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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea came very, very close to beating Wild Monk as my favorite offering from Mandala Tea. The notes of vanilla and mega floral sweetness were a real surprise after an astringent first couple of steeps. Definitely worth checking out!
Flavors: Asparagus, Citrus, Floral, Green Pepper, Vanilla, Vegetal
Tobacco aroma, like every other sheng pu’er I’ve encountered. One short rinse, then short steeps (10 secs) @190. There must be something about pu’er that just isn’t for me. When I read reviews and folks are describing all these interesting and different flavors, and all I ever get is tobacco, it’s depressing. But on the upside, there are an infinite number of varieties of tea out there for me to explore.
I’m on my fourth steep of this now (160F/3min), and I swear the hay note has transformed into coconut. The kind of sugary coconut you might get from the Hawaiian McDonald’s Haupia Pies. I liked the hay honey-jam of the first couple steeps but baked/fried coconut cream is a special class of friend.
Thanks, OMGsrsly, for bringing this over for me to try!
Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Hay, Honey, Jam
Am I just now trying this one, that I removed from MzPriss’s teabox a while back? Well, at least it’s a pu-erh, the only tea that ages well. I was reminded how much I love ripe pu-erh when I tried another one the other day. Mandala, you’re great, but this one doesn’t match the chocolate of the other. I like em strong, better than coffee. The leaves even looked similar (very long rather than tiny leaves crammed in a cake) as well as both being from 2012. However, with this one, the brew basket looked half full as the other one, though I’m pretty sure I was using the amount of leaves I should have. The chocolate of the other probably came from SO. MANY. LEAVES. This isn’t a bad pu-erh by any means, but watery tasting compared to that chocolate explosion of the other day. I would COMPLETELY agree with the description of this one (though I’ve never had sugar cane, so I can’t compare that note): “Light and silky. Creamy milk chocolate with a nutty background, hints of cedar, sugar cane and malt.” Very accurate! It’s very sweet like some sort of syrup, a little nutty, a little like mushrooms, a little malty, a little like cedar all adding up to lightness. Milk chocolate rather than dark. All three steeps were the same.
Steep #1 // just boiled // rinse // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // almost 4 min
Edited to add: Looks like this one is made from leaves from 2011, not 2012.
Got this as a sample from the Mandala guys. Following their directions for amount of tea, temp, and steeping time. First thing… Oh wow, the aroma! So fragrant. Mangos? There is no bitterness to this tea at all. It’s mellow, sweet, fruity. Not flowery. I’ve read other steepster reviews and I think I’m the only person getting the fruit here, lol. Green wasn’t really my thing before I tried this tea, but this is definitely going on my shopping list.
I purchased an ounce of this in my most recent order, and am coming to regret not getting more than I did. Having tried two other milk oolongs, and finding them dissatisfying due to the artificial flavor, there was some hesitance in ordering it. However, this tea was pleasantly smooth and comforting. The initial brew, or rinse if you do that to your oolong, presents a noticeable aroma similar to milk. After a few steeps the tea progressed from heavier cream, dairy, and viscous consistency to a lighter floral flavor I find in some Tieguanyin. It was an excellent tea and held up to several brews in my gaiwan. I will be ordering a larger quantity next time as this tea accompanies my night of Richard Dawkins literature well.
So the first thing I’m noticing about this tea, before I even taste it, is that it doesn’t look like any TGY I’ve ever had before. It’s so green, and the liquor is so, so pale, and the aroma is very much like Jin Xuan. Keep in mind I’ve only ever had cheap asian market teas, with the exception of Foojoy “Monkey Picked” TGY which actually isn’t bad and I’d have to say is a step above cheap asian market teas. It’s just that I’m used to a much darker TGY. Ok, the taste. Gongfu. 1 tsp, 190 degrees. 30 second rinse. 30 second steeps, lost count how many. It does not taste like Jin Xuan at all. There’s that familiar TGY astringency (love). Interesting creamy mouth feel. Complex. Floral. (Side note: the leaves are gigantic!) If this was labeled as something entirely different, I never would have identified it as a TGY. So I learned two things: first, I really don’t know much at all when it comes to tea, and second, I think maybe I just prefer darker, more roasted TGYs. I will have to find one now.
I shouldn’t have had this today as I was not in the frame of mind to pay attention. Despite that though, I made it to four steeps.
What I can tell you is that this is delicious. Like the molasses version of red velvet cake. Smooth and sweet shaded by a mineral note and an even more potent sugary aftertaste.
Each steep was progressively sweeter and more mineraly.
Other than that I can’t really give any specifics. There wasn’t any real definition between cups which makes me think that this one could go on forever in a gaiwan. Great because, well yum, but I can see myself getting frustrated because if one cup just melds into the next, I won’t notice the differences as much. Like a frog in slowly boiled water.
Geeze, I’m feeling morbid today.
This is the first decent quality ginseng oolong I’ve tried. The last one I got was from an Asian market, and all the ginseng powder just disintegrated into my pot and there wasn’t much actual tea. It wasn’t all that great. So… gongfu, water just under boiling, 1 tsp tea, 30 second steeps (as per Mandala) and increased to a minute in later steeps. The first thing I notice is the cool mouth feel and pleasant aftertaste. I can see where this would be lovely for a sore throat. Quite refreshing. I think this would make a great iced tea as well.
EDIT: I had to come back and edit this review to make the score higher. I love this tea. I lost count how many steeps I’ve done. My eyeballs are floating in tea and I’m not going to stop. You get a lot of wonderful licorice camphor bang for your buck with this tea. I don’t know if it’s possible to get tea drunk on this stuff, but I might be.
