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Recent Tasting Notes
This Puer starts out very strong and in-your-face, with notes of wood, cork, and cigar ash. In later infusions notes of ocean spray and clay emerge and in even later infusions it becomes more mellow and sweet with notes of tobacco.
It’s very dynamic from one infusion to the next, but I don’t think it’s really my tastes simply because of how pungent it is at the start. I used flash infusions and it was still rather intense from the get-go.
Flavors: Ash, Clay, Ocean Breeze, Tobacco, Wood
I can’t be the only one who has tasted this tea… But it doesn’t seem to be in the database, so…
I wish I had tasted this generous sample that was included with my previous order before placing my Black Friday order… This would have been on the order without a doubt. Mandala has so many lovely teas of this kind that I will admit I find it hard to distinguish between them. Not because they are so alike, but because my powers of description seem to be so limited!
This smells (and tastes) like a deep, dark chocolate and a savory broth at the same time. Like an 85% dark chocolate but without the winey notes often found in that. My husband thinks I’m crazy – sitting here with my hand wrapped around the top of this tiny cup, exhaling so that the steam fogs my glasses and then inhaling the scent of this tea! There is a dusty hay note in the background as the steeping time increases and a roundness that reminds me of not very sweet fruits. Not a bit of bitterness or astringency.
I really can’t tell you how much tea I used – half of the sample. I think about 1.5 teaspoons. I should get a scale to be more precise, I know. I steeped in my little glass pot and tasted at 30, 60 and more seconds. I think I prefer 60 seconds but even up to 5 minutes and more, this tea is simply wonderful. And the leaves are beautiful! Fuzzy wuzzy twirls of tea!
Update: If I slurp like you are supposed to the most magical thing happens and I start tasting the floral notes! Amazing!
I received a sample of this with one of my Mandala orders.
I really shouldn’t be writing anything about this tea. I’m still pretty sick – not sure how true my taster is. I’m just tired of drinking lemon tea, ginger, honey etc. Desperately needed real tea tonight.
This is real tea. I’m finding it really malty, little yeasty (bready), hint of chocolate. It’s doing the trick. I have more and will try it again when I can actually breathe.
This is a mildly sweet, somewhat floral, somewhat vegetal, tasty green tea. It also seems to have a slight sour note to it. As I have little experience with Bi Lo Chun teas I don’t know how it compares to others of its type. But it is good. If only it didn’t have this sour note. I wonder if that could be my taste buds? Could it be brewing temperature? Did I use slightly too much tea? I brewed it for the right amount of time. I picked up the greens in my latest order with Mandala and Teavivre because I have been told to cut down on my caffeine and there are nights where I just must avoid caffeine because of my work schedule. It is established that green tea has less caffeine than black tea, the science is not clear on puerh. Sometimes puerh keeps me awake, but that may be because of the tendency to resteep it many times and extract all of the caffeine.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 175 degree water and 3 tsp leaf for 1 min.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
So far this is my favorite GABA tea – this one has an tasty sour dough raisin bread with honey flavor. The other GABA teas I’ve had were all green oolongs which are more in sour vegetal country. However, Black GABA appeals to me more as that crazy GABA flavor works better with the black base adding more comfort food feels, at least in my opinion.
This tea is also very pretty – it steeps up gorgeous, glowing and clear with a huge leaf!
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/gaba-black-tea-mandala-tea-tea-review/
Even though I have to be up at 5am I desperately needed a cup of tea. This was the first green I saw from my Mandala order so I picked it. I spent this evening at that most frustrating of things, dealing with a salesman over a new car. I used Truecar which turned out to be basically bogus. I think I saved a couple of hundred dollars, not what I was supposed to. They always find a way to put back your supposed savings. They use the strategy of wearing you down and to some degree it works. Thank god I only do this once a decade or so.
This tea is good. It is relatively sweet with a floral, vegetal taste. It also has a roasted taste that is not quite the roasted barley flavor of a wuyi oolong. It is a roasted tea.
