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Recent Tasting Notes
I got this sample from Mandy a while back and I’m just now getting around to trying it.
I like it.
I like it a lot.
It’s creamy and floral. Sweet. Easy drinking.
I was just sad because I didn’t feel it lasted quite as long as I’d hoped.
I also don’t remember enough of it because I’ve been working all morning and it just went down nice and easy. (And yes, I’m just now getting to logging it. I’m a slacker.)
A previous reviewer described this tea as grapenutty, and I agree. It tastes like what I imagine grapenuts taste like, I haven’t eaten them in two decades. It also has the slight taste of what I would describe as baked beans, slightly burnt. I steeped 6g four times in a 220 ml gaiwan with boiling water. First 15 sec, then 15 sec, 15 sec, and 30 sec. It is smooth and tastes a little like an oolong. It has a slight bitter aftertaste. Last time I brewed this tea I brewed it western style, this time I brewed it gongfu style. It definitely benefited from this steeping method. It was noticibly better than last time. The Gaba effect is there but very mild. Sometimes Gaba tea can have a serious effect today it was mild.
Aroma: Woody, deep, sweet, wet leaves, chocolate
Liquor Color: Deep rusty red
Liquor Flavor: Woody, smooth, light with next infusion the chocolate notes came out
Notes: From a person who doesn’t seem to like puerhs still, this sample changed my mind. It was so smooth, but light and the complexity of the flavors made me keep thinking what I’ll taste in the coming infusion. I could see myself drinking this.
from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
Now this tea I like. I like it a lot.
Sweet, creamy, slightly nutty, slightly grassy, but sweet, very sweet.
Makes up for the last tea.
I’m feeling very dreamy about this tea.
It’s hard to think of a more pleasing sheng. If it were an actor it would probably be Tom Hanks—consistently very good, eminently likeable, almost no bitterness or rancor. It might not be the Daniel Day Lewis of teas, but sometimes all that intensity can be trying.
this is really resteeps from the other day. I put the leaves in the freezer until I could get back to it. I was feeling very slow moving this afternoon and then remember it so I poured a little hot water over it to wake the leave up and went on its much more mineral and mushroom flavors now and that quite nice for this sticky warm afternoon! Its not inspiring me to work much though so maybe I need new infusion of something fresh?
Hmm somehow my note deleted itself. This was a surprise to me, I ordered the mandala sampler for 2 of the teas and this was included. Its a different Pu’er than I am used to, when rinsed the leaves had a strong mushroom scent but it quickly faded. The first brews were light and creamy with stronger vanilla developing and a slight sweet/hay taste. The first brews were not as dark in color as I expected either but the third and fourth were a bright brick color. At this point more fruit came to the palate, fig and plum as the vanilla faded. The final brews (5 and 6) the mushroom started to reappear. I was using half the sample with a 2 oz at a time of water and combing 2 brews in each small cup. This is a nice gentle Pu’er on a day when all other decisions were wrong this one was a good one, you can’t go wrong with it. Its the kinder glentler side of ripe Pu’er
Flavors: Fig, Hay, Honey, Mushrooms, Plums, Vanilla
from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
This started out with that tastes like smoke but isn’t smoke taste, kinda metallic, and quite smooth and creamy, a little sweet.
It ended up just being a really nice tea to drink.
I did lots of short steeps, starting at 10s, finishing up at 2m.
It’s been a long day at work, this afternoon off and on particularly frustrating and stressful, so I didn’t always pay the best attention to this tea. But I definitely enjoyed it, and I’ll drink it again.
Thank you Kimquat for sending one of these to try! These AREN’T minis! I needed some caffeine for steam-vacuuming the house! This looks the size of maybe two of the typical mini tuochas. The flavor for all steeps were the same: delicious. This is my kind of pu-erh. It’s very dark and coffee like, and not just because of the color of the brew. Very rich with a touch of astringency but it’s also sweet with no pondiness at all. it’s very much like some of my favorite pu-erhs probably just for the reason that there is so much leaf here and I usually use too much. I like too much. Every steep was exactly the same.
Steep #1 // rinse // just boiled // 1 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #4 // half a mug // just boiled // quite a few minutes
Steeped this six times in a 220ml gaiwan. First 15sec, then 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min. I used 7g of leaf and boiling water. This is really good tea. It is high quality ripe puerh with no vestiges of fermentation flavor. The tea broth is no longer at all murky. It has cleared. I found the notes of chocolate, baked bread, and berry. Sort of baked bread anyway. I just got this today with my Mandala order. It was an afterthought added to my order over the phone the day Garret shipped it. It is good.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berry, Chocolate
My first tea from my first Mandala order. (I like their name, it makes me think of art.) Anyway, this smells like what I associate with pu-erh- dark and earthy.
The flavour has a bit of spice and minerality. It’s a very rich and smooth too. My brewing method is what I would call ‘Western electric kettle- single serving mug’.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Spices
I’m on a pu-erh kick right now, thanks to the wonderful ripe pu-erh sampler box from Mandala.
Going with this one today has been incredibly lovely… I think I’m on my fifth infusion, but I’ve been losing count with these Mandala samples because they resteep so fantastically well… I’m talking ‘drink all day and into the night’ type resteep here…
Boychik once brought up the plum pudding qualities of pu-erh, and this one right here is that exact type…. Creamy, velvety smooth, vanilla dancing around with the warm dried fruit notes, hints of spice…. This tea literally wraps its arms around you and gives you a giant hug (and, I sorta needed that…).
I can’t thank Garret enough for offering this sampler… these teas have made my week! :)
from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
I wanted this tea to be great, but it’s only good. It might be because I probably underleafed due to the fact that there’s not much left and I didn’t want to be too greedy.
