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Recent Tasting Notes
This is such a lifesaver! As a frequent tea drinker, I’ve ended up staining many cups/pots/etc., and no cleaning method I had tried had been getting rid of the stains until I gave this a try. It has gotten out every tea stain I have thrown at it, and since a little goes a long way, I won’t need to replace it for a while. I can’t recommend this highly enough to the avid tea drinker.
I don’t consider myself much of a fan of “dessert” teas, but this is a tea that can easily fool you into feeling like you’re drinking something much more indulgent. The sweet notes of caramel and coconut are not cloying or overpowering, and as they wear off in later infusions, they leave behind a pleasant floral scent. The leaves are /huge/ and quite intact, so leave a little room in whatever you use to brew it! This is a great tea for the uninitiated and one of my personal favorites from Mandala Tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Floral, Milk
I really enjoy this tea in the morning! The dry leaf consists of black tendrils spotted with gold. These twisted leaves carry a lovely fragrance of malt, dried cherries, and some chocolate powder. I grabbed a good sized amount and stuffed the warmed ruyao teapot. The warmed leaves open up and give off a strong sense of dark bitter sweet chocolate, some syrupy notes, and a dark woody undertone. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The brew begins light caramel colored and slowly becomes darker. The steeped leaves give a strong and robust scent of mahogany, dark cacao, and burnt sugar. The taste is fantastic. This drink begins with a smooth sweet sugar cane that covers a tangy and wood flavor. The brew gives off a brief sense of astringency and tannin with each sip. As the session progresses, the flavors become deeper and consists of heavier wood flavors mixed with malt. The reason I love this in the mornings is that it gives a wonderful qi pick-me-up feeling. I experience a soothing warming feeling with an eye opening sensation. I also note some neck prickling and hair rising affects. I really enjoy this tea; however, I’m not a big fan of the later steeping. I usually carry this brew up to about four maybe five steep sessions, and then I leave for the day. This is a great value tea to throw into the teapot!
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Cacao, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Malt, Wood
I’m not a big fan of this sheng as more of a personal taste thing, but it is still a nice sheng.
The notes are of tobacco, incense, tangy cedar and echos of smoke and camphor. Tasted like this pu’er might of been pretty smokey at one point. Later steepings I get some camphor and hint of fruityness. It’s quite complex and interesting, but I’m not a fan of the tobacco and cedar combo (I’m more of a sweeter sheng fan, at least as of this time)
I’m going to combine two reviews. In March 2015 I bought a cake of this tea and tasted it twice soon after delivery. I loved it. It had a light honeysuckle flavor, with underlying depth. Similar to a white tea on top but with wood/straw puerh character adding depth. Later steeps added some vanilla flavors. It was rich and had quite a bit of cha qi.
Fast forward to Dec 2015: I have stored this with other, stronger sheng since March at 60% RH. The tea has lost the lovely floral character that made it special, though has more classic puerh flavors that make it a good but not great tea. It is quite a bit lighter than my other teas so I’m not sure how it will age.
I initially rated the tea a 93. Now it is probably an 87. I blame my storage, since I had a 2011 in late 2014 that was delicious. I suspect that the down-side of that wonderful pumidor smell is that the teas exchange flavors. In theory this imparts richness, but it may also detract from the unique character of each tea (one reason why I don’t use my yixing pot very much). In the case of this tea, it was that delicate floral flavor that made the tea special.
From the Pu TTB
A really nice and mild young shou with notes of ripe fruit, mineral, mint/spice and cane syrup. Mandala always has top notch shou and this might be my favorite that I’ve tried from them
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Wet Earth
I’ve had Teavana’s ridiculously expensive Yellow Dragon and loved it, so I was excited to sample this one! It doesn’t disappoint. It steeps up to a clear golden color and smells like freshly-picked sweet corn. The flavor, though very light, is slightly reminiscent of corn too, slightly sweet and very buttery. Absolutely no bitterness or astringency. Definitely one I’d like to purchase when this sample runs out!
Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Smooth, Sweet
This is a very tasty ripe with a fair amount of fermentation flavor left. The fermentation flavor was somewhat unpleasant but not quite fishy. It was dark and thick in the early infusions. There were a variety of sweet notes and little bitterness at all. There were some notes of chocolate in there and it did develop a fruity flavor in later steeps. At only $31 it was a good value too. It is unfortunately now sold out. Don’t know if Mandala can get any more of this.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. If I wasn’t at my caffeine limit I’m sure I could get at least a couple more steeps out of this.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
This is the first sheng I’m trying from Mandala. :) I pulled a chunk out of the bag and it weighed 4.5g, and I have a 3oz gaiwan, so I decided to just go for it. I did a long 30sec wash with boiling water and then let the leaves sit for a few min to see if they would loosen up, which they did. It was still mostly in a big chunk, so for my first infusion I did boiling water again and a 15-20sec steep. Yiiikes, very bitter. So I dialed down to 90deg and tried a 10sec steep – still bitter. Then down to 80deg and did a series of 10-15sec steeps. At this point the bitterness was tolerable, but still a bit sharper than with other shengs I’ve tried. In one of the fairly early steeps I got a strong aftertaste of apricot, but that didn’t persist into later steeps. Then I started to lengthen the steeps a bit, and once I was up to 40sec or so, I turned the temperature up to 90deg. Suddenly the bitterness mostly dropped away, and a thick sweetness replaced it! Fascinating. So now I’m sticking with this temp and just adding 10sec or so with each steep. I’m glad I stuck with it. The body feeling with this is warm with an “awake but calm” kind of mental state – very pleasant. I’m glad I have enough in this sample to experiment with it some more, but certainly not feeling the need to run out and buy a cake of it. :)
i thought this tea was good. Thanks for the trade, curlygc!!! I acquired lots of oolong in the trade and TGY was one of them.
