Mandala Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

This is the last of the sample that Dexter sent my way, and I’ll probably order more soon, ‘cos it’s just so good.

So far I’ve done three solid steeps, and I’m gonna go for another in a minute. Nutty, creamy, and a bit of chocolate. Steep two, I’ll admit, I added a bit of creamer, just to see and it turned into delicious sweet milk chocolate.

Thanks Dexter for sharing!

gmathis

I’ve never been brave enough to try dairy with pu-erh. Always afraid it would come out tasting like milky rocks :) But I do have some coconut pu-erhh that might work…

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85

I received a few of these in the mini tuocha sampler from Mandala and am having this one as my first cup of the day (or few cups). Yes, it is 1:30 here, but I have been having a slow, relaxing morning of Christmas shopping on Etsy haha, and finally decided to make some tea to continue shopping with, start some laundry, and continue watching the football semi finals.

To be honest I didn’t really smell the tuocha dry, but the whole bag has an earthy, slightly barnyard like scent, so I imagine this one would have had that too, they all meld together in terms of smell in the bag! I also cannot get over how darn cute the mini tuochas are :) haha, I did a 25s rinse and then steeped for 15s, the directions recommend steeping a minute with an even shorter rinse, but the tea is coffee black after only 15s! Mmm it smells caramelly and sweet and cozy. I believe I have had temple stairs in loose form as it was a free sample in my first Mandala order, but I didn’t review it on here I don’t think.

As for the flavor, ahhh this is so good. For how dark the tea is, this has not translated to the flavor in that it is not strong. It is so smooth and mellow, a bit more caramelly than Noble Mark, but a similar flavor. I do recall the loose version tasting different than this one, although I don’t remember in which ways. There is a light kind of grainy earthy flavor in there as well, adding a slight almost savory note. The caramel is more on the brown sugar side too. Not much cocoa yet to me, but the sweetness with the earthy smoothness is just wonderful.

I feel a calm sense of warmth coming over me as well :) as it cools the earthy grain notes (slightly barnyard like in flavor, but in a really good way) come out a bit stronger, making this a warm, comforting cup. It’s lightly snowing outside, and this is just what I need to hibernate inside and enjoy the day.

Later steepings were energizing and just as delicious. The smooth brown sugar notes continued, and I might have one more cup tonight :) Overall, another delicious pu’erh from Mandala!

Flavors: Barnyard, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Grain, Smooth

ashmanra

Mmmmm, that sounds lovely!

MissLena

It is quite good! Soo dark though when it steeps! I did the third or 4th steep for 10s and it is still black like coffee haha. A bit daunting, but luckily it is not overly caffeinated. Still giving me energy :)

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87

This is an excellent tea, very tasty. The steepster write up says leather and stonefruits as to notes. I won’t substantially disagree although the note they mean as leather I might have described differently. I suppose leather is as good a description as any though. I brewed this tea western style because I don’t have time for gongfu sessions before work in the morning. It is still quite good.

I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 6.4g leaf and boiling water for 30 sec.

Flavors: Leather, Stonefruits

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 18 OZ / 532 ML
Tealizzy

How would you have described the leather note? I’m curious. :)

AllanK

I am not entirely sure how I would describe it. I will think about it the next time I drink it.

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87

The flavor profile of this tea is quite good, sweet and fragrant. The aroma of the dry leaves is positively enticing, it is incredible. Sometimes Jasmine Tea smells far better than it tastes. This one tastes nearly as good as it aroma suggests. I bought a one ounce sample of this and may buy more with my next order, or at least the next time Mandala has a sale.

I brewed this once in an 18 oz teapot with 2.25 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 1 min.

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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Garret included this as a free sample in my last order. Thank you! I enjoyed a nice long session with them. Notes I could detect included leather, earth, and bread. This is truely an everlasting gobstopper tea. The nuggets still looked held-together even though I was tired of steeping them! That is, assuming they’re supposed to come apart…not sure as this was my first nugget tea. Very cool.

boychik

i dont actually fall apart for me. i usually double the amount because its so tight.

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100
reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
298 tasting notes

This is an incredible product. I bought it a while ago but just tried it out today. I heated water to prime the thermos to be cleaned and poured out the water. I then heated water again and poured it in the 64 oz thermos. I put 4 tsp of smartsoak in initially but some of this bubbled off so I added two more teaspoons. In only seconds I could see my tea stained thermos interior was white colored again. I let it soak for twenty minutes as suggested. I then decided to try the same solution on a glazed teapot and strainer. I let that soak for 30 minutes. It did a pretty good job on this reusing the solution, making it sparkle too. The only thing it did not do was get all the tiny bits of encrusted tea off the strainer. It did make it sparkle though. I am glad I bought the large size of this and will definitely buy more when I run out. This stuff is worth every penny it costs.