It’s fresh and kind of sweet. Refreshing. Beautiful aftertaste.
Work is lousy. I want to go home. I want people to stop freaking out.
I recieved a sample of this amazing stuff with my Pu Erh sample order, I was quite giddy because I have wanted to give this a try for a while. See I have a problematic teacup, it is vintage glass and for some reason even a thorough baking soda scrubbing won’t remove the stains. Lots of elbow grease will get it mostly clear, but it has this annoying film that I originally thought was mineral stains…I think it is actually damage from running it through the dishwasher. Good thing it was only 50 cents!
So into the mix my cup (and a spare glass cup that was starting to develop a stain) went! After a nice fizzy soaking all the tea stains were gone, my glass cups are clean! I cannot wait to try this on some of my stained white porcelain.
Sadly the weird white stains are still there, but I think they are there forever since I am pretty sure they are damage and not actual stains.
If you are in need of a cleaner that is not made from harsh chemicals, then I suggest this one. It gets the job done!
I’m only on my third infusion of this, so I may have to come back and edit to add…
Leather, mineral, and spice, with an almost smoky quality going on… So fantastic!
As with my other Mandala sample, I’ve only used about 3.5 grams in my gaiwan. My first steep was for 30 seconds, then adding 15 after that (that’s what I did for Noble Mark, as well…).
There’s still a velvet chocolatey-ness here, as with the Noble Mark, but the spice and mineral notes truly stand out….
I really can’t wait to keep drinking this. :)
Man, these Mandala tastings have turned into all day affairs! (I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day…)
*sample from the amazing Mandala Ripe Pu’er Sampler Pack
I got this tea in a swap with a Pu-Erh expert, and it was my first dip into the lot, so perhaps I am grading this one a little too harsly.
My first notice was the large amount of sticks. I actually had to break some up to get them to fit into my cup. (like 3 inches long. I don’t even know how they fit into the bag).
Unfortunately I’m not a fish fan, the only sushi I can do is fully cooked, so the fish broth taste didn’t really work for me. There was a caramel menthol sweetness to it, and a smokey ness.
Reading the blurb on the website, this is a tea I would love to love, but unfortunately I can’t really see myself ordering any more in the future.
Updating my ranking to my new system.
Taste = 65
Price = 52.38
Representation = 75
New score of 64.12
I received my sampler pack from Mandala yesterday (I may have let out a squeel upon opening the puffy envelope of goodness….). Deciding to try this one first, I chose to only use half the sample (about 3.5 grams) since in the directions it mentioned you could do this for a lighter brew. Pu-erh is still new to me, although I’ve loved it every time I’ve had it, and I feel like I’m still just getting to know what it has to offer….which, in turn, makes me feel like a newb and that I should take the ‘lighter’ route when offered (maybe I should get over that and just dive right in…I don’t know…).
I drank this tea all day…. ALL DAY. “One last time”, I kept telling myself, but that ‘one last time’ would be utterly delicious, and I’d go in for another ‘last time’.
The beginning was milk chocolatey with such a warm nuttiness, and always a fantastic aftertaste. Near the end (hours later), the woodiness in the infusions was brought forward, with that cedar note becoming much more prominent. So interesting, and so delicious.
Thank you so much Mandala, for offering a sampler pack at such a steal of a price!
I will definitely be coming back for more. :)
I’m roasting San Marzano tomatoes & it’s 11pm.
I got up at 5am, & as soon as the tomatoes have come out of the oven & had a chance to cool down a little, I’ll put them in the frozen & go to bed.
Today was the first day of me actually having a day job (outside of 30 private students & various gigs), & really, it was kind of fun. It’s good to see all of the people I used to work with, & the kids in my class seem like nice ones. I started the day with a pot of Devotea’s 1910, then filled 2 – 20oz klean Kanteen thermal thingies (which keep your tea hot for 6 hours!!), filled one with Zhu Rong, which I enjoyed all morning, & the other with Verdant’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, which I enjoyed all afternoon.
Then I came home just in time to teach private students for a couple more hours, & drank several steepings of this Shu, which Garret generously shared tuocha samples of.
I don’t have a lot to say. The rinse water smelled fishy, but the actual tea did not! It was creamy & chocolatey, & downright tasty. It also gave me a nice lift, as I was really dragging when I first got home.
I received an 8g sample of this with my last order. I used the whole thing. This tea was good. I steeped it six times in a 160ml teapot. First 10 sec, then 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, and 30 sec. I immediately noticed the chocolate notes. They were very strong notes of bitter chocolate in the first two infusions. The chocolate notes changed their character in the remaining four steeps. They took on the notes of half bitter chocolate, half sour plums/dates. This tea has no remaining fermentation flavor to it, the tea broth has cleared. I just bought another four ounces of this, and I had not yet tried this sample that Garret gave me with my last order.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Plums
There is a slight roasted smell, along with some vegetal and floral notes in the dry tea scent. Dark green twisted and rolled leaves.
1tsp 8oz ~190F 30,60,90,120,135, 165
The first cup is floral, but more jasmine (which I like) than rose (which I don’t like), thankfully. There’s a ting of mineral. The second cup is a bit less floral, and sort of fresh kind of earthy. And there’s a nice light sort of creamy buttery texture, similar to a milk oolong mouthfeel.
The third cup is more floral than the second, more like the first. This cup seems sort of like honeysuckle (though that might just be the power of suggestion from the B&BW Honeysuckle candle I have lit). The next 3 steeps were all pretty similar to the last.
I think I’m growing a bit tired of green and green oolong teas (absolute craziness considering how they used to be my loves). This is definitely nice, but I think I need to take a break in order to fully appreciate it later.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Honeysuckle, Jasmine