I brewed this tea once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 1 min.
Flavors: Floral, Roasted, Vegetal
Whoa! Get ready to witness some stain miracles! This stuff totally works. If you love tea stained patina on your cups, stay away. If you have items you want clean, especially those with hard to scrub areas, this is the soak you want! David’s glass perfect mugs with those lids that have those impossible to clean under lips, Aladin travel mug with that lever basket mechanism, metal steepers, David’s travel mugs, super old Teavana gravity steeper, old steel thermos… all amazingly clean! I was able to get quite a few things cleaned with one quart and reheated it a couple of times to soak more items in it. It finally gave out on the gravity steeper and I had to make a fresh batch of soak. I wish I could post the before and after pictures because it’s such a drastic difference from dirty to clean!
The only thing that disappoints me about this product is that I can’t put it in my mouth and soak the tea stains off my teeth. Work on that, would ya Mandala? ;)
I should add that this came to me as a sample with one of their puerh sample specials. Thanks for that!
I got home to a wonderful package fr AllanK.
I had to have this tea right away. So my usual gongfu parameters for sheng
5g 100ml porcelain gaiwan 200F
Rinse/ 3/3/5/5/7/10sec etc
This sheng is very creamy. Like fruity cream of wheat. I really liked first 5 steeps. Then it got a little more bitter and astringent . Also some sour notes creeped up. Nothing major, nothing unpleasant . I just wish it stayed the same as first steeps. I really enjoyed those.
Second to last I tasted in the sheng sampler. Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180.
The dry aroma has notes of dried grasses, tree bark, and a hint of spices. The wet leaf aroma smells sweet and fruity – sugarcane, grapes, plums, brown sugar, cranberries, all in the following order as the leaves cooled. A pleasure to stick my nose the gaiwan throughout the session. Nearly addictive.
The liquor is pale gold, medium-bodied, clear, and smooth. Consistently mild with a lively and bright personality. Due to my palate not being suited for sheng, I mostly discern sweet dried grass, though it is a kind of grass that is not off-putting, and the taste becomes more sweet than grassy as the session goes on. A juicy aftertaste stays with me minutes after I finish each cup. And each next cup I look forward to having. At the eighth infusion, grape and wine emerge notes. I am enlivened and comforted during this gray, cold late autumn afternoon.
I enjoyed this sheng greatly. Definitely my favorite in the sampler.
From the sheng sampler. Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 180.
The dry leaf aroma offers a delicate fragrance of fresh honey, while the wet leaf smells of green peppers, and then of bamboo and a thick conifer forest.
The liquor is golden, clear, thin-textured, and full-bodied. The session begins with a light grassy and prickly cup, and a peach aftertaste. Thereafter, a bitter green pepper note dominates. The fourth infusion, additionally, has walnut and pecans, and the beginning with the fifth infusion, is a sweetness underneath. I also taste a forest floor, the sort of forest that big and crowded with trees, the sort of floor that has layered beds of moss and dried and freshly fallen pine needles. The feel is light yet powerful.
Despite my words, this isn’t for me (well, it is sheng, but I felt the need to broaden my tastes with the sampler anyway). I can’t be appreciative of it unfortunately.
an update as I should have waited to write this in:
when I infused this tea the second time, it gave it a lingering iron metallic taste. I never had the tea suddenly change taste before. still tastes a little like boiled cabbage the same with the wet leaves.. but the leaves now smell like spinach too. for some reason it made the tea taste even better.
this tea reminds me of lettuce
when I smell the dry leaves, I don’t smell anything.
when I smell the leaves wet, I smell a smell that smells like boiled lettuce :)
when I smell the brewed tea, it smells like boiled lettuce and flowers
when I taste it, it tastes like boiled lettuce and flowers
many thanks to mr. mopar for sending me this sample :)
Flavors: Flowers, Lettuce
This is a very tasty tea. I was surprised when I had to enter it into the data base. There was a Four Leaves Ripe but the picture clearly shows a 357g bing, this is the loose leaf. Either Mandala used to sell a bing or someone put it into the database with the wrong picture. Rather than change the picture, I entered this back into the database, right or wrong. This is without a doubt one of the best ripe loose puerhs I have drank. It is sweet, I would call the main note a dates note. The fermentation flavor is very mild. It would make a good first puerh for someone not used to ripe puerh.