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92

This is my third time having this tea but the first time leaving a review. The first time I was so caught up in my work, I loved the tea but couldn’t remember what stood out. Second time I was coming down with a cold. It tasted off to me. ALL my teas did that day. On this third time, I loved it just as much as the first.

I did 3 rinses 10/10/15. Then I brewed for 20 sec. This tea reminds me a little bit of my Wild Mountain Green 2011 which I love. This one is a much fuller body. Teafairy mentioned it was almost oily and I have to agree. It has a really thick mouth feel. Apricot notes are really prominent and delicious and here’s the treat: You take a sip and get apricot right away, then it hits the back of the tongue and it’s like cream. Amazing! And so addictive! Overall it was quite smooth. I detected slight (only slight) bitterness in the early steeps which rapidly disappeared. I’ve put it aside after having 3 cups today but I know from having this before, it takes multiple infusions. I mean MULTIPLE!! I was using some of it to season my yixing the first time I had this tea and I was up to about 15 infusions. I can’t believe a sheng so young can give so much in the leaves. I’m so glad I got a cake of this!


I am having more of this today from the same leaves. It’s still as delicious! I even forgot my brewing time on one cup. I have no idea how long I left it and it still tastes great.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Smooth

MzPriss

Don’t you just love this one??? Delicious!

Ubacat

It’s one of the best tasting ones I’ve tried so far! Love it!

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I really tried to like this tea since I enjoyed the others in the sampler pack so much, but this one didn’t do it for me. I found the flavor weak and the taste generic even after increasing steeping times. Eventually after just a couple of short gong fu steeps (like 4 or 5) the flavor was all gone, so…yeah not the best shou experience I’ve had.

Preparation
Boiling 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90
drank Cloud and Mist by Mandala Tea
298 tasting notes

This is an excellent tea. I agree, at least in theory, with the reviewer that found notes of honeysuckle. It is fairly floral and slightly vegetal in nature. It is quite good. The fact that it is considered high in theanine caught my eye. Teas with high theanine are supposed to be relaxing. We shall see. Regardless it is good.

I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 1 min.

Flavors: Floral, Honeysuckle, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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drank Green Snail Spring by Mandala Tea
257 tasting notes

Had this one yesterday and although I can’t remember details about it, I know I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best Bi Luo Chun I’ve had but still very good. I’m such a Bi Luo Chun nut anyway. I just realized I’ve got a few BLC’s in my cabinet. I’ll hold off rating this tea until I’ve had it a second time.

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84

Thanks for the sample TeaTiff

I’m not usually into these darker Wuyi oolongs but I’ve always been curious about this one! This is very complex, sort of spicy, and has a nice floral characteristic on top of the darker roastiness. Very nice!!!

boychik

I love Wuyi oolongs. Every steep is different.

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91

Tasted smooth with a fruity lingering mouthfeel.
Very enjoyable! No fishyness detected but lots of good earthy tones.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 7 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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Decided to try this one today, since I won’t be having any puerh tomorrow because I have to go into the office rather than telework. :P I was a lot more careful breaking pieces off this cake and as a result, no blood! My pinky is still bruised from that slip on Wednesday. :/

So, this tea is really nice. Very clean tasting with nice viscosity. It’s woody and citrus-y and has a nice honey-like sweetness in the later steeps. Very enjoyable! I’m glad to have a cake of it! :D

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100
reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
969 tasting notes

The amazing Garret at Mandala kindly sent me a small packet of this in place of my free sample with my last tea order!! I had meant to add it to my order and completely forgot to, and mentioned it on a thread on this site, and it shows up with my order!!! I am so thankful and CANNOT SPEAK HIGHLY enough of this superb act of customer service! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Now, this product. WOWZA. I cannot believe what this does to my teaware! It is literally like brand new. Brand. Spanking. New. If you have ever used baking soda or vinegar or other methods of cleaning, STOP. Buy this! I should post before and after pics, seriously. I took them too haha. My old timolino was so horribly stained I actually bought a new one to replace it, it was far too stained it looked black inside. Now I have cleaned them both, and they both look like new!!! The old one actually looks better than the new! OMG. This stuff. My gravity steeper is squeaky clean, was going to replace it as well. THIS STUFF WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. Lol, now, like a madwoman, I am cleaning ALL THE TEAWARES. Haha, unfortunately, I am going through my packet pretty quickly. But you can guarantee I will be reorder this. In a very large quantity. Thank you a million million times Garret for this as my sample!!