It tastes like cocoa butter and lilac. Yesterday, I loved it. This morning when I had my fifth steep (still strong) I didn’t like it as much, but I don’t blame the tea.
Overall, it’s a solid tea that is still strong on the 5th steep, so I look forward to the bit that I have left and how many steeps I can get.
this is the best youngest shou puerh i have ever had!:
when i smell the leaves dry, they smell musty.
when i smell the leaves wet, they smell like earth.
whe i smell the brewed tea, i smell mellow/smooth earth.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste mellow/smooth earth and sweetness.
the color of the brewed tea is a chocolate brown color.
i rate this a 100 because its just lovely!
many thanks to sherri for this amazing sample.
Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Sweet
I had never tried a yellow tea before, so I thought I would give it a whirl. I am not usually the biggest fan of straight green tea, but I am developing a liking for it. This is similar to green tea without the bitterness that green tea can have sometimes. It is still fairly vegetal, buttery, and nutty.
I resteeped for 1,1.5,2 minutes. The vegetal notes seemed to turn creamier throughout the resteeps.
Thank you for the sample Garret. I probably would not have picked this out for myself. So thank you for expanding my horizons! The world of unflavoured pu’erh is still pretty new to me but I am starting to see why it’s such a big hit. After drinking it, I almost feel a little detoxed (if that’s a word!). I ate too many Christmas cookies yesterday. I feel like unflavoured pu’erh is a bit of an acquired taste at first. But then, once you get into it, it can be enjoyable. But maybe that’s just me and my sweet tooth talking.
Anyway, this tea was very dark brewed up. I wasn’t sure what parameters to use so I just winged it. I gave a quick 10 second rinse to start off. It is earthy with slightly sweet cherry notes. I am not sure what other notes there was because I was too tired to pay attention. I will hold off on a numerical rating until next time, when I will pay more attention to the tasting notes.
I steeped this all day, I am not even sure how many times…6 for sure. This tea holds up excellent to steep all day and could have steeped many more times after I was done with it.
Backlog…I had this two days in a row, just one steep each, but each steep was the same leaves. I could not remember if this was a pu erh or a black, but upon tasting, I got really lovely thick and chocolatey notes, with a little bit of spice. It was really a pleasure to drink, and I need to try some in my gaiwan at some point. Though my gaiwan is so tiny that it hardly bears making anything in it because I only have the teeny weeny cups (3) or a regular tea cup size (and it would take like 2-3 steeps of the gaiwan to fill the tea cup). I think I need to find a drinking vessel somewhere in the middle, though I might just get a new gaiwan…I had no idea it was so small when I got it…but it is super cute and I love the design.
Anyway, many thanks to OMGsrsly for sharing this with me. It is really spectacular!
Piecing together where some of my mini tuo’s came from in my sampler order from Mandala has landed me here for the sample I am currently drinking. Cannot be sure of the year, though. If it means anything, this site seems to show a picture of the exact wrapper that I have. http://yunnansourcing.com/en/laocangteafactory/1621-premium-grade-ripe-pu-erh-tea-mini-tuo-cha.html
Either way, this ripe seems like it would be a solid every day Puer. The color in the first few gaiwan steeps is a decadent auburn/hazelnut brown. Just beautiful. The flavor is subtle but very smooth. It has that earthy, mushroom feel but with no fishy harshness. Very drinkable.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms
No one has rated this yet? I accidentally steeped it way longer than the parameters on the bag. The bag says 30 seconds. I got distracted and steeped it for a minute and a half. The first time I steep a tea, I always try to stick to the recommendations and then change things from there based on personal preference or suggestions of others. Next time, I will steep with the recommended parameters.
The tea was fairly smooth and not vegetal. The jasmine was present but not cloying or artificial. A really good jasmine green. It isn’t as sweet as I was expecting though.
It resteeped well through 2 more infusions before I ran out of time today.
This is a very nice white tea. The dry leaf is beautiful, with silver and black leaves.
I used 1tbls of leaf. It was challenging to get the leaf to stay on the spoon because it is so twisted and long!
It seems to be a complex tea. The first infusion is light with lots of silky smooth hay and honey notes. It is a little different than any other white tea I have tried in the past.
The second infusion (at 3 minutes) seems to be creamier. It is a very comforting cuppa.
The third infusion (4 minutes) is sweet and smooth, the honey is back.
I did a 4th (5 minutes) and 5th (6 minutes) infusion, but didn’t have enough time to pay attention to detailed notes
On the website, it says to rinse the tea. The bag that I received has different steeping parameters than on the website and it did not say to rinse. Maybe I will try the websites parameters next time to see what develops.
I am a little timid going into the world of straight pu’erh but here I go! I have so far likely not had very high quality other than Teavivre. I have been scared of the fishy/mushroom taste.
This tea is nothing like that though. It is very smooth and not fishy at all. It is smooth and earthy with notes of dark chocolate. Creamy, nutty notes develop in later steeps.
I followed the steeping parameters on the bag including a rinse first. Steeped for 30sec, 1min, 1.5, 2
I wish I could have resteeped all day but my body maxes out on caffeine at 4 steeps. I might save the leaves and steep again tomorrow
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth
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Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Creamy, Smooth
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Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Earth, Wood