I brewed this twice in an 18oz teapot with 6.1g leaf and boiling water. I brewed it for 30 sec, and 30 sec. I put the second steeping in a thermos and will bring it to work with me. My companies religious affiliation is the worship of the almighty dollar and holidays and employee safety are considered second rate concerns at best. Luckily there is almost no dangerous machinery where I work or the employees would be in trouble. We are now open on Christmas too, that should be illegal.
Ok so I was crazy last time I said this tasted like “dark” but “not chocolate.” This is straight up liquid dark chocolate. But better because I normally find dark chocolate to be too bitter and prefer milk chocolate, but I really like this tea.
1st steeping (5s): Very strong, very dark chocolate, very delicious, ever so slightly bitter.
2nd steeping (15s): A little on the weaker side compared to the 1st brew. Same taste just not as bold. I think this is because the temperature had dropped to 201 when i brewed this one.
3rd steeping (5 min): so after hearing about crazy 8 minute, 15 minute etc. steepings I decided to go out on a limb and do a really long steeping time and see what happens. I didn’t want it to get cold, though. So I stopped at 5. Surprisingly, the strength of the brew was somewhere between steeping 1 and 2. Closer to 2 even. It wasn’t very strong at all! It made me think what would happen if I had done steeping number 3 for somewhere around 25 seconds like normal o.O At first I thought that maybe this tea just doesn’t have as much stamina as I thought, but looking at other tasting notes I know it has too! I’ll just have to try using more leaf next time and see what happens.
Oh, and by the way, I usually stop at 3 steepings due to caffeine sensitivity, but I did 2 more brews just to feed my yixing pot. :P
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate
This tea is so appropriately named! Finally getting around to this one from the sampler that I bought months ago and it really does taste like dark chocolate without tasting like chocolate. So that means it tastes like dark. Wait, what?
Made this is my yixing and my tea pet thinks it’s delicious!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate
How is it possible that there are no tasting notes on this tea!!!?
I received this as a sample with one of my Mandala orders. Thank you!!!
I of course am not going to have the correct vocabulary to accurately describe this wonderful oolong. I really like dark oolong and usually the darker the better. This one isn’t that dark. I think it’s really well balanced. It’s not too woody, it’s not too minerally, it’s not too “roasted” – but it’s a little of all of the above. People who don’t like oolong because of some of those characteristics should try this one. It’s a little sweet, it’s a little fruity, and just plain yummy. I really, really like it. Easily in my top 5 favorite oolongs.
This tea is good and this tea is strong. There were definite notes of apricots in this tea and it was sweet. I drank the first three steeps without sugar and it had apricot and sweet notes, maybe even stonefruits but I am not sure. There may have been a little smoke in there too. It was slightly bitter through the first four steeps and then the bitternessa became first noticeably dulled and eventually gone. The tea had a pleasant aftertaste throughout eight steeps. I must stress again that this was a strong tea. It never got as sweet as the 2014 Wild Monk, its character was a bit potent. It was an enjoyable tea session though and a rare afternoon one for me.
I steeped this eight times in a 150ml gaiwan with 7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it one rinse and let it rest for 10 min. I am not sure this really did anything but it couldn’t hurt. I steeped it for 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, and 4 min. EVen after eight steeps this was strong tea. I would guess that if I wanted to continue I would get another seven steeps out of it.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Sweet
This is by far my favorite oolong tea. Its very floral and refreshing. Its like taking a sip from the fountain of youth and savoring every moment. This has to be one of top oolong tea from Mandala and best oolong I have had. The only reason why I do not give it a 99 is because I get about 7 flavorful cups from the gaiwan out of this, but well worth the money.