Nicole

Doh. I totally forgot about wanting to try this with my last order. There’s always the next! :)

Kittenna

NEED. My older Timolinos are pretty black inside.

MissLena

This stuff is the best. I might even order a pound with my next order lol. It is just that good!! @ Nicole, hopefully you remember it, or get a sample of it :)

@ Kittenna – It is like a super cleaner for timolinos! I can never reach the bottom to clean mine ever, but with this no scrubbing, no angry baking soda mess, I even bought those test tube-like scrubbers and it also failed but I should have just bought this lol. It works wonders!

Garret

YAHOOOOOOOO!!!!! This review has us grinning from ear to ear here in the tea shop! Clean tea gear is the best!

MissLena

Happy it made you smile :) thank you for such an amazing product!!

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Thank you Boychik for sending me some of this wonderful sheng. I must admit I have a difficult time rating these, since I’m not a connoisseur I don’t know exactly what I am looking for. ;)

I did some short steeps this morning in my yixing teapot. For a sheng of this age it doesn’t contain a whole lot of bitterness, but has a lot of pleasant flavors that I associate with a good sheng. It is woodsy, with a bit of smoke and some lemony citrus flavor. I also get a nice, nutty flavor from this and the tea is very aromatic, filling up my kitchen with a pleasing aroma. It does seem somewhat astringent, although not overwhelmingly so. Sometimes shengs are a little rough on my stomach which is why I don’t drink them more often, I think.

This is one reason why I favor shus ever so slightly, they make such a nice after dinner drink although it seems like I am more or less alone in that opinion. If I had some more aged shengs I might feel differently, of course…

This seems to have a good qi and is enlivening… tempted to get some =)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML
Tealizzy

I agree that shu is nice later in the day. Sheng will keep me up all night!!

TeaBrat

yes! me too. I have a hard time knowing when to drink sheng since it isn’t a “morning” type of tea for me either. Seems best in the late morning/early afternoon…

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85

This is one of those deep, dark puerhs. It definitely has a little chocolatey-ness going on. Reminds me of some deep, dark pine wood forest. It went for a long time in my little gaiwan. It is smooth, delicious, and a little mysterious. The first steeps were pretty strong, which was exactly what I was looking for, but I think you could make them a little less intense by using a larger brewing vessel. These tuochas are, as the description implies, on the larger size so keep that in mind when you are brewing them. The first five or so steeps resulted in an almost espresso like drink, which lifted my fog this morning admirably.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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These were in the mini tuocha variety pack, I think. They are definitely larger than the other minis. I enjoyed a nice session with one and I think I can say it is the oldest puerh I’ve had now, as Mandala’s page says they are from 2004!

These are yummy!! So smooth, and absolutely no fermentation funk. There’s a little cocoa and a little wood. Nothing really stands out, but I think that makes it a nice starter puerh or an everyday drinking puerh. Really nice! I might have to pick some more of these up as the variety pack only had two!

MissLena

What paper are these in? I’m trying to figure out which kinds are which in the variety pack lol most of mine are fairly close in size, I am thinking this one has white paper with red and is a bit bigger?

Tealizzy

Yes, mine are a little bigger, wrapped in white paper with red writing.

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I got these in the mini tuocha variety pack, and was only going to review them on the pack’s page, but I think I can confidently identify this one, so I’m putting the review here too.

So, I thought it would be fun to try the little pink tuochas in this package. Based on the paper wrapping, they should be Mandala’s 2012 Lang Cang rice scented ripe mini tuos. I steeped it up and yes, they have to be rice scented, because I got this very strong rice scent wafting from the liquid. It smells amazing, kinda like sweet rice that is a bit burnt. The flavor in the early steeps came on too strong for me and I got this sickly sweet rice flavor, with some floral notes. I looked it up and I guess it’s scented with an herb that smells like rice….interesting. After a few steeps, I started to like it more as the rice flavor melded better with the puerh. It even started to taste caramel-like. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but I’m glad to have tried it. Now I know!