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I enjoyed this wonderfully curly green tea on the airplane on the way back from the Midwest Tea Fest. This tea has been sitting around since I ordered it, but I’ve sent a few samples of it out to other steepsterites. I’m definitely going to have to drink this more! It’s a wonderfully light green with hints of chestnut, butter, and overall deliciousness. If you’re a fan of teas like dragonwell, then this would be a great tea to have.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut
This oolong changes quite a bit between the steeps which is really fun to taste. Enjoyable mild taste that opens up in the next steep. While the resteep value is high, there was a little hint of an odd flavor in this which I cannot identify but I did not care much for it… maybe a brussel srpout that was forced to retire later than it should have…
Gongfu. 190 degrees. 1 tsp (about 3g) 30 sec. rinse. First steep 1 minute. The aroma is so floral, but also buttery. Wow. It’s like drinking… uhm… buttered flowers. Does not taste like any oolong I’ve ever had! No astringency at all. Very pleasant aftertaste too. It’s more like a green tea than an oolong imo. Second steep 1:30, flavor a bit stronger, but still no astringency. Third 2 mins; floral aroma is gone, more vegetal now, the flavor as well, but still has a lingering butteryness to it. A very pleasant drink.
200 degrees. 4g of tea. Gongfu. Dry tea aroma reminds me of cigars (why do so many shengs smell like cigars to me?) 2 five second rinses. First steep ten seconds. Wondering if I didn’t use enough tea. Will try a longer steep next time. 20 secs. Flavor is very mild. No bitterness. 30 secs. Ugh. I may have to come back to this one and try it another day.
EDIT: I came back and tried it another day. This time I added a wee bit of brown sugar and you know what? I LOVE THIS TEA. I lost count how many steeps in I am. I could drink this all night. I’m going to have to try the 2007 Clouds and Fog again and see if sweetening it will increase my enjoyment of that tea as well. I am a happy girl.
Gongfu. 190 degrees. The instructions said 195 but my kettle doesn’t do that, so… 3g of tea (about 1 tsp). 30 second rinse. Lovely aroma. I don’t know what it is… floral, light, sweet…peaches? Lovely flavor, also light and sweet. A few sips and I already feel relaxed, and I just got home from a long commute after a long day. Second: 30 seconds. The leaves are really opening up now. Lots of twigs in there (good, bad?). Third: 30 secs again. I really love this tea. It’s so mellow and sweet. I feel like I took a xanax. Sweetness giving way to more vegetal flavor. Fourth: 40 secs. It’s still mellow, not a hint of bitterness, but flavor has faded a tad. Fifth: one minute. It is still giving. I am floating on a cloud. Sixth: TWO minutes, I dare you to get bitter! Nope, it’s not. In my happy place now. Seventh: 3 minutes. No bitterness, but not much flavor left. All done!
I cannot place the aroma I’m getting from this tea and it’s making me crazy. There is tobacco, but it’s not overwhelming. I think it’s seaweed. That’s it, wet seaweed. Wakame. Hijiki maybe. So lovely actually. 190, 20 seconds first, 30 seconds for the second. A little bitterness coming in on the second steep. Third steep went back to 20 secs. Bitterness still there. Fourth at 200, 20 secs. Much better. Seaweed taste is fading. Fifth, 30 secs. Bitter. Sixth, boiling, 20 secs. Short steeps seem to work really well for avoiding bitterness. Flavor has mellowed considerably, but still pleasant. I’m done. I very much enjoyed the first steep though.
Gongfu method. First steep water about boiling. 5g of tea. Two short rinses. 20 second steep for first drink. Tobacco. I taste tobacco. By the way, this is my first ever time trying Pu’er tea. The aroma reminds me of a fine cigar actually, before you light it. No smoke. It’s not bitter at all, no astringency. I rather like it. Second steep 25 secs. What a lovely light brown color. Second steep is a bit bitter. Huh. Third steep tried 15 secs, didn’t re-boil the water, it was probably about 200? Anyway, bitterness gone. It’s quite pleasant, calming down a bit. Can tobacco be sweet? There is something sweet about it. This tea is probably good for 20 infusions at least. Fourth: I got a wild hair and added two drops of honey. Tobacco-flavored honey. Maybe I’m just not crazy about Pu’er? I wish someone else would review this tea to give me a point of reference. I have two others to try, so I’m not giving up on Pu’er yet. Fifth: wow, this tea has calmed down a lot. It’s actually not bad now. The flavor is still one dimensional to me though.
Gongfu cha method. Confession: I drank the rinse water. It smelled too good. I taste coconut, milk, burnt sugar. So good. 30 seconds@ 190. Second steep was about a minute. Grass notes coming in. Third steep longer (maybe two minutes? not sure. I should pay better attention). Noticing lively green color, but my cups are green so… Fourth four minutes (I am an oversteeper, I admit it). Tastes like green tea now, sweet flavors have faded a bit. Still quite pleasant. Fifth, five minutes. The aroma is still lovely and color still bright, but flavor too weak (and slightly bitter) to consider a sixth.
Wowee, this green tea is GORGEOUS! You need to check out my photos Steepster readers!
Nine Lotus is delicate. It has a creamy texture yet crisp and clean. The notes are sweet grass, lemongrass, unripe crisp pear, kiwi and lemon curd. This tea is so beautiful and the leaves are almost perfect! Nine Lotus is also cultivated by Buddhist Monks, how cool is that?
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/nine-lotus-green-tea-from-mandala-tea-tea-review/
Another simultaneous triple taste test from the GCTTB4!
This tea reminds me quite a bit of WP’s Golden Orchid – there’s definitely that sweet fudgy note, like dark chocolate. No vanilla, though, but I did like the dark smokiness of it – I get what others are saying here about leather (which I tend to like!). The flavour was a bit thin, but I think that might have underleafed it – the leaves are so thick and fluffy.