, the Lovely Tea Fairy was getting one too. At that point, this had not been released on the Mandala site and it made me cry. Sarsy went to a LOT of trouble working with Garret to make this amazing surprise happen and I heart them both a LOT.
Today we finally all three have our supply of this and we are having a Teaplet sheng party. And Holy Crap. This is so incredibly delicious.
I put 5 grams in the wee shengxing and away I went. The rinse was divine. The liquor is pale and golden and a premiere of coming attractions.
This is so fruity and smooth. It tastes like apricot jam with exactly zero astringency or bitterness. No smoke to be found either. There is that catch at the back of my throat that tells me I’m shengin’
I got a lovely and immediate full body creeping warmth and relaxation. I can’t EVEN believe this is a baby sheng. I love baby shengs, but this one tastes like it has a little age on it. It keeps getting better as I go through the steeps.
LTF remarked that it reminds her of my favorite (until now??) Mandala sheng, Wild Mountain Green and I agree in that there is a load of fruit, in this case apricot and a load of smooth and it makes for a gorgeously happy relaxed tea drunk.
THANK YOU MY DARLING SARSY!!!! And also Garret for making it happen!
It makes me feel all reverb-y y’all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4_5593-skQ
I think I’ve just fallen in love with a ripe puerh! How can that be? Wow, what a reversal! This tea definitely lives up to its name. It’s clearly “special!” I feel like Gollum right now….“my precious!”
This tea completely distracted me from the Filipino pastry (hopya, for those who know) I set out to eat. Ya, it’s that good!
15sec rinse, smells like chocolate!
30sec: earthy, sweet, unsweetened cocoa, dark chocolate bite rather than a sharp cedar or leather note, hint of dried fruit?
45 sec: so dark! unsweetened bakers chocolate, wood, plum, smells like vanilla.
1min: OMG, it smells even sweeter! I could just inhale this all day!
1min30sec: lighter in aroma, and then OMG, amazing taste…this just keeps getting better! Smoother, still bakers chocolate, bread-y.
2min: smells so sweet! Keeps getting smoother and sweeter. Honey, like honey wheat bread.
2min30sec: keeps lightening up, still honey sweetness, more smooth, vanilla.
3min: honey, vanilla.
5min: pure honey water! Yum!
I could drink this all day! It would be delicious with a scone…that’s key!! ;) This is a “must buy” for me. I’m so happy I enjoy a ripe puerh! Yay! :D
Thank you, Garret, for offering the sampler!
Okay, time to eat my hopya!