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I was really looking forward to having some shu tonight and thought it would be fun to try the little pink tuochas in this package. Based on the paper wrapping, they should be Mandala’s 2012 Lang Cang rice scented ripe mini tuos. I steeped it up and yes, they have to be rice scented, because I got this very strong rice scent wafting from the liquid. It smells amazing, kinda like sweet rice that is a bit burnt. The flavor in the early steeps came on too strong for me and I got this sickly sweet rice flavor, with some floral notes. I looked it up and I guess it’s scented with an herb that smells like rice….interesting. After a few steeps, I started to like it more as the rice flavor melded better with the puerh. It even started to taste caramel-like. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but I’m glad to have tried it. Now I know!

Cheri

I’m looking forward to playing with these. I love the convenience, and when the mini tuochas are actually good it’s such a huge bonus!

Tealizzy

Totally! I found the rice scented ones were smelling up the package though, so I double-bagged them…just FYI. Looking forward to your reviews!

Cheri

I should pull those out then. Thanks for the warning!

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had this mini tuo couple days ago.
Such a cutie. And delicious too. i think i liked it more than loose form.
Gongfu 100ml glass pot, 212F
2 rinses/5/5/10/10/10/15/15/20sec
its pretty resilient. Color is beautiful. taste sweet and rich, and creamy.
i have to pick more of them.
Thank you Garret for the sample, i enjoyed it a lot, as usual;)

http://instagram.com/p/vEIadkhwsl/

http://instagram.com/p/vEJCJphwtp/

http://instagram.com/p/vENxLlhwlv/

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
caile

Very nice!

awilsondc

I liked the loose better myself, but this is such a young tea. It will be interesting to see how it does with a few years on it.

Cheri

I had this in the mini form first, and I really enjoyed it. I also bought myself a full size cake.

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First cup was much lighter in color than the second; maybe because the leaf rested in between.
Tastes smooth, sweet and like slightly leathery/earthy caramel, with aroma to match. There is a very gentle tart-like juiciness that lingers after drinking. Mellow and lovely.

Will save the leaves to steep again later.
I say this every time, but think this is my favorite ripe mandala pu’er sample so far – so gentle. :)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
boychik

i had mini tuo couple days ago. So good. nice leaves, not chopped. i liked it even more than loose Temple Stairs

caile

They look so cute too. :)
How many grams are those?

caile

Ah, just saw your review! Same amount

boychik

5g. i just reviewed with pics;)

caile

Thank you!
By the way, do you ever use your goldfish gaiwan for puerh? I wanted to ask you if it is 150 ml to the top of the rim where the strainer holes are or to the very top.

caile

Oh wait, I just looked at it again on ebay and the description below the top picture says 130 mls. :)

mrmopar

I think allowing the leaf to re-hydrate helps in the brew.

caile

mrmopar, I was thinking that since this is loose already it wouldn’t make much difference. It did a bit though, so you are right that the leaves must have plumped up after sitting. I noticed more in the color than taste but that is likely because I am not so familiar with the tastes yet. :)

mrmopar

yeah I try to let any puerh sit for 20 mins or so ater the wash. I think it brings a bit more to the table, er I mean cup in the end. Glad you liked this one! You are now on a journey..

caile

Thanks! ;)

mrmopar

No need to thank me I learned this one from a friend a while back. Always happy to share.

boychik

@calie, it is 130cc but I measure out 100. I love this gaiwan. So sturdy. If I ever find it in 100cc wouldn’t think even a sec. I like to use it when I’m sampling. My Yixing is still young and stealing flavors. So porcelain is pretty neutral . If I’m just drinking not sampling I use Yixing . I do see the difference.

caile

Thank you, boychik. I am thinking of getting that one – it looks nice and is a good size for me I think. I just realized that my favorite cup holds just over 4 ounces which is about the same size.. all along I thought it was holding 8 ounces lol

boychik

caile, all I can say is I constantly using this gaiwan . It has good feeling when you hold it. There are others w/diff designs on ebay or Aliexpress. Try to get the same shape. Some if them have different sides where you grip it and not very comfortable and leaves get stuck inside. I got it fr rebeccali . Good seller.

caile

Sounds good! This will be the one I’ll get. :)

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67

This is a pretty mellow and easy-to-drink Puer. It’s really quite calming in that way.

The first tastes I got from the sip were of leather, earth, and dried fig. The wet leaves also smell of dried fig. The infusion color is a deep, dark brown as with most ripe Puer. There really isn’t much change from one infusion to the next, but it does seem to become even more mellow and with a bit of a dull sweetness to it. It’s a pretty agreeable Puer, despite not being a very complex-tasting one.

This puer may be a bit too much of a smooth-talker, giving me a bit of a cloying feeling. I think I need a little more to ponder on in my shu puer, a little more substance.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Leather

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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